Drafting hitters who play their home games at PETCO Park is not an exciting prospect for fantasy owners. However, there are a couple of Padres players I wouldn't mind having on my fantasy teams. Let's go over the position players.
2014 San Diego Padres: Position Player Preview
Grandal 2013 Stats: .216, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R, 0 SB
Hundley 2013 Stats: .233, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 35 R, 1 SB
Grandal is expected to open the season on the disabled list after undergoing ACL surgery in August, leaving Nick Hundley as the starting catcher for at least a couple of weeks. There is no position battle here as Hundley will quickly cede the starting job to the 25- year-old Grandal once he’s healthy. A highly-regarded prospect who hit .310 over four seasons in the minors, Grandal hit to the tune of a .297 batting average in 2012 with 8 home runs in only 192 at bats. In 2013, he was suspended for 50 games for PED use and only managed to hit .216 over 88 at bats the rest of the way. Grandal has shown decent, and improving, plate discipline in his limited time with the Padres, walking 49 times with 57 strikeouts, and he has an OPS of .809 in the majors. Grandal is not someone I want to draft as my number-one catcher, but he does have some upside and I would gladly take him at the back-end of my drafts as a second catcher.
Grandal 2014 Projection: .281, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 56 R, 1 SB
Hundley 2014 Projection: .235, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 29 R, 1 SB
First Base - Yonder Alonso / Seth Smith
Smith 2013 Stats: .253, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 49 R, 0 SB
Alonso 2013 Stats: .281, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 34 R, 6 SB
Alonso will most likely lose some at bats at first base to Seth Smith. Smith was acquired in the trade that sent Luke Gregerson to Oakland, and while I don’t understand that trade from the perspective of the Padres, they do have incentive to let him play (in right field and/or at first base) – otherwise why trade your stud setup man. Alonso only played in 97 games in 2013 due to time spent on the DL, and when healthy, he provides a disappointing lack of power for a first baseman. Smith provides a little more pop, but cannot hit lefties and is a career .250 hitter outside of Coors Field. Smith will get most of his at bats in the outfield, but regardless, I wouldn’t bother drafting either of them.
Smith 2014 Projection: .256, 14 HR, 67 RBI, 64 R, 0 SB
Alonso 2014 Projection: .280, 11 HR, 62 RBI, 60 R, 6 SB
Second Base - Jedd Gyorko
2013 Stats: .249, 23 HR, 63 RBI, 62 R, 1 SB
Gyorko is going to break out in 2014 and he will finish in the top 3 in home runs among second basemen. I doubt he’ll hit for an average above .260 in his second year, but at only age 25 he has an extremely high ceiling. After hitting 23 home runs in 525 at bats in 2013, he will flirt with the 30 home run mark. Gyorko will probably go around the 17th round and he is going to perform much better than that spot indicates.
2014 Projection: .257, 29 HR, 88 RBI, 86 R, 6 SB
Shortstop - Everth Cabrera
2013 Stats: .283, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 54 R, 37 SB
In 2013, Everth Cabrera was a fantasy stud. Before he was suspended for 50 games in connection with the Biogenesis investigation, Cabrera was ranked among the best fantasy players in the game. He had 34 steals before the All-Star break and was well on his way to leading the National League in that category for the second year in a row. That’s the good. The bad is that he’s a .252 career hitter, and while he hit .291 in the first half of 2013, he regressed back to a .250 batting average in the 16 games he played after the All-Star break. Don’t count on Cabrera hitting .290 in 2014. I will be pleasantly surprised if he hits above .260 over the course of the full season. His stolen base numbers alone make him extremely valuable in fantasy circles, however. Cabrera should go late in 6th round or early 7th round. If he falls any further, he is a steal (pun intended) as he’ll single-handedly have your team among the stolen base leaders for most of the season.
2014 Projection: .262, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 71 R, 55 SB
Third Base - Chase Headley
2013 Stats: .250, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 59 R, 8 SB
I do not like Headley as a fantasy player. I have successfully avoided him the past 6 years in my fantasy drafts. In my 12-team mixed league in 2013, he was drafted at number 55 overall in the 5th round and was the 8th third baseman selected (we have to fill a CI spot). As I expected, he did not repeat his 2012 season where he hit 31 home runs and drove in 115. That season was an anomaly when compared to the 49 home runs he has hit in his other 2403 major league at bats. I do not expect his power to rebound in 2014 – as we know he plays his home games at PETCO Park. If I end up with Chase Headley on my team, it is because I made a mistake and he was the last best option available. I expect him to go somewhere around the 13th round in standard 5x5 leagues. Even if he falls further than that, I really can’t see myself drafting him.
2014 Projection: .263, 16 HR, 74 RBI, 72 R, 9 SB
Outfield - Cameron Maybin
2013 Stats: .157, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 4 SB
Maybin, the perennial sleeper pick, will turn 27 in April, which as far as I'm concerned means this is a make or break year for him in fantasy. In 2011, he put up good fantasy numbers with a .264 batting average, nine home runs and 40 steals, but he fell well short of that in 2012 with his steals total dropping to 26 and his batting average tumbling down to .243. His power hasn’t developed as hoped, as he hasn’t broken past single digits in home runs in a season yet. If he doesn’t do it this year, I’ll have to see it to believe it. If he can hit above .260 with 30 to 35 steals, he will be quite a useful pick in the last couple of rounds at the very back-end of the draft, but I simply don’t believe he will do it. He has a career .681 OPS, and since 2011 that number has been trending in the wrong direction. Add to all of this, Maybin had injury after injury in 2013 and I consider his ability to stay healthy in 2014 questionable. With the trade bringing Seth Smith in, it is not entirely clear how much Maybin will play. The Padres may slide Will Venable to center and let Maybin ride the bench often. I am done with Maybin.
2014 Projection: .251, 5 HR, 41 RBI, 44 R, 22 SB
Outfield - Will Venable
2013 Stats: .268, 22 HR, 53 RBI, 64 R, 24 SB
Coming off a career year in which he had 22 home runs and 22 steals, Will Venable should be in line for at least 500 at bats for just the second time in his career. A career .216 hitter versus lefties going into 2013, he was forced into full-time action with all of the injuries to his teammates. It was the first time Venable has tallied more than 100 at-bats in a season versus southpaws and he was able to hit .276 against them (which was actually better than his .266 batting average against right-handed pitching in 2013). He has also quietly stolen 20 or more bases four years in a row. It’s difficult to say if Venable can repeat his .268 batting average from 2013, but he has now hit over .260 two years in a row. A 25/30 season is very likely. I will be looking for Venable between rounds 14 and 15. I still have a bit of hesitation with him, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
2014 Projection: .261, 26 HR, 64 RBI, 68 R, 31 SB
Outfield - Carlos Quentin
2013 Stats: .275, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 42 R, 0 SB
Carlos Quentin has always had tremendous pop. If you project his average home run total over 162 games for his 8 year career, 31 home runs is the number you come up with. The problem is you have to rely on projections because he can’t avoid the disabled list. On the plus side, Quentin’s batting average over the past 5 seasons -- .236, .243, .254,. 261, .275. Combine that with his power potential, he makes for a nice 5th outfielder that you can plug in when your regulars have days off or if you have someone on the disabled list. He’ll still be on the board in the last few rounds of your draft so he may be worth a pick there. If he can stay healthy, he’ll provide much more value than his draft position – though that's a huge if.
2014 Projection: .261, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 45 R, 1 SB
Kyle Blanks will continue to intrigue, mostly from the bench. I would like to see what Blanks can do over a full season, but it doesn’t appear it will happen this year unless he is dealt. However, Chris Denorfia appears to be the most likely to be traded out of town, and he's a fourth outfielder on most teams. Xavier Nady was signed to a minor league contract this month but doesn’t factor into fantasy plans.