The Padres were a very chic pick in the NL West last season, but they fell a bit shy in their quest for a postseason berth. The addition of Woody Williams will bolster an already strong clubhouse and manager Bruce Bochy always gets the most out of his players. While there isn't a clear cut superstar on the roster (sorry Brian Giles and Trevor Hoffman), the Padres players will put up solid numbers.
Worth Every Penny
Being that the Padres play 81 games in a pitchers park, you have to look to the mound for their best player. Jake Peavy is 23 years old and already has a major league ERA title. He missed all of June with a forearm ligament problem, but bounced back with a great second half in which he was tied for fourth in the majors with 10 wins. The Padres look to be one of the better teams in the division, and given a full complement of starts, Peavy could crack the 20 win mark and be among the strikeout leaders.
About To Blossom
Khalil Greene shined more in the field than at the plate as a rookie, but his 15 home runs, 65 RBIs and .273 average was the best offensive season for a Padres shortstop since the team was founded in 1969. He's very quick to learn and has been successful on every level, dating back to his days as the Golden Spikes Award winner at Clemson. It won't be this season, but in two or three years, Greene will be considered the best shortstop in the NL.
A few years ago it finally hit me ... Sean Burroughs may share genes with Jeff Burroughs, but he got his mom's power stroke. A spray hitter, Burroughs occupies a position that is traditionally reserved for run producers. His numbers just aren't that good. That's not to say he's not a fine baseball player, but he's among the worst fantasy players to have on your team.
Do You Feel Lucky?
Three years removed from Tommy John Surgery, Adam Eaton is the wild card in the Padres rotation. Featuring a mid-90s fastball with an array of breaking pitches, Eaton has the repertoire to be a big winner. It just hasn't happened for him yet as his 11 wins in 2004 were a career high. Take a chance on him figuring it all out this season and winning 14-17 games.
Dave Roberts is going to run a lot this year as the Padres move to more of a speed approach to best utilize Petco Park's homefield advantage. Another player who is sure to run is utilityman Eric Young. A second baseman by trade for most of his 13 seasons, Young has played short and the outfield in the last couple of years. With projected fourth outfielder Freddy Guzman sidelined indefinitely, Young will get his share of time in center field. While he won't be an everyday player, he will have enough at-bats in the NL to steal 15 to 20 bases. A great $1 pick.
If Something Should Happen To Trevor Hoffman
Akinori Otsuka's funky delivery baffled hitters all season and he led the NL in holds after saving 137 games in seven Japanese seasons. Although he's so effective as a set-up man that the Padres would be hesitant to remove him from that role, they'd break down and install him.
Don't Forget About
Mark Loretta, Williams, Brian Lawrence
Don't Bother With
Xavier Nady, Freddy Guzman, Mark Sweeney
David Sabino is the associate editor in charge of statistics at Sports Illustrated and the author of the book, Dominate Your Fantasy Baseball League (Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade).