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Classy Once Again? San Diego Padres Roster Outlook


The biggest move of the offseason (so far) came earlier this week when the Padres signed Manny Machado to a $300-million-dollar mega-deal. Yes, it was predictable, and yes, we’re all sick of the big market San Diego Padres flashing their money around while the poor Cubs scrounge for change between the couch cushions, but I digress towards fantasy baseball.

The impact of a signing this large affects the entire team, and every fantasy-relevant position player will be affected either directly or indirectly by this move. In this article, I will look at how San Diego’s infielders and outfielders will be impacted by Manny Machado’s arrival.

ADP data is taken from NFBC and is current as of 2/21/19.

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First Base

This one’s rather simple, as the position belongs solely to Eric Hosmer. Hosmer signed an eight-year, $144-million-dollar deal in 2018, and while that contract seems like small potatoes compared to Machado’s deal, Hosmer’s salary guarantees him playing time.

Hosmer had an atrocious year in 2018, posting a .720 OPS and .145 ISO in 677 PA during his first season in San Diego. Apparently, no one told Hosmer about the whole flyball revolution thing, because he had a -1.2 average launch angle last season, the lowest among qualified hitters. Hosmer doesn’t need to reach Joey Gallo extremes with flyballs, but the last thing anyone wants from a 200-lb first baseman is a ground-ball rate above 60% (you hear that, Ian Desmond?).

While most of us have written off Hosmer as nothing more than a low-end corner infielder, his poor performance could affect Machado. Rosterresource.com currently has Machado hitting second and Hosmer hitting third. That isn’t definitive by any means, but it could be bad for Manny Machado's run-scoring output. Pitchers don’t fear leadership or clubhouse intangibles like they fear productive hitters, so if Eric Hosmer doesn’t pick it up then Machado may not get anything to hit either. This isn’t a big concern, but it’s the biggest with Machado coming to San Diego.

 

Second Base

Earlier this offseason the Padres signed veteran Ian Kinsler to a two-year, eight-million-dollar deal, and the position is presumably his to lose. It sounds like Manny Machado will play third base for the Padres, which is a good thing for both Kinsler and top prospect Luis Urias. The two would have fought with each other for playing time at second, but it looks like Urias will play shortstop.

Kinsler is 36 and struggled with injuries last season, while Urias is 21 with just 53 PAs under his belt, meaning neither is a safe bet to stay on the field and be productive all season. Ian Kinsler is projected to bat leadoff for the Padres, which could be great for him batting directly in front of Manny Machado. Kinsler gets a slight bump in value, though he’s just a low-end middle infield option in mixed leagues regardless.

 

Third Base

As of now, we’re assuming Machado is back to playing third base. The Padres sold third baseman Christian Villanueva to the Yomiuri Giants last November, and it sounds like Wil Myers won’t be playing third this season, leaving no other viable options on the 40-man roster.

Realistically, the Padres can’t use Manny Machado at shortstop and Wil Myers at third; that would be unfair to their pitching staff. This position should belong to Machado alone and he is still a top-20 player.

 

Shortstop

As previously stated, Machado will play third base, which means top prospect Luis Urias will play short. Urias will have eligibility at short and second base within a few weeks of the season. The 21-year-old is considered an elite prospect undoubtedly, but he might not be ready for immediate fantasy impact. He has shown good plate discipline and a solid hit tool in the minors, but Urias likely won’t contribute enough power or speed to provide mixed league value. He’ll also hit seventh or eighth for the Padres to start the season.

The other big question at this position concerns another top prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr, who is expected to reach the majors at some point in 2019. Tatis Jr. is currently a shortstop, but some scouts project him as a third baseman long term thanks to his 6’3” frame. When Tatis Jr. comes is dependent on multiple factors, including the Super 2 deadline, the performance of Luis Urias/Ian Kinsler, the health of Luis Urias/Ian Kinsler, and the Padres’ position in the standings. Tatis Jr. will come up to play, meaning Urias or Kinsler would be squeezed out. Machado and Hosmer are set in stone at the corners, so the Machado signing makes the middle infield more fluid here, as there are two spots for three capable players.

 

Outfield

The outfield is where things get tricky, because Wil Myers is moving back to a corner spot, causing San Diego’s abundance of interesting young fringe guys to be shuffled around. Roster Resource projects Myers in left, Hunter Renfroe in right, and a platoon between Franchy Cordero and Manuel Margot in center. Hopefully, a full-time position in left field will help Myers stay healthy and perform consistently.

Myers has dealt with a plethora of injuries throughout his career, and the only time he stayed healthy was between 2016-17 when he played mostly first base. Unfortunately, first base is permanently blocked, but perhaps if the Padres stop shuffling him around he can stay healthy. Myers is currently going at pick 113, and while the Machado signing raises his value slightly since Myers will be in one position and hit cleanup, it’s hard to value him much higher than pick 100 because of his injury history. Myers is a high-risk, high-reward pick. He has top-50 potential thanks to a 30-30 ceiling, but Myers could also spend half the season on your injured list again.

The player that seems to have been pushed out by the Machado signing is Franmil Reyes. Reyes has displayed impressive power in the minors and flashed those skills with the big club last season, but Hunter Renfroe makes Reyes’s skillset redundant. Renfroe is a few years older and has more Major League experience, so he’ll likely get the first crack at the starting job. If Renfroe falters, or Reyes impresses in spring training, then things could change, but for now, Reyes takes a big hit in value.

The only other outfielder of note is speedster Travis Jankowski, who will likely be utilized as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Jankowski’s speed and solid defensive abilities make him great bench player to have on the team, meaning there might not be room for Franmil Reyes on the big league roster at all.

The bench positions are likely contingent on spring training performance and desired roster construction. They have plenty of good young outfielders, and they certainly don’t need Jankowski, Manuel Margot, and Franchy Cordero on the major league roster, but holding onto three centerfielders might be beneficial for their goals. Personally, this writer believes in Franmil Reyes’s power, but he might not have value this season and is merely a deep dynasty stash.

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