The 2014-2015 offseason was a time of great excitement, with the Padres shocking the baseball world by making several blockbusters in the span of a few months, rapidly assembling an on-paper contender. It’s been two and a half years since it all went down, so we’ve all read (or written) numerous postscripts. In a few words: it didn’t work out.

Anyway, I was listening to the Make the Padres Great Again podcast the other day, and Craig and John briefly touched on the Wil Myers-for-Trea Turner three-team trade, classifying it as the worst move from that period. That’s a fair take, but it got me thinking: which move was the worst? . . . were there any good ones? . . . maybe I should make a list.

This is not going to be a super exhaustive look, because, let’s face it, nobody wants that. Instead, I’m breaking down each deal with my proprietary “then, now, forever” method (sorry, WWE). “Then” is how we felt about the deal at the time. This is arguably the most important category, so it gets double the weight of each of the other two categories in the final calculation. “Now” is how the deal looks today, 2.5 years later, and “forever” is our best guess at how the deal will look to (alien) baseball fans in 2200.

Sticking with the relatively simple format, we’re just going with letter grades, from F to, uh, A+, with a C being a ho-hum, run-of-the-mill deal. Alright, here we go, ranked in reverse order (from the best deal to the worst).

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We’re at an interesting point in the season for looking at stats. During the first month of the year, everybody pretty much knows that most stats aren’t worth a lot when measuring future expectations. Now that we’re about four months into the season, that feeling seems to have has gone away.petco park

The amount of time it takes for a stat to become stable is a complicated subject. But here are two things I believe:

  1. Even “advanced” stats like wOBA or wRC+ are not all that useful to help predict the future even at this point in the season.
  2. Stats that players have more direct control over are the most useful right now.

I was curious to find out if any Padres have changed the approach at the plate this season. And there aren’t many more stats that hitters have control over than what pitches he chooses to swing at. So, lets dive in!

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Franchy Cordero is struggling.

His slash line has dipped to .230/.280/.414 after a hot start, his wRC+ to 82. Worse, he’s striking out like Adam Dunn swinging a broom stick in the second game of a double-header after an all-night kegger. As Patrick Brewer noted the other day, Cordero is K-ing at a 44.7 clip on the season, and that number is actually up recently. In eight games since June 18, he’s somehow whiffed 17 times in 24 plate appearances (that’s 70.8 percent) while recording no hits and no walks. Among 357 hitters with at least 90 PAs this season, Cordero has the third-worst contact rate at 59.7 percent. There’s small sample size randomness and then there’s whatever this is.

With Manuel Margot back, Cordero’s been pushed to the bench for now. It seems likely that, for the balance of the year, Cordero will either return to Triple-A to work on making more contact or get regular playing time in left/center with the big club. It makes little sense to use him as a bench piece in the majors now, especially on a team that doesn’t have to worry about trying to win games late with a defensive replacement and/or pinch runner. He needs playing time somewhere.

While Cordero’s first month in the majors has been full of ups (the early power) and downs (all the strikeouts), with a recent trend toward more downs, here’s one good thing that’s been constant: he’s fast.

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what's brewing on the padres farm system

Luis Almanzar, 3B/SS, Low-A Tri-City

If don’t scout the stat line is a thing, then don’t scout the video clip is probably one too.

Either way, I couldn’t help but be impressed with that swing. I’m not sure how hard the pitch was or anything, but it looked like a fastball well inside on Almanzar’s hands, and he was able to turn on it, keep it fair, and line it to relatively deep left. That looks like some mighty fine bat speed for a guy who’s 17 years old, just a couple of week into his professional debut. Almanzar went 1-for-4 last night, which gives him an eight-game hitting streak; he also poked a (wind-aided) fly ball that was caught on the right-field warning track. Overall, he’s been off to a good start offensively, with five doubles, four steals, and nine walks (15 percent) in 13 games.

Defensively, it might be more of a work in progress. Almanzar had a ball clank off his glove at third last night and then awkwardly pulled up on a foul pop-up near the stands in the same inning. Further, Padres Jagoff didn’t seem overly impressed after his in-person viewing. It’s really early, of course, and it’s impressive enough that players like Almanzar are starting their careers in the Northwest League. We’ll try to chill out about the early returns, but it’s impossible to not pay attention. (Sac Bunt Dustin)

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Just after the draft, I did something ridiculous: I tried to predict all of the signing bonuses for Padres picks in the first 10 rounds. How’d I do?

Alright, not terrible. Not great, but not terrible.

I didn’t see MacKenzie Gore getting slot—or a little over slot, technically—but so be it. Give that dude all the money. Campusano signed for $400,000-plus under slot, which is kind of interesting given that he was considered the top catcher on the board. House signed for slot, which was also something of a surprise. Keating got quite a bit over, which we figured. Homza, Margevicius, and Basabe were right about where we had them. Leasher was more expensive than predicted, but maybe we weren’t considering park factors. The senior signs were cheaper than our guesses, but they’re always something of a wild card. After all that, though, one player’s signing bonus stood out (and completely destroyed my overall guesstimate).

Blake Hunt signed for $1,600,000, nearly twice his slot value of $858,600. I figured he’d be an under-slot signing.

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Here’s the quick Carter Capps backstory, which I promise will take fewer than 11 minutes and 22 seconds to read: Capps has a really weird, hopping delivery; he had one of the most dominant reliever seasons you’ll see for the Marlins back in 2015; he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016; he was acquired by the Padres in the Andrew Cashner trade at last season’s deadline; his really weird, hopping delivery was (again) ruled legal in the offseason.

Capps found himself in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday night, with Triple-A El Paso, trying to work his way back to the majors after TJ. Capps’ rehab has been a bit of an up-and-down process so far, featuring a few starts and stops and 10 walks in 14 innings. On the plus side, he’s been pitching regularly in June, and he had five straight scoreless appearances headed into last night’s action.

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It’s June and the Padres are 31–45; that means it’s the time of the year when mid-season prospect list start popping up. Last week Padres ProspectusEast Village Times, and Phillip unveiled lengthy and well-done Padres prospect lists, and somewhere in his east coast palatial estate David Marver is (apparently) working on a top 110 or something. I figured, what the heck, here’s mine.

(all stats through some point this weekend)

11. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Single-A Fort Wayne

You might glance at Fernando Tatis Jr.’s numbers and wonder what all the fuss is about. Tatis is hitting “just” .260/.338/.430 in 296 plate appearances. He’s striking out 26.3 percent of the time and walking 9.5 percent of the time. He has 12 steals in 20 tries. There are two things here:

1. Once you adjust for age, those numbers are quite good. In the Midwest league there are only 11 18-year-old position players. Of them, only offensive wunderkind Vladimir Gurerro Jr. has a higher wRC+ than Tatis (146 to 116). Keibert Ruiz is tied with Tatis, but five of the others—including teammates Jack Suwinski, Hudson Potts, and Reinaldo Ilarraza—have figures of 80 or lower. Flip over to the South Atlantic League, the Midwest League’s east coast cousin, and it’s more of the same. There are only two 18-year-old position players there, and neither has a wRC+ better than 110.

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Let’s face it, the bunt gets a bad rap these days, especially the sacrifice bunt. We’re in an era where some form of analytics plays a roll in every front office, and air-ball revolutionaries roam the dugouts; nobody on the periphery of either movement is espousing the virtues of the bunt. Shoot, there are multiple varieties of shirts available for anyone who wants to flaunt their anti-bunt lifestyle.

I’ll concede that the pure sacrifice bunt is often a bad play, the kind where you’re telegraphing the bunt early, where the defense is anticipating it, and where there’s little chance of anything good happening beyond moving a runner up a base in exchange for an out. When getting one run is super important, and maybe the batter isn’t so hot, this can be a good play. Often, though, both the run and win expectancy will drop if you pull off a “successful” sacrifice bunt in this scenario.

Take a look at Franchy Cordero‘s bunt from last night, though. To set the scene: the Padres are up one in the seventh, with Cory Spangenberg on first and one out. Forgetting the tank here, a run is important but not necessarily critical in the context of trying to win the game.

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what's brewing on the padres farm system

Michael Kelly, RHP, Double-A San Antonio

While we wait for Cal Quantrill, Adrian Morejon, and the rest of the Famers that will be the foundation of the Padres’ dynasty (2021-2025), we must first drudge through “Jhoulys Chacin Pitching on the Road” piles of shit and ride Clayton Richard’s stapled shoulder to 5-2 losses.

It’ll be a long time before the Padres rotation is truly great, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to have to wait that long before it’s good. We’ve already seen what Dinelson Lamet’s capable of in his short time with the big club, and Luis Perdomo, while still mostly just stuff and upside, can every now and then give you a 6 IP, 6h, 2er, 1bb, 8k night.

While two OK arms don’t make a good rotation, three might! I wrote about Michael Kelly last year for one of our first What’s Brewing on the Farm segments. Kelly pitched at three different levels last year, including Triple-A El Paso, where he was mostly up and down. He struggled at Lake Elsinore (29.1 IP, 25K, 12BB, 5.83 ERA), looked great in San Antonio (49.2 IP, 49K, 17BB, 2.90 ERA), before getting knocked around again Triple-A (49.2 IP, 41K, 23BB, 4.89 ERA).

Kelly, who’s still only 24 and was a supplemental 1st-round pick back in 2011, has been terrific at Double-A, where he’s pitched the entire season. Even with the caveat that he’s repeating the level and San Antonio is a pitcher-friendly environment, 91 strikeouts in 84.2 innings (15 starts) is impressive.

As I wrote last year, Madfriars had Kelly’s fastball in the mid-90s; with his strikeout numbers, it’s safe to assume not only has he maintained that velocity this year, but his secondary pitches have also started coming along. Kelly will probably be promoted to Triple-A at some point, and considering how mostly trash the rotation is right now, a call up to the big leagues shouldn’t be far off. (Oscar)

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By now, you’ve seen the video. You’ve read all of the accounts. You’ve dissected the viral diagrams:

I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more to say on the issue of Anthony Rizzo‘s “slide” into Austin Hedges from Monday night, but the internet isn’t going to stop me from trying. So here are some disjointed thoughts.

That was a dirty slide. It’s obviously hard to determine whether Rizzo attempted to injure Hedges, but he clearly went out of his way to collide with him to presumably jar the ball loose. There’s a good chance that kind of collision, initiated by a 6-foot-3, 240-pound man, will injure the person on the receiving end, the one who’s standing still and not expecting the impact. So when Rizzo decided to leave the base path and not make a play toward home plate (i.e., to break the rules), he opted to do something with a good chance of injuring Hedges. Parse things all you want, Rizzo’s actions led directly to Hedges leaving the game. To make matters worse, both Rizzo and his manager, Joe Maddon, acted like jackasses after the game.

(By the way, I’m not saying Rizzo is a dirty player. No idea. He probably isn’t one, and it was a split-second decision in effort to help his team win a ball game. It was still a dirty play in the context of the rules and general sportsmanship.)

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