Here’s the thing: Making predictions about baseball is really hard. If you make a bunch of them, however, you have a better chance to be right a few times, and you can put that kind of stuff on the back of your baseball (writer) card. Here are a bunch of predictions for Padres position players in the 2016 season.
Disclaimer: These guys certainly all won’t make the Opening Day 25-man roster, but they all stand a good chance to at least find themselves in the majors at some point. Also, predictions are for the player’s full season, regardless of whether or not they are traded, but only count major-league performance (unless otherwise noted).
I had a love-hate relationship with the Padres starting catcher last season; early in the year I wrote about how his poor framing numbers were hurting the Padres, and later in the year I wrote about how impressive his turnaround was in that department. Norris is suddenly a good framer and, don’t forget, he threw out like 472 runners last season—dude’s a solid defensive backstop.
The Prediction: +9.7 Framing Runs (Baseball Prospectus)
Bethancourt’s a player Braves fans probably drooled about for years. Then he appeared under the spotlight in Atlanta, and the locals quickly got restless. That’s it? A defense-first catcher who can’t defend? This stinks.
Bethancourt’s throwing arm is of the sort where you wonder if it’s made of all-natural stuff like skin and bones and ligaments or if it’s some kind of alien experiment gone completely right. So he’s got that going for him.
The Prediction: 44* percent CS rate, 1.87 average pop time
*If he catches Tyson Ross in more than 20 percent of his games, I hereby reduce this number to 36 percent.
Newsflash No. 1: Hedges may never hit.
Newsflash No. 2: Nobody would look at you funny if you proclaimed Hedges the best defensive catcher on the planet.
Hedges has (don’t go there, don’t go there) Yasmani Grandal’s framing ability with Bethancourt’s arm (or, at least, a not-so-cheap alien-style knockoff) with Yadier Molina’s expert handling of a pitching staff with . . . well, you get the point. He’s a great defensive catcher with no notable weaknesses behind the dish.
There’s probably a decent chance he spends a good chunk of time in Triple-A, since Bethancourt is out of options and Hedges could use daily reps, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if he reappeared in San Diego at some point.
The Prediction: +31 Framing Runs, including minor leagues (Baseball Prospectus)