2011 San Diego Padres Predictions and MLB Futures Odds
by Darin Zank - 3/2/2011
The San Diego Padres were widely expected to finish in last place in the NL West last year. Instead they nearly pulled off one of the bigger payouts by a longshot in recent baseball years.
Most sportsbooks were offering San Diego at right around 20/1 to win the division last year, with an MLB season wins total of 71. But thanks to what evolved into one the best pitching staffs in baseball along with one of the best defenses and a little timely hitting the Padres led the division almost all season.
Unfortunately for them and their financial backers the Pads sputtered late, closed 14-23 and lost on the last day of the season at eventual World Series champion San Francisco in an effort to force a playoff. In going 90-72 the Padres were the best team in baseball to bet on, topping the MLB money chart at +$1,900. And they went over their wins total in mid-August.
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San Diego pitching ranked second in the majors in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts, and the offense ranked 22nd in scoring and 27th in OPS, the Pads went 70-82 on the totals. However, games played at Petco Park averaged 7.2 runs per game, second-fewest in the bigs and the totals played pretty close to even there at 36-39.
The Padres, though, suffer from small-market-itis, and were forced to do a terrible thing over the winter; they traded the heart of their lineup, Adrian Gonzalez, to Boston for prospects. Realistically, they had little choice. Unfortunately, it hurts tremendously.
San Diego scored 665 runs last year; Gonzalez accounted for about a quarter of them. The Padres task now is to try and build on last season. But without AG it will be tough.
Here is Doc’s Sports 2011 San Diego Padres predictions and MLB futures odds
2010 Record: 90-72
2011 Wins Over/Under: 76 at Bookmaker
Odds To Win 2011 NL West: +1,200 at Sportsbook.com
Odds To Win 2011 NL Pennant: +5,000 at Sportsbook.com
2011 Padres Odds to Win the World Series: +10,000 at Sportsbook.com
Pitching: This unit was mainly responsible for the Pads getting as far as they got last year. Mat Latos, who had a 15-start streak last year of allowing two runs or less, along with Clayton Richard blossomed into a formidable 1-2 top of the rotation. But this year, after those two, things are ‘iffy’.
Jon Garland left for LA this winter, so San Diego brought in former NL strikeout king and San Diego native Aaron Harang. But Harang has been ha-rung the last few seasons, to the tune of a cumulative 4.72 ERA. Maybe a homecoming will help.
The last two rotation spots are likely a fight between lefty Wade LeBlanc (4.25 ERA in 25 starts last year), former Yankee Dustin Moseley and Cory Luebke (10-1 in the minors last year). The bullpen, the best in the business last year, remains in good hands, with Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams setting the table for closer Heath Bell. This unit is a bit thinner, though, and overwork looms as a potential problem.
Hitting: Few teams were more reliant on one guy to produce runs last year than the Padres were with Gonzalez, and now he's gone. This will be a problem.
In an effort to replace some of that lost production San Diego added Brad Hawpe, but he was limited to nine HRs in 300 AB last year. The Pads think they've upgraded up the middle with 2B Orlando Hudson, SS Jason Bartlett and OF Cameron Maybin, but overall this year's lineup isn't going to scare anybody. San Diego might actually score fewer runs this year than last year.
Key Stat: San Diego went 45-36 on the road last year. Expect something near the opposite of that this season.
2011 San Diego Padres Predictions: This team has gone through a large turnover, many familiar faces are gone, and it's difficult to say they're better for it. The rotation might be sufficient, but Latos tired a bit late last year, so it's hoped that doesn't carry over, and Richard needs to cut down on his walks.
They've still got one of the best bullpens, but how many leads will they get to protect? And with a largely punchless offensive attack, San Diego is likely to play a lot of low-scoring games again this season. And if they come out on the short end of too many games too soon, the Pads might be forced to again look toward the future, and start trading some people, including Bell.
2011 San Diego Padres MLB Season Win Totals Predictions: A repeat of last season is way too much to ask from this outfit, and a serious regression is entirely possible. We're thinking the first three-quarters of last season was a bit of a fluke, so we'll play the UNDER on 76 wins on the Pads this season.
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