Publish date:

San Diego Padres 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

San Diego Padres 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

San Diego Padres 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Baseball is fun again in "Slam Diego," thanks to Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Jake Cronenworth. And that was before the addition of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Korean slugger Ha-seong Kim in a stunning late-December spree by general manager A.J. Preller. The Padres will be aiming to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2006. Last season, in ending a 13-year playoff drought, the Padres played with a swagger, set records, and brought a badly needed sense of joy to a city that has had its sports psyche beaten down for years.

The excitement starts with the 22-year-old Tatis, who has established himself as a superstar after just two seasons. The son of a former major league infielder, Tatis was named All-MLB First Team shortstop and finished fourth in the NL MVP voting after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Although they were swept in the NL Division Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres believe they're built to take on their rivals and reach the World Series. The shock of losing ace Mike Clevinger to Tommy John surgery in mid-November was eased when Preller doubled down and traded for Snell and Darvish — as well as signing Kim from Korea — in the span of 24 hours to make the Padres one of the best teams in the majors.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Padres

"They're a fun team — lots of high-ceiling, high-energy guys. Fernando Tatis Jr. might be the most exciting player in baseball, and Manny Machado looks so comfortable there now. Eric Hosmer put more balls in the air last year, and it really paid off for him, and you know Tommy Pham will hit when he's healthy. Wil Myers has tons of talent, but when he's not hitting, his body language is hard to take. Trent Grishman is too streaky for me, but he made himself into a Gold Glove center fielder, and he has decent power. The elbow injury to Dinelson Lamet was a crusher late last year, but if he's right, he's got a breaking ball so good that nobody can hit it, and a lively, hard fastball. Chris Paddack has gotten too predictable; he needs to develop that fringy curveball. Drew Pomeranz has that unhittable curveball, and he's been locked in from the moment he got to Milwaukee in '19. Keep an eye on MacKenzie Gore. We haven't seen him yet, but he could be better than all of them."

San Diego Padres logo

Beyond the Box Score

Slam Diego The Padres grabbed the attention of the baseball world when they set MLB records by hitting a grand slam in four straight games and five slams in six games in mid-August. The streak started with Fernando Tatis Jr.'s controversial slam at Texas on Aug. 17, followed by Wil Myers, Manny Machado (walk-off), and Eric Hosmer the next three games. After going one game without a slam, Jake Cronenworth connected to make it five in six games.

Want more? Our new baseball magazine delivers full MLB team previews, fantasy insight, schedules, and predictions. Click to order your copy today or visit your local newsstand!

2021 Athlon Sports Baseball Preview

Pitchman

Tatis is picking up a nice stable of endorsements. He signed a multiyear deal with Gatorade as a pitchman for its Bolt24 products. He also has deals with BMW and adidas. "I think he's going to be as well-equipped as anyone in their low 20s can be," manager Jayce Tingler says. "He was raised in this game. I think his parents, and certainly this organization as well, have done a good job of bringing him up with us. I think he's earned those things. I think more and more of those type of deals will be out in front of him."

Playoff oddity The Padres finally recorded their first home playoff wins after 17 seasons in Petco Park when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the final two games of the three-game wild-card series. But they're not the winningest team in postseason play in the downtown ballpark. Thanks to the oddity of 2020 and the pandemic-induced AL bubble at Petco Park, that honor goes to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays advanced to the World Series after beating the New Yankees in the AL Division Series and then dispatching the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Both series went the distance, so the Rays have seven postseason victories at Petco Park. The Cardinals and Astros have three and the Yankees two. The Padres lost their only home postseason game in 2005 and both of their home games in 2006.

Wheeling and dealing In the 48 hours before the trade deadline, A.J. Preller made six deals involving 27 players. The Padres acquired 10 players, including one to be named later, and traded away 14, including two PTBNL.

Happy trails Glenn Hoffman, the older brother of Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, retired after 15 seasons as third base coach and will move into a new position with the organization. Hoffman played nine seasons in the majors for the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Angels. He was the Dodgers' interim manager for the final 88 games of the 1998 season and was their third base coach for the next seven seasons.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

CF     Trent Grisham (L)

SS     Fernando Tatis Jr. (R)

3B     Manny Machado (R)

1B     Eric Hosmer (L)

LF     Tommy Pham (R)

RF     Wil Myers (R)

2B     Jake Cronenworth (L)

C       Austin Nola (R)

Recommended Articles

BENCH

INF   Ha-seong Kim (R)

INF   Jurickson Profar (S)

C      Victor Caratini (S)

UT    Jorge Mateo (R)

UT    Brian O'Grady (L)

ROTATION

RHP     Yu Darvish

LHP     Blake Snell

RHP     Dinelson Lamet

RHP     Chris Paddack

RHP     Joe Musgrove

BULLPEN

LHP     Drew Pomeranz (C)

RHP     Emilio Pagan

RHP     Keone Kela

RHP     Mark Melancon

RHP     Craig Stammen

LHP     Matt Strahm

RHP     Pierce Johnson

LHP     Adrian Morejon

2021 Prediction: 2nd in NL West

(Fernando Tatis Jr. photo courtesy of @Padres)