5 Things to Watch For as the Padres Season Winds Down

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: MLB.com

How Future Rotation Pieces Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo Finish

Dinelson Lamet has looked pretty good lately and has been relatively solid in his first year. He is 7-7 with a 4.15 ERA and 128 strikeouts. He has a 3.00 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 11 starts since the MLB all-star break. He has thrown six innings in four straight starts. Lamet has 23 strikeouts and nine walks in three September starts so far.

Luis Perdomo is 7-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 90 ERA+. He has his share of clunkers (six starts with at least five earned runs). However, he has allowed three or fewer in four straight starts. He has a great shot at being a part of the 2018 rotation. At 24, he still has some growing to do. Lamet seems a bit more polished than Perdomo. If Perdomo can finish strong, perhaps it can give him confidence to become a reliable arm on next year’s staff.

A Few Key Padres Are Playing Their Last Games in a San Diego Uniform

The trade deadline was a whirlwind. But not for the Padres. Brad Hand and Yangervis Solarte, among others, stayed put in San Diego. How long will that last? Both have endeared themselves to Padres fans. Solarte seems to be the heart and soul of this 2017 club. With all the personal issues he has worked through, he is performing at a pretty high level and it has been fun to watch. He very well could be traded during this offseason. He has set a career high with 17 home runs. For a month or so, he even played a solid shortstop in the absence of Erick Aybar (+1 Defensive Runs Saved). His value has never been higher. We could be watching Solarte, who has played 432 games for the Padres to date, in his final days as a Friar.

Hand was almost guaranteed to be dealt during the deadline. The Padres front office didn’t like the possible returns and decided to hoard him for the remainder of this season. His value has not decreased much, if at all. He has 18 saves this season and his second half ERA is exactly what it was in the first half, at 2.30. He has had a couple of hiccups in September, but that should not deter teams from seeking after him heavily this offseason. Enjoy watching him as a Padre while it lasts.

Key Position Battles For 2018

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Think of the next few weeks as an early “spring training.” There are some positions up for grabs, and lots of young players have stepped up to the challenge. It would be a crime to not mention Jose Pirela in this article. All he has done since being called up in June is rake, hitting .288 with a 122 OPS+ (22% better than the average hitter). One would think he is the favorite to start the 2018 season in left field.

Right field seems to still be Hunter Renfroe‘s to lose unless an offseason acquisition is made. He just needs to show some progress from his time down in El Paso. However, Matt Szczur doesn’t seem to want to go away. He is hitting .250 with four doubles in September. He is at least auditioning for the “fourth” outfield spot next season. He will get some stiff competition from the likes of Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski.

Assuming Solarte is indeed traded, third base is wide open. Cory Spangenberg has had a breakout year, setting career highs in home runs (13), RBI (46), hits (108), and stolen bases (11). He has tapered off some in September, but he has shown flashes of why he was drafted 10th overall in 2011. He has played 90 games at third this  year, but leaves much to be desired defensively with -14 Defensive Runs Saved.

He will get pushed by Ryan Schimpf, if he can cut down on the strikeouts and get on base more. Schimpf played 50 games at the hot corner earlier this season. The power is certainly there, but he needs to fine-tune his craft at the plate. At the moment, he is a one-trick pony.

Carlos Asuaje seems to be playing himself into the everyday role at second base for now. He is hitting .276 with 13 doubles in 76 games. He also is on the positive side defensively with +1 Defensive Runs Saved.

Realistically, the other only positions that seem set for 2018 are catcher (Austin Hedges), first base (Wil Myers), and center field (Manuel Margot).

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

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