We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Padres Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Darklighter from Gaslamp Ball.
1) Cameron Maybin was derailed by injuries to his wrist and knee in 2013. The Padres showed faith in the young centerfielder with a 5-year contract back in 2012. If healthy, what can fantasy players expect out of a full season of at-bats from Maybin, who turns just 27 this April?
You couldn’t have started with an easier question? Maybin might be the single biggest question mark on the Padres’ roster right now. He really struggled in the first half of 2012, but salvaged the season with a solid second half. After missing almost all of last season, bad Cameron Maybin seems more likely to show up than good Cameron Maybin. His defense was great regardless, and I’d expect him to flash some leather again this year despite the knee troubles. His bat means he’ll likely go pretty late in your draft, but I think there’s enough upside with his defense alone to make him worth the pickup. If he gets his bat going, too? You’ll look brilliant.
2) In his rookie season, Jedd Gyorko was second only to Robinson Cano among second basemen with 23 home runs. Even more impressive was that 13 of his homers came at PetCo. Grey has tagged him as a sleeper this year. What should fantasy owners expect from Gyorko in his sophomore season now that he has flashed some of his power?
His first career triple. No, seriously, I think what everyone would like to see out of Gyorko this season is some improved plate discipline. He struck out a lot, but barely walked. Laying off some bad pitches might mean fewer homers in the short term, but in the long run, it’s what he needs to do to be truly exceptional.
3) Andrew Cashner joined the Padres’ rotation in 2013 and pitched quite well. With a K/9 of 6.6, a BB/9 under 3, and a GB% over 50%, he looks like a nice option for my fantasy rotation this year. Do you see him taking another step forward in 2014?
Absolutely. What everybody talked about when Cashner debuted with the Padres was his fastball. And why wouldn’t they? He can throw heaters in the triple digits! But what I think shows that Cashner knows what he’s doing is that he reined it in when he moved from the bullpen to the rotation. He’s moderated himself well enough to pitch deep into the game on a regular basis. The shining example of this is obviously his September 16th start against the Pirates. With only 97 pitches, he flirted with a perfect game, retiring the minimum 27 batters in his complete game shutout. No Padre has ever thrown a no-hitter, but it’s looking like Cashner might be the one. You definitely want him on your team.
4) Everth Cabrera stole 37 bags in just 95 games before his suspension last year. He’s yet to play more than 115 games in the majors. Let’s set the over/under at 55 steals for 2014. What’s your bet and why?
I’ll take the over, hands down. Cabrera led the league in steals in 2012, taking 44 bags in just 115 games. That could have been a fluke, but when you put it next to his performance last season, it’s clear that he’s one of the most talented runners in the game right now. Barring injury, I’d expect him to play 150+ games and steal 60 bases.
Kyle Blanks. I know he looks like a gentle giant, and his injury history suggests that he might be a bit fragile, but have you seen him run? Take a look at the inside the park homer he hit in 2009. When the 88 Train is coming down the tracks, the best thing to do is get out of the way.