San Diego Padres Season Preview 2020

San Diego Padres

Whether it’s the new uniforms or new manager Jayce Tingler, the San Diego Padres hope to move out of the basement of the NL West in the 2020 season. However, the 2019 Padres will look very similar to the 2020 team. After the big free agency splashes over the last couple of seasons, the Padres will look to their crop of young players to carry them forward. The following preview highlights the Padres make up for the 2020 season as fans hope to see the end of their postseason drought.

2020 Offseason Overview

Changes to the Padres leadership started before the end of the 2019 season. Manager Andy Green was fired after amassing a 274-366 record over three seasons. In his place, the Padres turned to Tingler. Tingler spent the last 12 years working in the Texas Rangers organization covering player development and minor league coaching. The Padres hope Tingler will bring his analytics knowledge in player development and personable reputation to connect with players.

Outside of the change of leadership in the dugout, the Padres experienced a quiet but game-changing winter. In the past two seasons, the team spent $144 million dollars signing Eric Hosmer and $300 million dollars signing Manny Machado. However, the team made several vital moves during the winter. They acquired Tommy Pham from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Hunter Renfroe and a swap of prospects. The team also added Trent Grisham and Zach Davies.

For pitching, the Padres traded Manuel Margot and Logan Driscoll for Emilio Pagan. Pagan finished last season as the Rays closer, raking up 20 saves with 96 strikeouts over 70 innings. Additionally, they signed Drew Pomeranz to return to the team. Pomeranz originally came to San Diego via trade from Oakland prior to the 2016 season only to get traded the following season at the All-Star break.

2020 Padres Offensive Preview

The 2020 Padres lineup continues to feature their big-name signings, including Hosmer, Machado, and Wil Meyers. However, the lightning rod of the Padres has been Fernando Tatis Jr. Despite an injury limiting Tatis’ appearances to 84 games, he led the Padres in WAR and OBP. Machado posted moderate numbers hitting for 32 home runs, but only a .796 OPS (one of the lowest in his career). He will look to improve in 2020 after adjusting to playing in a new ballpark.

Adding both Grisham and Pham will increase the offense. Both players come in with an OBP higher than the 2018 .308 team average. The bigger concern comes from the production of two other top-earning players: Meyers and Hosmer. Collectively, the two players WAR stood at 0.4 and -0.5, respectively. Both players held career-high strikeout percentages with Meyers at 34.4 percent and 24.4 percent for Hosmer. The Padres success may hinge on more production out of these two players that make up over 31 percent of the total payroll.

If not, the Padres may turn to younger players. Josh Naylor stands to see some of the action as the team’s DH after posting a .719 OPS in 2019. Also, Greg Garcia hit for a .718 OPS netting a 1.4 WAR in 372 plate appearances.

Padres 2020 Defense Preview

The Padres maintain a strong fielding core with Machado, Tatis, and Hosmer at key infield positions. The new additions of Pham and Grisham will join Meyers in the outfield providing more stability than last year. Jurickson Profar should get the start at second base with Garcia filling in as needed after the team traded Luis Urias.

One of the biggest decisions for Tingler will come with the catcher position. There is no question that Austin Hedges is a league-leading defensive catcher. However, his abysmal offensive performance yielding a .252 OBP and .176 BA draws questions about his viability on the lineup. Francisco Mejia offers a lot of offensive potential with a .754 OPS with 22 RBI in 79 plate appearances. However, he does not offer the same support behind the plate as Hedges. Likely, Tingler will stick with Hedges behind the plate with the young pitching core and use Mejia as a DH.

Padres 2020 Pitching Preview


Starting pitching was a challenge for the Padres in 2019 as they ranked in the bottom half of the league. However, the team will receive more help from the addition of Davies. In 31 games he held a 3.55 ERA with a 1.290 WHIP. He joins another young gun in Chris Paddack, who posted a 0.981 WHIP (the lowest in club history) and 2.4 WAR in his first season.

All eyes will be on whether (or when)’s top-pitching prospect Mckenzie Gore will break into the rotation. According to Sports Illustrated, Gore topped the minor leagues among pitchers in performance posting a 1.69 ERA and 12.03 K/9. Gore finished the season in Double-A ball. Bringing him to the big leagues in only his third year in the Padres system may be a tall order.

Additionally, the Padres look forward to seeing contribution from Dinelson Lamet and Garrett Richards both returning to the rotation after Tommy John surgery. Lamet showed promise in 2017 with 27 starts and a 10.94 K/9 and 1.4 WAR. Richards showed great potential during his years with the Los Angeles Angels but struggled to stay healthy. The short seasons should provide him an opportunity to make an impact for the Padres.


One of the strengths of the Padres lies in their bullpen. They ranked sixth overall in 2019. The additions of Pomeranz and Pagan makes them the best relief group in the National League. Also, the team acquired lefty Tim Hill from the Kansas City Royals this past Thursday in exchange Franchy Cordero and Ronald Bolanos.

Closer Kirby Yates leads the corps as the closer with an MLB-best 41 saves and 1.19 ERA, earning himself a spot on the All-Star squad as the only Padres representative. Matt Strahm, Andres Munoz, and Craig Stammen each posted an ERA under 4.00 with over 20 innings pitched. Lastly, Cal Quantrill showed strong signs of growth last season, and the team hopes that it continues into 2020.

Padres 2020 Season Bottomline

For a team that finished 70-92 last season, the Padres would have to make a big jump for a postseason run. Still, some pick the Padres as their surprise 2020 playoff team with the shortened 60-game format. Probably a more reasonable expectation would be a third-place finish and cracking the .500 mark.

As with every other team, discipline will be a key consideration in adhering to the COVID-19 protocols. Given the unconventional offseason, Tingler will have his hands full in his first season as an MLB manager. Still, fans have plenty to look forward to watching Tatis Jr., who continues to amaze fans with his plays on both sides of the ball.

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