Thursday, March 20, 2008

2008 regular season right around the corner

Padre fans, get excited. We're just inside 2 weeks from the start of the regular season and another season of San Diego Padres baseball.

The starting rotation is set with the exception of the #5 spot, though Justin Germano seems like the favorite to land there. The good news is, the Padres still have Clay Hensley and Mark Prior who are likely to make their debuts in the first part of May.

The left field battle seems more competitive than even the Padres' themselves expected. Scott Hairston, Chase Headley, Jody Gerut and Callix Crabbe not to mention Paul McAnulty are all making their arguments for a spot on the team. Hairston is a lock to be on this team when the season opens, Headley has played out of his mind even surprising people defensively in left but I expect he'll probably start the season in AAA Portland. Callix Crabbe is a Rule 5 draftee and has lived up to expectations and scouting reports. He can play all 3 outfield positions and fill in in the infield if necessary so he gives the Padres another versatile player. Lastly, Jody Gerut has shown flashes of power as well as gap to gap hitting all spring, showing that he may just make this team out of spring training.

It's looking more and more like Josh Bard and Michael Barrett will split more time behind the plate than they did during the 2007 season, which might bode well for both. Bard may have tired a little bit last season because he was the every day catcher until Barrett came on board. With both splitting time, look for both to have great years offensively.

Lastly, I think the bullpen has yet to be decided. Players like Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell and Cla Meredith have their spots assured, but who will fill out the rest of the bullpen that was among the best in baseball in 2007. Kevin Cameron and Justin Hampson are still recovering from injuries, so both of those players are far from automatics. If I had my guesses, I'd say probably Wil Ledezma, Joe Thatcher and Carlos Guevara are probably three that will probably get bullpen spots in 2008.

Out of the new additions to the Padres for 2008, here's my prediction for who has the biggest year and biggest impact for San Diego. I'm really excited about Jody Gerut and Callix Crabbe because it gives them speed and additional pop off the bench and they don't lose much defensively. Tadahito Iguchi gives them much better defense at 2nd base and a steady name instead of using a platoon like the Padres had to do last season. Jim Edmonds, if he can stay healthy, and that's a HUGE if, he gives them huge power in the middle of the lineup and protection for Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff, not to mention hitting in front of Khalil Greene. But, the one guy that is going to make the biggest impact for this team is former DBack Tony Clark. He gives the Padres a great option to backup Adrian Gonzalez at 1st base, both offensively and with the glove. He's one of those guys you don't want to see going to the plate late in the game if you're a pitcher. He's going to be one of the more underrated moves this offseason and will make a HUGE impact on the San Diego Padres.

No comments: