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“The Mad Professor”: It Never Rains in Southern California. It Pours…

kimbrel shirtESPN_FantasyFootball_Logo_1Fans of the Padres are already waiting eagerly for the release of the 2016 Fantasy Football guides.  The 2016 Padres will offer fans all the excitement of a rebuilding year.  A common theme of virtually every analysis of the Padres over the Winter was that they had made mistakes investing in studs such as Upton.  They were wise to unload Craig Kimbrel for four solid prospects from Boston.

What remains is a team with a respectable core of young starters and a lineup with some solid bats.  But there are holes in this team that will definitely keep it out of contention and fighting to stay out of the basement of the NL West. On the one hand, this means that it will be a frustrating year for all but the most enlightened Padres fans.  On the other, it means that there may be some underpriced talent here for fantasy fans.  Around the horn we go…

052915-MLB-Derek-Norris-LN-PI.vresize.1200.675.high.28 (1)C Derek Norris displayed an impressive increase in production in 2015.  But it is hard to determine whether it was a breakout or simply the result of increased playing time.  In 2015, he had 500 AB.  That’s a testament to his endurance.  But it’s also not necessarily sustainable if one is squatting behind the plate.  If the production increase is for real, he is a threat to hit 15-20 HR.   That is not terrible production from the Catcher position, especially if you can afford to draft your catcher late, and seek power and production elsewhere in your draft.

myers1B Will Myers is blessed with unlimited potential and predictable unreliability.  He’s only 25, but the former uber-prospect continues to be sidelined by injury.  Last year it was early season tendonitis, then surgery. He has power and some decent speed.  He might be worth a late round flyer, either as a bench spot or CI. IF you are lucky, the stars will align and he’ll get enough AB to display the talent that he once seemed to own, and will pay handsome profits.

2B Cory Spangenberg is not a great offensive threat.  He could steal 20 bases for you, but speed is much cheaper than it used to be in the MLB.  Otherwise, he offers pedestrian offense at a position where you need more than pedestrian stats.

Alexei_RamirezSS Alexei Ramirez.  The veteran SS still offers value from the perspective of team leadership, but the 34-year-old’s stats do not lie.  Since 2013, his BA and SB have declined steadily.  Granted, he has shown signs of power with an uptick in power and production, with double digit HR and respectable RBI.   But he’s not in the White Sox lineup anymore.  He’s another late round flier, who you will draft to cover the MI position.  But  his days of being a top tier SS option are behind him.

3B Yangervis Solarte showed good power and a great contact rate (89%).  He’s not likely to deliver more than 20 HR, unless he has a breakout year.  He rates right up there with Will Myers at the opposite corner in that he’s a late round pick who could offer profit on a low bid, but not necessarily real value in terms of production for your fantasy team.

The OF is comprised of John Jay, Matt Kemp and Travis Jankowski.  Jay has cracked 500 AB once in the last five years. He has not been an everyday player.  But in San Diego he will have his chance to become one.  Problem is, he won’t deliver every day quality stats.  Look elsewhere.

Matt Kemp is an outstanding talent who remains a health risk.  In 2012 and 2013 he had 403 and 263 AB, respectively. When he plays a full season, he’s a legitimate 25+-280-100 threat.  He will likely come at a cheap price since he’s no longer with the Dodgers, and his value will suffer the impact of the lesser-valued Padres brand.  Nonetheless, 25 HR is worth a $30 bid. You might be able to get him at a discount.  Bid with guarded confidence.

Travis Jankowsi had 90 AB in 2015. He’s a threat to steal 30 bases if he gets real and regular playing time.  But, despite being a first round prospect, he has no measurable track record in the show.  On the other hand, he may have every opportunity to display his first round talent.    Skip Schumaker retired this Spring.  Rule five pickup, Jabari Blash has displayed power and an ability to draw walks this spring.  There is legitimate sleeper potential here.  But his value depends on how the Padres shuffle the OF deck as they break camp.  If you keep bench spots, he is not a bad late round stash

The Pitching Staff is one sure area of strength on the Padres.  Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields offer a serviceable 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation.  But this staff will not strike Tyson+Ross+San+Diego+Padres+v+Chicago+Cubs+XfmWYzwnM6xlfear in the hearts of opposing batters. Ross has quality stuff and can deliver at least a K per IP.  He does not walk many.  He is not a #1 SP for your pitching staff because San Diego won’t allow him to secure many wins for his work, but his K will definitely help your fantasy roster.  He’s a good #2 SP for you.

Andrew Cashner is not a dominant pitcher.  He might threaten to get you 165 K, but last season’s performance demonstrated an unstable skill set.  He throws at 95 mph.  The skill and power are there.  The performance has yet to show.  He’s a #4 fantasy pitcher at best.

cashner_r620x349James Shields would be a great #3 in the MLB if he had not come with the $75M price tag.  San Diego overpaid for him and they are stuck with him.  He’s a veteran workhorse who can eat innings, but he’s also been a source of trade rumors throughout the Spring.  The rumors have not become reality.  He won’t kill your staff.  But he is no longer the solid #2 fantasy starter he once was.  Do not overbid.

The rest of the potential starting rotation is a stew of unproven or undependable talent.  Drew Pomeranz has shown signs of solid talent, and may be a worthy $1 investment at the end of your drafts.  He’s 27 and has kept a solid K/BB ratio over his career, but he has cracked 100 IP once.  Colin Rea is also unproven and unheralded.  Robbie Erlin fits nicely at the back end of this rotation.  You really do not want to be trawling for your last SP at the back end of the San Diego rotation.

Fernando Rodney was once a solid source of saves and ulcers.  He’s 39 now and will now be a source of ulcers.  Someone has to save games for the Padres and for now, he’s the closer. He’ll get you K’s and also give out a lot of free passes to 1B. Kevin Quackenbush has similar dominance (9.0) and walks fewer batters.  This is a formula for closer by committee.  Quackenbush is younger and potentially more dependable. So, don’t be surprised if he is the sole closer before long.  Padres fans should keep reminding themselves about how much money the team saved in unloading Kimbrel.

The Padres’ real excitement lies in their future.  In return for Craig Kimbrel, they picked up several outstanding prospects in Manuel Margot, Logan Allen, Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaje. Of the four, Margot is closest to being major-league ready.  If he’s playing well in the minors, there’s a good chance he will get some late season PT in the bigs.  The others are all potentially solid players in a future, solid San Diego team.  But they are far from ready for the major leagues.  Overall, there is no doubt that the Kimbrel trade benefitted Boston and San Diego.  The Red Sox got a closer who will have an immediate impact and the Padres unloaded a big salary for at least one solid, young talent. Whether this trade proves to be more than a salary dump remains to be seen.

Overall, the Padres don’t offer much in the way of fantasy profit.  But if it’s a beautiful day in San Diego, you are at the ballpark, and you are a fan of the visiting team, you won’t mind the Padres’ play that much.

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 31st, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #7 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss everything fantasy and MLB related in the N.L. Central.

Our guest this week is Calvin Martin, Jr. Calvin is the commissioner of Major League Fantasy Baseball 3 and solid contender in our leagues.

Come join a lively debate!

Unrepentant Red Sox fan and all things Boston. Deflategate was a joke. Boston Latin School is awesome. Harvard and Johns Hopkins alma maters... Besides that... Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University. Wrote for Ron Shandler's Shandler Park for two summers and have been on board with MLFS since 2011. Been at Washington and Lee since 1990 with a brief hiatus (2010-2013) in the Middle East. Currently developing that last word in Fantasy Baseball analysis. Married to Flor, Dad to William and Alex, and adopted daughter Reem. Soon to be father and law to Meaghann. Alpha male to the world's super-pup, Humphrey. Life is not bad.

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