A few seasons ago, the Padres were at the bottom end of the MLB and not relevant. Fast forward to 2021; the Padres are a serious contender to compete for a World Series.
San Diego was one of the most exciting teams of the shortened 2020 season and seems to have added to an already powerful roster. It should be interesting as there is a high chance we will see fans enter stadiums, and Padres fans will surely be excited to experience their team at Petco Park.
Regardless of all the hype, the San Diego Padres still have to prove themselves. They are under a lot of pressure.
In 2019, the Padres finished in last place in the NL West with a record of 70-92 and missed the playoffs for the 13th season in a row.
This was a highly disappointing season after making several offseason additions. They were 36 games behind the NL West leader and rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Prior to the end of the season, the Padres fired their then manager, Andy Green.
They were terrible at home, going 36-45, and were also bad away, going 34-47. No doubt this was a season to put behind them.
Jayce Tingler then became the manager of the Padres, and Petco Park saw plenty of better baseball in 2020. The Padres finished second, winning 37 out of 60 games. San Diego made the postseason, and took down St. Louis in the opening round. After that though, the Dodgers eliminated them in the National League Divisional Series.
During the season, the Padres became the first team in Major League Baseball history to hit a grand slam in four straight games. Following the series, Fernando Tatis Jr signed an extension with the team for 14 years and $340M.
The biggest signing came when the team signed RHP Yu Darvish. The Padres will surely make him their ace entering the 2021 season.
Darvish had an incredible season in 2020 with the Chicago Cubs after posting an ERA of 2.01 and had a record of 8-3 in 12 games.
Although already on the team, it is noteworthy that the Padres signed Tatis Jr to a 14-year contract, which was a smart move.
Another key addition came when the Padres acquired Blake Snell. He finished the 2020 season with a 3.24 ERA and a record of 4-2 with the AL champions Tampa Bay Rays.
The biggest losses were: relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal, starting pitcher Garrett Richards, and catcher Jason Castro.
Rosenthal was a significant loss as he posted an ERA of 1.90 in 23 innings pitched. His relief is to be missed, but the Padres made a lot of key additions to their pitching staff, which was decent at times in 2020, but they saw a significant improvement.
Garrett Richards was a starter but they were able to get a star in Yu Darvish, who will surely be a significant upgrade for San Diego.
The Padres made huge additions by signing Darvish and landing Snell in the offseason. The Padres projected starting rotation (potentially in order): Darvish, Snell, Dinelson Lamet, and Joe Mosgrove.
The good news (for now) is that they will start with a healthy starting rotation. In the first slot, Darvish will get the ace job, and that should surely work out for them as he has been outstanding.
In the second slot, Snell will get the nod. He had a comeback season after a rocky 2019 season and will look to be more consistent with the Padres. He is surely disappointed by not winning the 2020 World Series but has a good redemption chance with the Padres.
With some minor tweaks, the Padres will have an elite starting lineup. Not in order, but San Diego will have: Austin Nola, Eric Hosmer, Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, and Wil Myers.
For the most part, the lineup will potentially be the same, but this is a lineup that has home runs written all over it.
Manny Machado, who finished third in NL MVP voting, will look to have another productive year.
Tatis Jr will look to continue to grow into the star he already is becoming. At 22, it is clear that he will be their franchise player.
3 Key Players
Let’s be honest, the hype surrounding Tatis Jr. is real. He is no longer a prospect but a serious contender for NL MVP.
Another key is Machado, who had an excellent 2020 season. His first season with the Padres was a disaster but he turned it around last season. He will look forward to having another productive season in 2021.
The final key will be Darvish, who has had an incredible regular-season career but been lackluster in the playoffs. Regardless of his inconsistent playoff record, Darvish will continue to progress from his 2020 season.
Although the Padres have a talented team, the biggest obstacle will be the reigning Champions and division/in-state rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Remember, the Padres were swept by the Dodgers in the shortened 2020 season.
According to BetUS Sportsbook Online, The Padres are among the top three favorites to win the World Series with a moneyline of +850, which puts them behind the Dodgers (+325) and the Yankees (+500).
As far as regular-season wins, BetUS sportsbook has their over/under for wins at 95.5. After the Pandemic and impressive 2020 season, the Padres will look to bring back the same magic they had last season and potentially make a run at the World Series.