Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and the 71-91 San Diego Padres were just that. Baseball-reference.com’s pythagorean winning percentage shows exactly how lucky they were with a projected record of 59-103 on the 2017 season.
Despite being the worst offensive and fielding team in Major League Baseball, the Padres managed a 43-38 record at Petco Park. This, of course, came at the cost of a 28-53 record on the road. Final record aside, the Padres looked somewhat like a .500 ball club with their longest winning and losing streaks both tallying up to five apiece, then ended up on both sides of a shutout 12 times on the season. The glaring difference for this team came in the form of 36 blowout and nine walkoff losses.
To say this offense is anemic might be generous. The Padres were the only team in MLB to fail to reach 6,000 plate appearances on the season. This means that they’re not extending games by getting base hits or drawing walks. The Padres ranked last in the National League in runners left on base, walks and doubles. Thought that was bad? They were dead last in the bigs in runs scored, hits, RBIs, batting average and on-base percentage. On the bright side, the Padres were the only team in MLB that didn’t ground into at least 100 double plays. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
In the field, San Diego can only go up as it tied the Milwaukee Brewers for last and 14th in the NL in fielding percentage and errors committed, respectively. The defense essentially sabotaged any chance the Padres had at winning games with 74 unearned runs on the season. The pitching staff did the best it could to keep things somewhat close with a 4.67 staff ERA and 2.39 strikeouts per walk, but still allowed the second most homers in the NL.
To start scratching their way out of the cellar of the NL West, the Padres are going to need a lot of work. Two-way players are a good place to start. Shortstop Zack Cozart is an excellent start for San Diego with shortstop Erick Aybar now a free agent. Cozart was an All-Star in 2017 behind 24 homers and a .294 batting average. He also played to a .975 fielding percentage with just 11 errors.
The highlight moment of the season for the Padres came in the form of Wil Myers‘ cycle April 10. It was calculated that his homer only leaves the ballpark 39 percent of the time. Call it luck, call it what you will, but it essentially sums up the Padres’ season.