Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Look Back and a Look Forward – Position by Position

December 23, 2008

A Position by Position Look at the 2008 Padres and My Thoughts about 2009.

This is the first part of a three part post.

This morning the position players, starting pitchers will follow later today and the bullpen asap.

Part One – The Position Players

1B was GREAT! Adrian Gonzales was among the best in baseball with 36 hr and 119 rbi
- NO Changes Needed

2B was bad hitting .244/.304/.333 overall with 9 hr and 54 rbi.
- See below. Lots of youngsters fighting for this position in 2009.

SS was a black hole going .244/.291/.348 with 10 hr and 49 rbi
- See below. Not enough youngsters fighting for this job in 2009!

3B was decent hitting .260 with 25 hr and 87 rbi
- No Changes needed unless Kouzmanoff can be traded for starting pitching

LF was not great but certainly better than 2B or SS hitting .258/.345/.422 with 19 hr and 69 rbi. Headley's .275/.346/.417 in 82 games in LF was encouraging.
- No changes needed unless Kouzmanoff is traded and Headley is moved to 3B.

CF platoon of Gerut/Hairston was among best in MLB hitting a combined .305 w/26 hr and 60 rbi in 131 games in CF. Venable filled in well in 26 starts. Edmonds was pitiful.
- Gerut will start in CF and if he stays healthy I would project him at .290/.350/.500 with 20 hr and 75-80 rbi and plus defense. Great production from that position!

RF Giles was among the best in baseball .306/.399/.458/.857 w/12 hr in 144 games in RF
- No Changes needed.

C was a black hole going .204/.269/.297 Hundley was the lone bright spot hitting .239 and playing good defense. How often is .239 a bright spot?
- See Below. Hundley and the invisible backup catcher.

– Hairston, Egon, Venable, Backup Catcher – Ausmus?, Denker/Cabrera/Antonelli

So the areas of greatest needs in the field are 2B, SS and C.

I would like to see Hundley get 90-100 starts in 2009 so the Padres really only need a decent backup catcher that can tutor Hundley. Recently they signed 30 year old career backup Eliezer Alonzo to a minor league deal. I think Ausmus would also be a good choice at backup catcher.

2B is a position where the Padres have 2 real good 23 year old prospects in Denker and Antonelli and one Rule V pick in Cabrera plus a good bench player in EGon that all may make the opening day roster. Let’s hope one of them steps up to the plate (pun intended) and does well. My money is on Denker.

SS is still a very weak position. LRod is the only real ML player who can play the position well and swings a decent, not good, bat. Everth Cabrera is making a jump from Low A ball to the majors, something that has been successfully done by a position player only once that I can find, and he is really a 2B, not a SS.

Kazmar doesn't seem ready and Drew Cumberland is the next SS prospect in the farm system and he played in Low A ball in 2008.

I think the Padres were hoping to find a starting SS and let LRod play 2b with Egon backing him up.

Eckstein or Vizquel might be good one year transitions to the next generation or a stop gap until the Padres can make a trade for a young starting SS.

I hope that the Padres are not done wheeling and dealing. Still too many question marks and not enough proven depth.

KT, if you are listening, here are my thoughts on position player moves.
1) Trade Kouzmanoff and a prospect for a starting pitcher that can fill the #3 hole and throw 190-200 innings.
2) Sign Eckstein or Vizquel or ??? to a one year deal to fortify the middle infield.
3) Sign Ausmus to backup Hundley – He would be a great teacher.