After covering the position players a few weeks back, we’re back today with some crazy pitcher predictions. Let’s get right to it . . . after this standard disclaimer:

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).

The Starters

James Shields

You can look at Shields’ 2015 season in two ways.

  1. He stunk. He allowed a league-leading 33 home runs in pitcher-friendly Petco, and he posted a below average ERA once accounting for ballparks. He also pitched “just” 202 1/3 innings, his lowest total since his rookie campaign, while also notching a career-worst 3.6 walks per 9.
  2. He was sneaky good. Shields’ 25.1 percent strikeout rate was the highest mark of his career, up nearly six percentage points from 2014—even though his velocity was down 1.5 miles per hour. His HR/FB was an unsustainably high 17.6 percent, and it’s bound to regress significantly going forward.

Huh, strange year. The glass half full outlook says Shields can keep his strikeout rate up while cutting down his walk rate and home run issues. That version of Shields would put him back on the fringes of the Cy Young race, but he’s 34 now—we won’t go quite that far.

The Prediction: 3.37 ERA, 22 percent strikeout rate, 24 home runs allowed

Tyson Ross

Ross feels like the type of pitcher ready to breakout as a true staff ace at any moment, and he’s come tantalizingly close already. He has his warts—trouble holding runners, higher than desired walk rates, injury risk due to heavy slider usage—but he also excels at just about everything you want from a pitcher. His 25.8 strikeout rate in 2015 marked a new career high, and that figure has been on the rise every year for Ross. His groundball rate has trended in the same direction, and last year it also reached a new peak at 61.5 percent. With sustained health and improved control, there’s no reason why Ross can’t take another jump forward in 2016.

The Prediction: 18 days on the DL (blister)

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It’s been tough to watch the Padres this week.  They blew a 2-0 lead against the Dodgers Sunday and lost 4-2 in extras.  Oakland pretty much ran roughshod over them.  Buddy Black was fired, Dave Roberts lost his only game as manager, Pat Murphy started 0-2.

Why is a combination of factors; not enough timely hitting (or hitting in general).  Sloppy defense.  Inconsistent starting pitching.  And an incendiary bullpen.  It seems the only reliable arm we have down there is Brandon Maurer.  At least we now know Alexi Amarista can pitch; gotta maximize roster flexibility.

The bullpen has been awful, and the most painful visual is seeing Cory Mazzoni get obliterated.  I attended the 9-1 drubbing on Monday and it was uncomfortable watching him struggle.  He couldn’t get the third out.  Wednesday he didn’t have anything, but with San Diego already down 9-2 he absorbed another beating. I’m sure this week is one he’d rather forget.

Before we give up on him entirely, it’s worth remembering he was a second round draft pick of the Mets in 2011.  The Padres got him in the Alex Torres trade.  He jumped four levels in the Mets minor league system last year.  I’m no expert by any stretch on player development, but I can’t believe there have been many players who start the season in Rookie ball and end it at Triple-A.  This year he’s been good at El Paso, posting a 1.99 ERA, allowing less than a runner an inning, and striking out 11.9 hitters per 9.

He can have a successful career at the Major League level.  It’s obvious, however, he isn’t ready for the Majors yet.

Because the bullpen has struggled, the team is swinging wild trying to find another effective reliever.  Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush, Mazzoni, and others have ridden the iron bird between El Paso and San Diego as the club tries to figure this out.  Rather than keep sending Mazzoni out there to get torched, let’s leave him in El Paso the rest of this year.  I’d rather watch Quackenbush or Vincent – guys who’ve at least proven in the past they can consistently get hitters out at this level – fight their way through an outing than witness Cory trying to figure it out at the ML level with little success.

End the madness.  Let the kid develop.  Send Mazzoni down.

Sorry – not writing auf Deutsch today.


Sometimes things get a little fuzzy after an evening at the pub. And then, right before you pass out, you see Alexi Amarista taking the mound to pitch. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were unconscious. And your friends were drawing penises on your face.


The Padres (32-36), 2. The Oakland A’s (29-39), 16.


Odrisamer Despaigne (3-5, 4.79), six innings, eight hits, one walk, two strikeouts, and six runs.


Jesse Chavez (3-6, 2.52), seven innings, three hits, one walk, ELEVEN strikeouts, and one run.


Frank Garces, two-thirds of an inning, three hits, one walk, no strikeouts, and three runs.


Cory Mazzoni, two-thirds of an inning, eight hits, one walk, one strikeout, and SEVEN runs.


Alexi Amarista, one-third of an inning, no hits, no walks, no strikeouts, and no runs. That’s right, THE FIVE FEET NOTHING TALL SHORTSTOP PITCHED!


Just click on any of the recaps below for more details. This game was so bad that if I think any more about it my brain will explode and ooze out of my ears.

The Padres try to salvage their dignity in the final game of the series this afternoon at 12:35pm PDT. Ian Kennedy (3-5, 5.84) takes the hill against the Athletic’s Kendall Graveman (3-3, 4.22).

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy after an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (32-34) scored fewer runs than the Oakland A’s (27-39), 9-1, last night in the first of two games at Petco Park.

Tyson Ross (3-7, 4.02) gave up four run on seven hits and five walks with six strikeout in five innings of work. In the third inning, Josh Reddick started the scoring with an RBI single with one out to score Eric Sogard. Ben Zobrist then walked and Stephen Vogt singled to left field to score Reddick. Zobrist then scored on a single by Brett Lawrie. In the fifth inning, Lawrie drove in Zobrist again with one out.

In the eighth inning, with Cory Mazzoni on the mound for the Padres, Marcus Semien walked and Billy Butler singled. Billy Burns then, still with no outs, drove in Semien with a single. Mazzoni got Sogard to line out to center field and Reddick to fly out to left field. Then, after a single by Zobrist, Mazzoni served up a grand slam to Vogt, who ended up with five RBI.

Jesse Hahn (4-5, 3.62) pitched six and two-third innings, giving up just the one Padres’ run on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Will Venable drove in Alexi Amarista with an RBI single in the third inning after it was determined he was not hit by a pitch that appeared to hit his pant leg, even after acting manager Dave Roberts called for a replay challenge.

This afternoon at 12:40pm PDT, the Padres will send Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.16) to the mound against the Athletics and Scott Kazmir (3-4, 2.79) in the second game at Petco Park.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy after an evening in the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (23-26) scored a lot fewer runs than the Pittsburgh Pirates (25-22), 11-5, last night in the first of four games at Petco Park.

Ian Kennedy (2-5, 7.15) gave up seven runs in three and two-thirds innings, the first six all thanks to home runs. Jung Ho Kang connected in the first inning for a three-run moonshot, Gregory Polanco hit a solo home run in the second inning, and Starling Marte had a two-run shot in the third inning. Shawn Kelley relieved Kennedy in the fourth and pitched one and a third shutout innings. But Cory Mazzoni gave up another four runs in his two innings.

A.J. Burnett (5-1, 1.81), meanwhile, looked good early in his five and two-thirds innings, but got into a little bit of trouble in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. All five Padres’ runs came in those three innings. But the Friars were shutout over the last third of the game.

Tonight, James Shields (6-0, 3.75) takes the mound against Francisco Liriano (2-4, 3.86) at 7:10pm PDT.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy after an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (11-11) scored a lot fewer runs than the Houston Astros (13-7), 14-3, last night at Petco Park. Tyson Ross (1-2, 4.55) lasted five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. Evan Gattis hit a two-run home run with two outs in the first inning to start the Astros off. Chris Carter hit a solo shot in the sixth inning and George Springer had a two-run home run in the seventh, both off of Odrisamer Despaigne. The Padres’ bullpen continued the disturbing trend of throwing gasoline on the fire, as the Astros scored seven runs off Despaigne, Kevin Quackenbush, and Cory Mazzoni.

Roberto Hernandez (1-2, 3.80) meanwhile pitched six innings for the Astros, surrendering all three Padres’ run on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Wil Myers and Justin Upton had solo home runs off of Hernandez, in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Other than that, whatever the Padres hit seemed to be right at an Astros player.

This afternoon will have Andrew Cashner (1-2, 2.63) taking the mound against the Astros and Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 0.62) at 12:40pm PDT in the final game of the series at Petco Park. It’s the first of five Way Back Wednesday afternoons of the 2015 season, in which the Friars will be wearing the brown pinstriped uniforms originally worn from 1985-90.

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If you want your kid to be a ball player, teach ’em how to throw left-handed — at least that’s the old adage. Well, if you want your kid to play for the Padres, you might be better off just allowing him (or her!) to grow up into a hard-throwing right hander.

A.J. Preller’s pursuit of right-handed power hitting has been a major storyline this offseason: from Matt Kemp to Justin Upton to Wil Myers to Derek Norris to Will Middlebrooks, part of Preller’s focus has been on adding premium right-handed pop. In fact, the Padres are expected to put out one of the most righty-heavy lineups in the majors in 2015. What’s gone slightly more under the radar is Preller’s interest in right-handed power pitchers.

Before we get into his two most recent moves, here’s a list of all (most, at least) the right-handed pitchers Preller and the Padres acquired earlier this offseason: James Shields, Brandon Maurer, Shawn Kelley, Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson, Jose Valverde, Gerardo Reyes, Aaron Northcraft, Luis Hernandez, Daniel McCutchen, Marcos Mateo, Wilmer Torres, Adrian Martinez, Dari Lopez, Luis Perez, Parker Frazier, Emmanuel Clase, Zack Segovia, Jay Jackson, Seth Streich.

And here are the lefties: Jose Castillo, Elby Cooper, Scott Elbert. (edit: Plus Kyle Bartsch)

Torres, Martinez, Lopez, Perez, Clase, and Cooper all appear to be international amateur signees, but I counted them anyway.

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