MLB Team News & Rumors: San Diego

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San Diego Padres

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

San Diego Padres Team Projection

Get prepared for your fantasy baseball draft by reading my player profiles of the 2014 San Diego Padres pitching staff.

1. SP Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson fantasy baseball

Johnson just wasn't healthy in 2013. He pitched great in spring training (5-0 with a 2.70 ERA, 23 K's, and 3 walks in 20 innings) with batters only hitting .164 against him. His success led to him moving up in fantasy drafts. Josh struggled in April (6.86 ERA), which led to a 6 week DL stint with a triceps injury. When he returned in June, Johnson allowed 3 runs or less in 5 of his next 7 starts (3.49 ERA with 41 K's in 38.7 innings), but he only won 1 game. Over his next 4 starts, he crushed fantasy players (37 base runners and 25 runs in 16 innings - 7 HR's allowed {14.1 ERA}). For the entire year, Josh was able to get K's (9.2). However, his command (3.1) has declined over the last 3 seasons and he had a career high HR/9 rate (1.7). His forearm injury re-emerged in August, which led to elbow surgery in early October to remove bone chips. In addition, Johnson was dealing with left knee tendonitis. He signed a one year, $8 million contract with the Padres in the offseason. His AFB (92.8) was the same as 2012, but it is still well below his best years (95.0 in 2009). He still throws a slider as his 2nd best pitch, followed by a curveball (more value over the last 3 years) and a declining changeup. Josh has a career 3.40 ERA with 915 K's in 998 innings. However, he has only pitched over 200 innings once during his career and may still have an underlying shoulder issue. His stuff clearly lost life in the strike zone in 2013. While his price point is really cheap in the early draft season, his value will rise again if he pitches well during spring training. Tough to give him a 2nd dance after his failure in 2013, but he has enough talent to make an impact if the elbow issue was the reason for his lack of success.

2. SP Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy fantasy baseball

Kennedy probably overachieved his skill set in 2011 when he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA. His value has been on a negative progression over the last 2 seasons. While his command (3.6) took a huge step backwards, his K rate (8.1) stayed intact. However, HR's (1.3 per 9) have been a problem over the last 2 years. He pitched a little better with the Padres (4.34 ERA) after a late July trade, but he walked 18 batters in his first 5 starts with San Diego (29.7 innings - 5.4 walk rate). In September, Ian threw more strikes (7 walks in 28.7 innings - 2.2 walk rate), which led to 4 quality starts. His AFB (90.3) was in line with his 2011 season, and his changeup is his #2 pitch, followed by a curveball and a cutter. His biggest failure was against LH batters (.265 with 19 HR's allowed in 340 at bats - .500 SLG %), but his command against righties has also regressed. Overall, his stuff has lost value across the board due to his inability to throws strikes. His home park gives him a big edge and he had a 2.81 ERA in 5 starts in San Diego after the trade (7-2 in his career with 2.41 ERA and 90 K's in 71 innings). Solid backend gamble - 3.75 ERA with 13+ wins and 170+ K's.

3. SP Andrew Cashner

Andrew Cashner fantasy baseball

Cashner is drawing a lot of interest in the early draft season. He has an electric arm with a plus fastball (94.5), but it was the lowest of his career. Andrew throws a changeup as his second best pitch, followed by a slider and a low % of curveballs. His command (2.4) was the best of his career, which made a huge step forward last year. However, his K rate (6.6) surprisingly regressed to a career low. Cashner was very good against RH pitching (.217). Over his last 6 starts of the year, Andrew only allowed 4 runs in 44.7 innings (0.81 ERA - 38 K's). He also only allowed 1 walk in his last 23.7 innings. Last year, he threw 175 innings, which was over 100 more than his previous season. Furthermore, Cashner has only pitched over 110 innings one other time during his career. I like his talent and he should have upside in K's, but I can't trust him to be healthy enough to be a SP3 in 2014.

4. SP Tyson Ross

Tyson Ross fantasy baseball

Ross really did a nice job after the All Star break as a starter, allowing 2 runs or less in 9 of his 13 starts (2.93 ERA with 85 K's in 80 innings). Batters only hit .201 against him over the 2nd half of the year (.265 - 1st half). His command (3.2) was a career best and it improved over his last 13 starts (2.9). His K rate (8.6) and AFB (94.2) were both career highs (AFB by 1.7 mph). Tyson throws a slider as his #2 pitch, followed by a declining changeup. His success was driven by the value of his slider (batter hit .130 against it with a .162 SLG %). However, his fastball was hittable (.309 with a .495 SLG %). Ross was dominant against RH batters (.198 - .282 SLG %), but really needs an off speed pitch that will have value against LH batters. Overall, Tyson has a live arm. He doesn't have a great minor league resume (4.26 ERA), but his success last year suggests growth. His fastball command in the strike zone is the key to his success going forward. Possible flyer, but his first pitch strike % suggests he's not quite ready to be a plus arm.

5. SP Robbie Erlin

Robbie Erlin fantasy baseball

Erlin had value as a spot starter in June (4 runs in 13 innings with 11 K's), but he was blasted in 2 starts in July (18 base runners and 12 runs in 7.7 innings) which led to a trip back to AAA. Robbie pitched very well when he was recalled in late August (2 runs or less on all 5 starts). His walk rate (2.5) was solid, but his minor league career shows more upside (1.8). However, his K rate (6.6) came in well short of his minor league career (9.5). Erlin pitched well in the majors, but struggled at AAA in 2013 (8-3 with a 5.07 ERA with poor command {3.1}). Batters hit .307 against him in the minors last year, while RH batters only hit .225 against him in the majors. Robbie struggled with lefties with San Diego (.318). His AFB was 89.6, and he throws a curveball as his 2nd best pitch (followed by a changeup and slider). Erlin is 26-13 during his minor league career with 452 K's in 426 innings. Upside arm with plus command whose changeup is the key to his value going forward. He did have an elbow injury in 2012, so he might have some risk. He will compete with Burch Smith for the 5th starting job.

6. SP Burch Smith

Burch Smith fantasy baseball

Smith will be overlooked by most fantasy players in 2014 due to his lack of success in the majors last year (6.44 ERA in 7 starts). Burch was called up earlier than expected due to injuries in the Padres starting rotation. He allowed 22 base runners and 16 runs in 7.3 innings in 3 starts in May. Smith is 15-9 during his minor league career with a 3.35 ERA and 243 K's in 223 innings. Furthermore, he had elite command (2.1) with a plus K rate (9.8) in the minors. Last year, batters only hit .228 vs. his fastball and .229 against his changeup. His changeup did have less value against RH batters (.333). At this point of his career, his curveball (.368 with a .500 SLG %) isn't ready to get major league batters out. Additionally, his AFB was 91.8. Burch flashed upside in an electric 10 K start in which he allowed no runs in seven innings against the Braves in September. He had 31 K's in 23.7 innings over his last 4 starts, but he walked 14 batters. Smith is a pitcher to keep an eye on during spring training whose success will be driven by the development of his secondary pitches.

7. SP Eric Stults

Eric Stults fantasy baseball

Last year, Stults was a full time starter in the majors for the first time in his career at age 33. He had elite command (1.8) with a short K rate (5.8), allowing 2 runs or less in 17 of his 33 starts. Eric only allowed more than 5 runs in 1 start all year. Stults was dominant against lefties (.185), but he really has no value against RH batters (.301). Over 18 starts in May through July, Eric had s 3.06 ERA. While his AFB (86.7) was a career low, his #2 pitch is a changeup, followed by a slider and a curveball. His command and ERA will draw some attention from fantasy owners in deep leagues, but his skill set really isn't high enough to keep the job all season. Downside risk.

8. CL Huston Street

Huston Street fantasy baseball

Street struggled with HR's (12) in 2013, but he converted 33 of 35 saves. He missed a couple of weeks in June with a calf injury. His walk rate (2.2) was in line with his career resume, but his K rate (7.3) was a huge step back from 2012 (10.8) and was below his career average (9.0). Huston had success against both RH (.217) and LH (.208) batters. While Street had a 4.61 ERA over the first 3 months, he allowed 10 HR's over his first 27.3 innings. Over the last 3 months, Huston pitched at an elite level (0.92 ERA with 31 K's in 29.3 innings). His AFB (89.4) was slightly higher than 2012 (89.0 - career low). Furthermore, his slider is still his #2 pitch, followed by a changeup. His velocity was up across the board over the last 3 months of the year. Street has 234 career saves, but his skill set is on the decline and he will have some competition from Benoit for saves in 2014. He had a 30 game stretch from late June until last September where he only allowed 1 runs in 30.3 innings. His 2nd half success and his resume give him the best chance to get saves in San Diego. Street is a steady option for saves, but he can't match the front talent in K's.

9. RP Joaquin Benoit

Joaquin Benoit fantasy baseball

Benoit has pitched the best ball of his career over the last 4 seasons (2.53 ERA), but his command (3.0) has declined in each of the last 3 seasons. However, his K rate (9.8) has been above his career average over the last 3 seasons. Last year, Joaquin had the first chance of his career to save games, converting 24 of 26 chances. Benoit was great vs. both RH (.210) and LH (.188) batters, but he did struggle in September (4.38 ERA) and blew his only 2 saves in the last week of the year. This led to a shaky playoff run (6.35 ERA), which included the crushing grand slam allowed to David Ortiz in the league championship series. Despite that, his AFB (94.1) was the highest of his career. He throws an improving changeup as his #2 pitch, followed by a slider. Overall, nice bullpen arm with a short resume earning saves, which make him the 8th inning guy for San Diego heading into 2014.

10. RP Jesse Hahn

Jesse Hahn fantasy baseball

Hahn was expected to be a first round draft pick in 2010, but he suffered an elbow injury that dropped him into the 6th round. He ended up needing to have Tommy John surgery and later suffered a broken foot. He has a mid 90's fastball with a solid curveball and changeup. Last year, he made 20 starts at High A, but was limited to 3 innings per start over the first half of the year. He has an upside arm that will start this year at AA. The Padres picked him up in late January from the Tampa Bay Rays in a multi player trade. His arm is strong enough where it could have value in the Padres bullpen at some point this season.


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