The wait is over and now baseball (or at least baseball that counts) is back! The Padres set their 25-man roster a couple days ago, placing Mark Kotsay and Carlos Quentin on the DL and adding Jeremy Hermida, and then re-set it today by placing Tim Stauffer on the DL and adding reliever Brad Brach.
Brach is one of six players making his first appearance on an Opening Day roster, joining Anthony Bass, Andy Parrino, Jesus Guzman, Yonder Alonso and Logan Forsythe (he’s on the DL, but it still counts).
The Friars’ Opening Day roster consists of 12 pitchers (nine right-handed and three left-handed), two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders. Edinson Volquez is slated to make his second career (and second consecutive) Opening Day start this afternoon. The rotation following him will be Cory Luebke, Dustin Moseley and Clayton Richard.
Less than a week to go until Opening Day! For the red-hot Padres, it can’t get here fast enough. At 18-12, the Friars have the best record among NL West teams, rank third in the Cactus League and second among all National League clubs.
The Padres have won 15 of their last 20 after a slow start, hitting .307 over that stretch. On the Spring, San Diego is averaging 5.8 runs and 10.3 hits per game.
With the regular season quickly approaching, the first issue of this year’s Blueprint has been sent off to the printer. Here is a sneak peak at the first cover, featuring both Nick Hundley and Cameron Maybin. Both players recently signed contract extensions, ensuring the Padres future down the middle of the diamond.
The San Diego Padres today announced that they have agreed to terms with catcher Nick Hundley on a contract through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015.
Hundley, 28, set career highs in nearly every offensive category in 2011, including runs, hits, triples, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He hit .288 (81-for-281) with 16 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 29 RBI and 34 runs scored in 82 games, including 73 starts behind the plate. As catcher, he threw out a career-high 24 would-be base stealers last season, besting his previous total of 13 from 2008.
Since making his Big League debut in 2008, Hundley has posted a 3.94 ERA that ranks seventh among National League catchers over that four-year stretch.
It’s tourney time, and with 48 players still in Big League camp there was bound to be some rooting interest in the Padres clubhouse. Of the players on the Padres 40-man roster and remaining Spring Training invitees, there are eight players who attended a school that made it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Cory Luebke (Ohio State), Clayton Richard (Michigan), Huston Street (Texas), John Baker (Cal), Brad Davis and Nick Vincent (Long Beach State), Alex Hinshaw (SDSU) and Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia). In addition, Bud Black will join Alex Hinshaw in pulling for the Aztecs tomorrow morning vs. NC State.
Baker’s Cal Bears were eliminated last night in the tournament’s “First Four” round vs. USF. Each of the other six teams earned spots in the tournament’s round of 64. While none of the players will face each other in the first round, there is the possibility of a West Virginia (Gyorko)/Ohio State (Luebke) matchup in the second round.
Six of the seven teams are slotted on the right side of the bracket, leaving Davis and Vincent (Long Beach State) an uphill battle to face one of their Padres teammates.
While the home squad was battling Yu Darvish and the media frenzy that accompanied him in Peoria, half of the Padres were in Goodyear to take on the Reds yesterday. Led by starter Cory Luebke, the Friars tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out 13 over the course of the afternoon.
Luebke paved the way, striking out four while allowing one hit and one walk over his 2.0 frames. Casey Kelly followed with 2.0 perfect innings and two strikeouts of his own. Relievers Andrew Cashner, Dale Thayer, Matt Palmer, Erik Hamren and Brad Brach shutout the Reds over the final 5.0 frames, striking out seven. Brach put on a show in the ninth, striking out the side to close out the game.
After yesterday’s games, the Padres have now struck out 39 in 43.0 innings of work, averaging 8.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. San Diego’s relievers are averaging a strikeout per inning with 33 in their 33.0 innings this Spring.
The Padres jumped on the bus for their “second” road game today (first away from the Peoria Sports Complex). Tim Stauffer started, making his Spring debut with 2.0 innings of one-run ball. He allowed two-hits, throwing 24 pitches (16 strikes) during his outing this afternoon. Last year’s Opening Day starter, Stauffer had a strong year in 2011, setting career highs in wins, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts and quality starts.
Following Stauffer was newcomer Robbie Erlin. A highly-touted lefty prospect, he was acquired as part of the deal that sent Mike Adams to Texas at the 2011 trade deadline.
Erlin enters the season rated by Baseball America as the ninth-best prospect in the Padres organization, having gone 9-4 with a 2.99 ERA (49 ER/147.1 IP) in 26 minor league games last year, including a 1-0 record and 1.38 ERA (4 ER/26.0 IP) in six starts after joining Double-A San Antonio. Like Stauffer, he also worked 2.0 innings in his Spring debut today.
Bud Black enters his sixth season as manager of the Padres this year. His coaching/managing career follows a 15-year playing career with the Seattle Mariners (1981), Kansas City Royals (1982-88), Cleveland Indians (1988-90, 95), Toronto Blue Jays (1990) and San Francisco Giants (1991-94).
He compiled a 121-116 career record with 32 complete games, 12 shutouts, 11 saves and a 3.84 ERA (876 ER/2053.1 IP) in 398 Major League games (296 starts). His career included two American League championships with the Royals, including a World Series championship in 1985.
When he was named manager of the Padres, he became only the third individual over the last 40 years to have won 100 games as a pitcher and serve as a Major League manager.
But enough of all that, let’s see who hit him and who didn’t…
Let’s start with the current Padres staff, including all members of the Padres Big League, front office, minor league and scouting staff. Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield were the only players to tally double-digit at-bats against the left-hander, with Winfield taking him deep three times. On the flip side, third base coach Glenn Hoffman collected six at-bats, striking out in half of them. Overall, the current Padres staff was pretty succussful, hitting at a .296 clip against Black. Click the picture below to see a full-sized grid of their numbers vs. the Padres manager:
Onto the current Major League managers and their struggle to hit our fearless leader. They posted a collective .160 average (29-for-181) along with a .214 on-base percentage. Among that group are fellow NL West managers and former MVPs Kirk Gibson and Don Mattingly. The two combined to go 13-for-60 (.217) with three home runs and nine strikeouts. Click below for a full-sized view of all current Major League managers’ numbers vs. Buddy:
The Padres announced today that they have locked up Cameron Maybin, signing him to an extension that keeps him in San Diego through 2016 with a club option for 2017. The extension buys out Maybin’s arbitration years and gives Padres fans (that’s you) a big reason to celebrate.
Maybin had a breakout year in 2011, establishing new career highs in nearly every offensive category, including games, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and stolen bases, en route to being unanimously chosen as the Padres 2011 MVP by the San Diego Chapter of the BBWAA. He started 132 games in center field and led the team in runs, triples, stolen bases and multi-hit games.
On the year, he hit .264 (136-for-516) with 24 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs, 40 RBI and 82 runs scored. Maybin also stole 40 bases in 48 attempts, posting an 83.3 percent success rate that ranked 12th in the National League. He was successful in 21 consecutive attempts from May 18-August 8, including stolen bases in a franchise-record six straight games from July 19-24.
Originally signed by Detroit as the 10th overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Maybin made his Big League debut with the Tigers in 2007 and was traded to the Marlins prior to the 2008 season. He spent parts of three seasons with the Marlins before being acquired by the Padres in exchange for right-handed pitchers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica on November 13, 2010.
In summary, the whole thing gives Padres fans a good reason to join Cam’s son Trent in a little celebration dance (video via http://shenanniegans.com/)
One of the major differences between the 2011 and 2012 Padres will be the way the back-end of the bullpen lines up. This year’s squad welcomes new closer Huston Street along with the likes of flame-throwing Andrew Cashner.
Street comes to the Padres from Colorado, where he served as closer for the last three seasons, finishing third on the Rockies all-time list with 84 saves. Prior to the Rockies, Street pitched in relief for the A’s, who drafted him with the 40th overall pick in the 2004 Draft. He flew through the minors, making his Big League debut in 2005 and winning AL Rookie of the Year honors.
Since making his Big League debut in 2005, Street ranks among the top ML relievers in saves (10th), strikeouts (T-14th) and wins (T-7th). He has made at least 60 appearances in five of his seven Major League seasons, reaching 70.0 innings pitched on three occasions.
With 97 of his 417 career appearances coming at Coors Field, there is a feeling that his numbers (strong as they are) may even be inflated due to his home pitching environment. Over his seven-year career, Street has posted a 2.83 ERA (107 ER/340.0 IP) away from Denver, compared to a 4.11 mark (44 ER/96.1 IP) at Coors Field that has nudged his lifetime ERA to 3.11 (151 ER/436.1 IP).
Cashner, 25, was acquired by the the Padres from the Cubs in exchange for Anthony Rizzo. Projected to fill a bullpen void in the eighth inning this season, many think it won’t be long before he is slotted into the starting rotation. The right-hander features a fastball that has been known to touch triple-digits, giving him a high ceiling and providing plenty of excitement for Padres fans.
He made his Big League debut for the Cubs in 2010, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. Cashner made 53 relief appearances that year, posting a 4.80 ERA (29 ER/54.1 IP) that was largely affected by back-to-back outings in which he surrendered six runs. Without those appearances, his ERA on the season would have been 2.89 (17 ER/53.0 IP).
Cashner was placed into the starting rotation for the Cubs in 2011, making one appearance before going down with a right rotator cuff strain. He returned on 9/5 and worked in six relief outings, tossing scoreless ball in five of those appearances.
For more on Cashner and the Padres expectations, check out this story by MLB.com’s Corey Brock.
In acquiring outfielder Carlos Quentin this offseason, GM Josh Byrnes made a big step towards addressing the Padres need for a legitimate power threat in 2012. Originally signed by the Diamondbacks in the first round (29th overall) of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Quentin has displayed consistent pop at the plate over his 616 Major League games.
Since joining the White Sox for the 2008 campaign, the slugging outfielder has hit 20 home runs in each of his last four seasons, averaging 26.75/year. During his career, Quentin has averaged a home run every 17.36 at-bats, ranking 17th among all active players with at least 2,000 plate appearances. He has averaged an RBI every 5.48 at-bats, ranking 18th among active players.
While spending the majority of his career in the outfield, Quentin has also seen time as a DH (45 starts). Over his six-year career, he has made 526 starts in the outfield, with his team going 282-224 (.536) in those games.
Quentin joins the Padres following three years of consistent improvement in batting average (.236>.243>.254), slugging percentage (.456>.479>.499) and OPS (.779>.821>.838). In 2011 he was rewarded for his performance by being named to his second All-Star team (also 2008).
The right-hander boasts a .346 career on-base percentage that is helped by his incredible knack for getting hit by pitches. Entering the 2012 season, he has been hit by 211 pitches over 1,009 games in an eight-year professional career (counts minor league games). He ranks tied for 13th among active Major Leaguers with 97 HBP’s, despite having over 900 fewer at bats than anyone else in the top 20.
A local boy, Quentin graduated from University of San Diego High School, where he set school records in home runs and RBI. In addition, he was named the league Defensive Player of the Year in football and was a member of the state champion basketball team. Quentin then attended Stanford University, where he played in three consecutive College World Series from 2001-03 and was a finalist for the 2003 Golden Spikes Award.