October is here, which signifies the end of the regular season. Like most teams who did not earn a bid to the postseason, it is time to start to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the team and prepare for the following season. The San Diego Padres, who finished 74-88, were among those disappointed teams.
General manager A.J. Preller will now re-evaluate the team. He started the off-season by firing interim manager Pat Murphy, who finished with a 42-54 record since taking over for Bud Black.
What will the Padres do next? They tried the conservative route, which did not work, and they took the aggressive route, which was no more successful. What options are left?
Before we get into that, lets break down the team that underachieved this season.
During the off-season Preller went out and signed starting pitcher James Shields in hopes that he would be able to add to an already strong pitching rotation. But since then, Shields has not played to level the Friars have expected, which may be one of the reasons the team faltered.
In 2014, the Friars ranked fourth in starting pitching and were regarded as one of the best pitching teams in MLB.
They boasted a 3.27 ERA, while giving up just 523 runs (4th least in MLB) and 117 home runs (4th least in MLB).
Now, after giving some background information, let’s take a look at 2015.
In 2015, the Friars saw a huge drop in all statistical categories from 2014.
ERA: 4.09 (20th in MLB)
731 runs given up (9th most in MLB)
171 home runs (14th most in MLB)
The only statistical category that the Padres excelled in this year was their strike outs every nine innings ratio, which went up from 8.03 in 2014 to 8.70 in 2015. This is a good sign but it doesn’t really matter if they allow runs.
It is clear based on this empirical data that something needs to change. The biggest thing the Padres lack is a true number one pitcher. They have solid two and three starters but the lack of true number one will hinder the team.
With big name additions like Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Derek Norris, Wil Myers, and others, the offense played quite a bit better than they did in 2014, but it wasn’t enough to offset the weakness of the starting pitching staff.
In 2014, the Padres offense ranked just about dead last all major categories. They were only able to muster up 1199 hits (30th in MLB), 109 home runs (28th in MLB) and 500 RBIs (30th in MLB).
Compare that to 2015, when the offense was ranked 23rd overall and seemed to have more pop. Despite being ranked last in hits with 1324, that is a considerable increase from the previous season. Moving on, the Friars were able to muster up 148 home runs which was good for 19th in MLB, and 623 RBIs, which ranks 22nd in the league.
This season was a good sign for the offense, but more needs to happen if the team wants to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Fransisco Giants.
Preller and the Padres organization will first and foremost need to find a new manager for the following season. Furthermore, they will need to consider adding a true number one starting pitcher and find a viable replacement for impending free-agent Justin Upton. They will need to focus on rebuilding the farm system that is thoroughly depleted after all the trades and acquisitions occurring during the 2015 season.
All in all, the team did not meet expectations, but finds itself with a lot of young talent, leaving them well positioned to build off of their strengths.
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