A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE PADRES
Matt Kemp got strength back in his injured shoulder the second half of last season, and he faced some tough pitching early this spring and was right on it, aggressive. If he hit 30 homers, I wouldn't be that surprised, and though he's not the runner he was, I think he'll steal 15 bags.... Justin Upton is a special player—strength, power, plays leftfield great—and he's one guy the park won't affect much. He'll strike out (this team will strike out a lot), but if the guy's hitting 25 to 30 homers, you can live with it.... I love Cameron Maybin. He's a hard worker, but I just don't think he's going to hit enough. In BP he'll hit them 500 feet, but he has big problems recognizing pitches. It's a long swing. He's the best centerfielder they have, runs like a deer, but I don't see them moving, say, Wil Myers to first—they'll live with the worse defense.... I think Jedd Gyorko's going to flourish. His power is legit—he can hit it out to right center in that ballpark, which is an unbelievable feat.... When a Red Sox guy is a prospect, all of a sudden he's the second coming, but I never really saw Will Middlebrooks do anything.... Don't overlook the Padres' starters. When you've got Ian Kennedy, a 200-strikeout guy, as your No. 4, that's pretty darn good. Andrew Cashner is outstanding, James Shields has a track record and Tyson Ross made the All-Star team last year. I mean, come on! ... I have them behind the Dodgers, but they have enough ability to win the division if everything goes right.
Carlos Quentin has been an awkward fit in San Diego since the day the Padres traded for him in 2012. Valuable in the batter's box, Quentin is a disaster in leftfield and unable to stay healthy when he plays out there. In three seasons as a Padre, he has played just 1,350 innings in the field—about one season's worth. Having traded for an entirely new outfield, the Padres no longer need Quentin, who has one year left on a contract extension. With Cameron Maybin and Will Venable also crowding the bench, the Padres have to find a home, preferably an AL home, for Quentin. The righthanded batter can still rake—.251/.352/.464 those same three years—but he needs to be a full-time DH. Bringing back anything for Quentin will be better than burning a roster spot and $8 million on a player who will only pinch-hit.
LEAGUE RANK 7
MANAGER BUD BLACK 9TH SEASON WITH PADRES
2015 PROJECTED STATISTICS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
BRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (KEMP)