There’s a perception in some circles that the Padres lack offensive talent. This is revisionist history based on the fact that they aren’t hitting. Hey, we’re all susceptible to hindsight bias. There’s no shame in that as long as we recognize it.

Less philosophically, here are the Padres starting eight. For each, I’ve listed age, current OPS (a crude but effective proxy for more precise metrics), pre-2014 career OPS, and several projected OPSs.

Player Age OPS
2014* pre-2014 PECOTA Steamer Oliver ZiPS
Yasmani Grandal 25 645 809 746 749 738 720
Yonder Alonso 27 581 741 732 771 729 727
Jedd Gyorko 25 482 745 758 754 748 731
Everth Cabrera 27 618 672 665 673 696 658
Chase Headley 30 621 765 747 750 723 750
Seth Smith 31 951 798 735 735 702 723
Will Venable 31 576 753 728 765 774 728
Chris Denorfia 33 681 750 704 704 720 707

*Through games of June 4, 2014

Here’s a slightly different look that compares “expected” (an average of all four projection systems and pre-2014 numbers; again, crude but effective) to actual, in descending order by differential:

Player Age OPS
Actual* Expected Diff
Seth Smith 31 951 739 +212
Chris Denorfia 33 681 717 -36
Everth Cabrera 27 618 673 -55
Yasmani Grandal 25 645 752 -107
Chase Headley 30 621 747 -126
Yonder Alonso 27 581 740 -159
Will Venable 31 576 750 -174
Jedd Gyorko 25 482 747 -265

*Through games of June 4, 2014

A few of these guys are regressing to their norms: Alonso and Venable have improved in recent weeks, while Smith has begun his descent from the stratosphere. But the overall point is that, other than Smith, they’re all falling short–in most cases way short–of reasonable expectations.

Why? Excellent question. I’m sure the Padres ask themselves that every day, along with, “How do we fix this?”

There are some things the Padres are doing very wrong at the plate–hitting more groundballs than any other team in baseball, turning into a poor man’s Jason Marquis after an 0-1 count, etc. Alas, these only lead to more questions.

Those seeking answers, including the team itself, will be disappointed. This shouldn’t be happening. Given what we knew about the hitters coming into this season, there’s no way anyone could have foreseen a collective two-month slump.

And yet, here we are. Lack of talent? More like lack of execution. But that’s a discussion for some other day.

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  • Robby Deming

    The Padres were in the upper half of the NL last year by OPS+. It’s good to remember that for all of the problems folk attributes to the FO, this complete failure throughout the lineup was completely unexpected and unpredictable.

    I know that’s a hell of a lot less satisfying than raging about incompetence, but it’s the truth.

    • #finalpiece

      They were 8th out of 15. Pretty much exactly dead average. And 4th amongst NL West. I don’t think you can call that good. I don’t think you can afford to not improve on that in the offseason, thinking you’re set (other than a left handed 4th outfielder). Sure, you couldn’t predict the whole lineup would fall off a cliff (other than a left handed 4th outfielder) but to not attempt to improve on dead f’ing average is a massive failure.

      • Robby Deming

        Baseball Reference had us tied with the Braves for fifth last year out of 15 teams. That’s not bad and arguably not middle of the pack:http://m.bbref.com/m?p=XXleaguesXXNLXX2013.shtml&t=all_teams_standard_batting

        Byrnes’ major acquisition, Seth Smith, has played well. It’s the core pieces he’s inherited that have played like crap, which as Geoff artfully documented, is well below their career norms.

      • Tom Waits

        That’s how I read the numbers, too. Tied for 5th in NL, 3rd in NL West.

        I was more worried about the health of the rotation than the hitting. We didn’t have star hitters but we had a lot of solid position players and it’s a lot harder to move from solid to great than from bad to solid. 1b was the spot that looked easiest to upgrade and even then it wasn’t crazy to think Yonder to give you a 2 WAR season.

        This offense feels like something a vengeful deity would visit upon a Pharaoh.

      • ballybunion

        I think you’ve put your finger on it – some kind of curse/hex was put on the franchise. My prime suspects are, in no particular order: John Moores, Becky Moores, Jeff Moorad, Sandy Alderson, and Tom Garfinkel. Take your pick, but I’m leaning on bad vibes from Tom G. for his messy exit. As for what to do, an exorcist should be called in.

  • USMC53

    It’s pretty clear from reading this is that it’s not a Josh Byrnes problem at all, despite the outcry you hear from many fans (and media types like Dan Sileo) that he should be fired. You’d think that maybe it’s a Plantier/Powell problem, but they were around last year and we didn’t have these problems. There’s just no answer that makes any damn sense.

    • Lonnie Brownell

      Agreed, and what we’ll hear next from those sorts is “Fire Ducksnorts! He’s spewing blasphemy!”

  • pat

    It’s the Curse of the Garvey! It will not be lifted until the Evil 6 is taken down from above the scoreboard of Petco Park.