The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The San Diego Padres roster and schedule:
PADRES ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Padres roster to begin the season:
The Padres were one of the most hyped teams going into the 2019 season, but finished with a disappointing 70-92 record, good for last place in the uncompetitive NL West. They will, once again, enter this season with a lot of hype. While the Padres aren’t expected to overtake the Dodgers in the NL West, they should at least contend for the NL Wild Card.
Manny Machado may have a $300 million contract, but the Padres belong to shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. While Machado put up underwhelming numbers in the first year of his mega-deal, Tatis flourished as a rookie, batting .317/.379/.590 before a back injury ended his season early in mid-August. He still finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting. The expectations will be high for Tatis in his sophomore year and if the Padres are to have any success, it will depend largely on his production. Machado shouldn’t be counted out, despite his 109 adjusted OPS coming in well under his average of 129 from 2015-18. Machado and Tatis make for one of baseball’s best infield left sides.
Eric Hosmer has a big contract of his own and he has yet to live up to his price tag in his first two years in San Diego. He has accrued a total of 1.2 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference, since the start of the 2018 season. How much leash will the Padres give Hosmer? If his production isn’t up to snuff in the early going, they could possibly give Wil Myers or Ty France some time at first base.
The Padres’ starting rotation has some legitimate upside. Chris Paddack flashed it at times last year and is now the de facto ace of the rotation. But the arms behind him also have potential, especially Garrett Richards now that he’s healthy. Richards hasn’t crossed 80 innings in a season since 2015. One wonders if the now 32-year-old can flash the same dominance he showed back in 2014 with the Angels when, as a 26-year-old, he posted a 2.61 ERA across 26 starts.
Kirby Yates will lead a potentially dominant bullpen, coming off a season in which he led baseball with 41 saves while posting a microscopic 1.19 ERA. The Padres also added Emilio Pagán in a trade with the Rays. Pagán posted a 2.31 ERA with 20 saves last year. He’ll now set up for Yates. Behind those two are Craig Stammen, Tim Hill, and Drew Pomeranz, an eclectic and experienced group. The bullpen will be the Padres’ rock in this shortened season without a doubt.
The Dodgers are expected to run away with the NL West, but the projected standings from Baseball Prospectus place the Padres very much in the Wild Card hunt. PECOTA sees the Padres going 29-31, which is within two games of the projected second Wild Card leader. Don’t be surprised if the Padres find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.
- July 24-27: vs. Diamondbacks
- July 28-30: @ Giants
- July 31-August 2: @ Rockies
- August 3-5: vs. Dodgers
- August 7-9: vs. Diamondbacks
- August 10-13: @ Dodgers
- August 14-16: @ Diamondbacks
- August 17-18: @ Rangers
- August 21-23: vs. Astros
- August 25-27: vs. Mariners
- August 28-31: @ Rockies
- September 2-3: @ Angels
- September 4-6: @ Athletics
- September 7-9: vs. Rockies
- September 10-13: vs. Giants
- September 14-16: vs. Dodgers
- September 18-20: @ Mariners
- September 22-23: vs. Angels
- SEptember 25-27: @ Giants