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San Diego Padres 2022: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres

Padres look to put last season's collapse behind them under new manager Bob Melvin while also weathering the opening months without star Fernando Tatis Jr.

Change is inevitable when expectations are unmet, and it's probably not a stretch to say that the Padres are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in baseball history. Billed as a twin titan to rival the Dodgers in the NL West, they held first place as late as May 30 and appeared to have at least a wild card spot locked up in mid-August when they were a comfortable 18 games over .500. But injuries and instability undid hopes to keep pace with the Dodgers and upstart Giants, and the Padres spiraled all the way to a 12–34 record to end the season. They should return at full strength; their roster, led by Fernando Tatís Jr., remains brimming with young talent, and expectations will be high again.

As for the change? Manager Jayce Tingler is out, and veteran manager Bob Melvin was brought in to steer the ship. The first few months will be key for Melvin and his team, as the Padres will be without Tatis, who broke his wrist in the offseason and underwent surgery shortly after the lockout ended.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Padres

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"They made a home-run hire in Bob Melvin as manager. He's got the stature and gravitas to not be seen as A.J. Preller's puppet and the baseball experience to push back on the front office. He'll also need to bring that clubhouse together because it seemed like their downfall last year was somewhat of a cultural issue. The stars are obvious, like Fernando Tatís Jr., who does something memorable every day. He regressed in the field, but he's made it clear he believes in himself as a shortstop, and now he has to prove it. The possibility of shoulder surgery hangs over him and the team, too, because if he needs it in-season, it would really mess things up. Trent Grisham is a strong defender with patience at the plate. They need to get more help for Joe Musgrove in the rotation. Yu Darvish fell apart over the last three months — his hip was really bothering him — but if he and Blake Snell are right, and they get Mike Clevinger back, that's four power arms in the rotation. Can they all be at their best together, though? I'm very skeptical."

Beyond the Box Score

Long time coming It took more than five decades, but when the Padres finally posted the first no-hitter in franchise history, it was fitting that a local boy made good. In just his second start after the Padres acquired him from the Pirates, Joe Musgrove, a native of nearby El Cajon and a Grossmont High graduate, was nearly perfect in an April 9 start against the Rangers at Globe Life Field. He hit Joey Gallo with a pitch with two outs in the fourth inning and otherwise allowed no baserunners.

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Almost perfect Musgrove became just the fifth pitcher in major league history to miss out on a perfect game because of one hit batsman, but the Padres weren't picky. They were the only major league team that didn't have a no-hitter in their annals. Over the years, they had 30 one-hitters, and their longest no-hit bid had been 8.2 innings from Steve Arlin on July 18, 1972.

Walking wounded Injuries are usually the main reason that a team fails to meet expectations, and that's how it went for the Padres last season. They had more cumulative days on the injured list than any team in baseball (2,558) and the sixth-most IL placements (49). Pitchers had the toughest time staying healthy, accumulating 2,178 days on the IL.

Slamming start Reliever Daniel Camarena made history on July 8 vs. the Washington Nationals. He took his second career at-bat and collected his first hit — a grand slam off Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Camarena became the second pitcher in major league history to collect a grand slam on his first hit, joining "Frosty Bill" Duggleby in 1898. He also became the first Padres player to hit a grand slam for his first career hit and the first major leaguer to do so since the Giants' Brandon Crawford in 2011.

Having words The Padres won just two of their last 15 games, and the frustration spilled out in a Sept. 18 game against the Cardinals when Fernando Tatís Jr. and Manny Machado had a verbal confrontation in the dugout. The disagreement began when Machado chided Tatís for lingering too long in the batter's box following a called third strike. Machado yelled, "It's not about you," as the argument nearly became physical. Three days later, Machado and Tatís stood side by side in front of reporters and said the incident was behind them. "This is my little brother," Machado said. "We're here to always be together, and we're going to always be together, no matter what. We've got a lot of years here moving forward. That's done."

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

CF    Trent Grisham (L)
SS    Fernando Tatís Jr. (R)
3B    Manny Machado (R)
2B    Jake Cronenworth (L)
DH   Luke Voit (R)
1B    Eric Hosmer (L)
RF    Wil Myers (R)
LF    Jurickson Profar (S)
C     Austin Nola (R)

BENCH

C     Jorge Alfaro (R)
INF  Ha-Seong Kim (R)
UT   CJ Abrams (L)
OF   Matt Beaty (L)

ROTATION

RHP    Yu Darvish
LHP    Blake Snell
RHP    Joe Musgrove
RHP    Mike Clevinger
LHP    Sean Manaea

BULLPEN

LHP    Taylor Rogers (C)
RHP    Robert Suárez
RHP    Dinelson Lamet
RHP    Pierce Johnson
LHP    Tim Hill
RHP    Craig Stammen
RHP    Luis García
RHP    Nick Martinez

2022 Prediction: 2nd in NL West