When fantasy leaguers generally think of the San Diego Padres, they think “avoid the hitters and draft the pitchers”, mainly due to the ballpark affect. However, as with every rule, there are exceptions.
Here is an analysis of the fantasy Do’s and Don’ts and they pertain to the Padres roster:
DO draft Nick Hundley as your primary catcher. He hit .288/.347/.477 with 9 homeruns in just 281 at bats last year, a pretty good line for about a half season’s work. If he can duplicate that over an entire season, he could quickly move into the upper echelon of fantasy catchers.
DON’T draft Orlando Hudson. His numbers have been in steady decline the last 4 years and what little value he provides with his steals (19 in 2011) is offset by everything else.
DO take a chance on Yonder Alonso in the mid-to-late rounds. He has a career line of .293/.370/.466 in the minors. While he might not have the power you expect from a first baseman and Petco Park will dampen that even more, he should hit for a good average and a bunch of doubles. He shouldn’t be your starting first baseman, but would fit well in the corner infielder spot.
DON’T roster Jason Bartlett. Like Hudson, he is another guy who may give you some steals, but little else. He will be a drag on your batting average and will not provide you with many runs or rbis, so he is best left for your bench or better yet someone else’s team.
DO expect better things from Cameron Maybin. After struggling in his first few years in the majors with the Miami Marlins, Maybin finally got an opportunity to really show what he could do and literally ran with it. He stole 40 bases in his first full year and has the potential to steal even more if he can cut down on his strikeouts and draw a few more walks. I expect him to top 50 steals this year and add 10-15 homeruns.
DON’T expect much from Carlos Quentin. He is moving from a hitters park to a pitchers park this season and, after his career year in 2008, has only averaged about 24 homeruns while hitting below .250. Petco will sap his power and drag down his average even more, making him a player to avoid in mixed leagues and shallow NL only leagues.
I DO like Cory Luebke, a lot. After spending the first half of the season coming out of the pen, Luebke was outstanding after joining the rotation at the end of June. With an ERA of 3.29 and 154 strikeouts in 139.2 innings pitched, you would think that Luebke benefited from pitching his home games at Petco. However, he actually had a better road ERA, 2.55, than his home ERA of 4.04.
I DON’T trust Clayton Richard. Sure he had a fine 3.88 ERA in 2011, but his lack of strikeouts (just 53 in 99.2 IP) and his 1.42 whip are reasons for concern. Roster him at your own risk.
I DO believe that Tim Stauffer is a product of the Petco effect, but I don’t care. He had a 2.57 ERA at home and a 4.95 ERA on the road in 2011, but if your league allows you to play matchups, well you know what to do.
DON’T sleep on Andrew Cashner. He has a power arm and will work as the setup man for Huston Street. Given Street’s injury history, Cashner would make a good late round pick and could become this year’s Rafael Betancourt.
Finally, given the Padres ballpark, I DO think that the Padres will continue to run. Six players finished 2011 with double digit steals, including Chase Headley (13), Will Venable (26) and Chris Denorfia (11). But, at the same time, I DON’T expect much power from any of the Padres hitters. In 2011, Ryan Ludwick led all Padres with just 11 homeruns and I would be hard pressed to pick a hitter who will top 15 homeruns in 2012.