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2012 Fantasy outlooks: San Diego Padres

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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After winning the NL West in consecutive seasons in 2005 and 2006, the Padres have become consistent cellar dwellers.

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The Padres haven't been to the playoffs in their first five seasons under manager Bud Black and have finished fourth or worse in the NL West three times. But they are just two seasons removed from a 90-win campaign in 2010, and San Diego would love to become contenders again. It's just that expectations are low heading into 2012.

The Padres were active on the trade market in the offseason. They acquired Carlos Quentin (White Sox), Yonder Alonso (Reds), Edinson Volquez (Reds), Huston Street (Rockies) and Andrew Cashner (Cubs), while shedding Anthony Rizzo, Mat Latos and Simon Castro in the process.

The front office also has a new look as former general manager Jed Hoyer joined Theo Epstein in Chicago, while former Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes replaces Hoyer as GM.

While the newcomers will be on display this spring, there are still a few leftovers from the 71-91 squad from 2011 worth talking about. Center fielder Cameron Maybin finally settled in at the MLB level and his 40 stolen bases were a welcomed addition. Tim Stauffer emerged as a quality starter. When he wasn't injured, Nick Hundley flashed signs that he can be the Padres' top catcher.

Still, the Padres' lineup isn't exactly going to strike fear into the hearts of pitching staffs in 2012, and San Diego's own rotation has to sort itself out, particularly who will emerge as the team's ace in the wake of the Latos trade.

A plus for the Padres is a strong farm system with plenty of burgeoning prospects, but many of them are a year or two away from making an impact.

Bust ... Yonder Alonso, OF

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Alonso's biggest fan is Byrnes, who traded Rizzo to the Cubs to make sure there was no "quarterback controversy" at first base heading into spring training. There is no denying Alonso is a great talent. His college resume, his draft status (seventh overall in 2008) and minor-league numbers prove that. Also, Alonso put together a .943 OPS in 47 games with Cincinnati in 2011. But there are a few issues heading into 2012 we need to highlight before Fantasy owners reach for Alonso on Draft Day. The first being that he is moving to pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Alonso is more of a line-drive hitter, which won't help his power numbers in San Diego. Second, Alonso is just 69 games into his MLB career. Once opposing teams get a better scouting report, the road will almost certainly get tougher for Alonso.

Breakout ... Cory Luebke, SP

You take a look at Luebke's 6-10 record and 3.29 ERA from 2011 and you probably just view him as another middle-of-the-pack arm. But take a closer look at his numbers and Luebke screams breakout. Luebke struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings last season and also posted a 1.07 WHIP. He added nine quality starts and held the opposition to a .218 batting average in his 17 starts. Luebke's struggles surprisingly came at home in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park (4.04 ERA), so if he improves in that area this year, then he will emerge as a reliable Fantasy starter. It's worth noting that Luebke has said he's gotten better at using both sides of the plate thanks to the tutelage of pitching coach Darren Balsley.

Sleeper ... Edinson Volquez, SP

San Diego presents a fresh start for Volquez, who was acquired in the Latos trade. Once the ace in Cincinnati, Volquez hasn't been the same since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009. He is 9-10 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in his last two MLB seasons (32 starts). Volquez has been plagued by control problems since having elbow surgery, but he showed some promise late in 2011 once he came back from his minor-league banishment. Volquez struck out 19 in 23 2/3 innings and held the opposition to a .250 batting average in four September starts. Another reason to be encouraged is that Volquez has a strong history at his new home ballpark, going 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. PETCO Park can also help Volquez as he looks to cut down on his home runs allowed. Volquez was plagued by the long ball in 2011, yielding 1.6 homers per nine innings.

2012 San Diego Padres Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Will Venable RF 1 Tim Stauffer RH
2 Jason Bartlett SS 2 Clayton Richard LH
3 Cameron Maybin CF 3 Edinson Volquez RH
4 Carlos Quentin LF 4 Cory Luebke LH
5 Yonder Alonso 1B 5 Dustin Moseley RH
6 Chase Headley 3B Alt Anthony Bass RH
7 Orlando Hudson 2B
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Nick Hundley C CL Huston Street RH
Top bench options SU Luke Gregerson RH
R Jesus Guzman 1B RP Andrew Cashner RH
R Chris Denorfia OF RP Joe Thatcher LH
R John Baker C RP Ernesto Frieri RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2011 high Destination
1 Yonder Alonso 24 OF Majors Majors
Alonso better be ready to tackle the rigors of being an everyday major leaguer because the lights go on in April.
2 Yasmani Grandal 23 C Triple-A Triple-A
Grandal has excellent plate discipline and should post a favorable batting average and OBP when he arrives in the majors.
3 James Darnell 25 3B Majors Triple-A
Darnell could be heir apparent to Chase Headley at hot corner. The career .302 hitter in minors has 20-HR power.
4 Jedd Gyorko 23 3B Double-A Double-A
Gyorko is likely the long-term option at third for San Diego and has a higher ceiling than Darnell. Had .333-25-114 line last year.
5 Robbie Erlin 21 SP Double-A Triple-A
Erlin keeps hitters off-balance with a smooth delivery and works both sides of plate with outstanding efficiency.
Best of the rest: Rymer Liriano, OF; Casey Kelly, SP; Cory Spangenberg, 2B; Austin Hedges, C; Joseph Wieland, SP; Joe Ross, SP; Keyvius Sampson, SP; Jaff Decker, OF; Bradley Boxberger, RP; Juan Oramas, SP; Donavan Tate, OF; Jonathan Galvez, 2B; Blake Tekotte, OF; Reymond Fuentes, OF; Brad Brach, RP

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @CBSHurc . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Giants option OF Ryan Lollis to Triple-A on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:55 pm ET) Giants outfielder Ryan Lollis was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento prior to Tuesday's game, according to CSN Bay Area. Lollis was hitless in five at-bats during his recent stint with the Giants.

Lollis was sent down to clear room on the roster for Hunter Pence, who returned from the disabled list on Tuesday.


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by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:22 pm ET) Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he expects outfielder Nori Aoki to be ready to return from the disabled list about two weeks following the All-Star break, according to CSN Bay Area. 

Aoki has been on the 15-day DL since June 24 due to a fractured right fibula. It sounds like Aoki could be back with the Giants by the end of July.


Phillies SP Jerome Williams makes Double-A rehab start Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:10 pm ET) Phillies right-hander Jerome Williams made his first rehab start with Double-A Reading on Tuesday. The veteran hurler went 3 1/3 innings, allowing one run (a home run) on three hits. He struck out three and did not issue a walk, throwing 38 of his 58 pitches for strikes.

Williams has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 17 with a hamstring injury. It is not known if Williams will need any additional rehab appearances before returning to the Phillies' rotation.


Phillies' Cesar Hernandez could remain starting second baseman
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:06 pm ET) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that Cesar Hernandez will likely keep the starting second baseman job once Chase Utley returns from the disabled list.

Hernandez has been one of the Phillies' hottest hitters over the last two weeks or so, and is earning high praise from the coaches and front office. Amaro wentas far as to call Hernandez the "team's best second baseman", according to CSN Philadelphia.

Utley, meanwhile, was batting .179 before landing on the DL with an ankle injury. The veteran has struggled all season, and may have seen his starting role vanish.


Marlins' Jeff Baker leaves Tuesday's game with oblique injury
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(7:59 pm ET) Marlins first baseman Jeff Baker left Tuesday's game against the Red Sox after one inning with left oblique pain, according to the Miami Herald

Baker struck out in his only at-bat before being replaced in the bottom of the second inning. Michael Morse moved from left field to first base, with Ichiro Suzuki entering the game in left.

The Marlins have not provided any further updates on Baker's status.


Dodgers SP Brandon Beachy could return Saturday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:30 pm ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday that pitcher Brandon Beachy is a candidate to start Saturday's game against the Brewers, reports MLB.com.

Beachy has not pitched this season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. He has been on a minor-league rehab assignment.


Dustin Pedroia tests hamstring, may return to Red Sox soon
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7:27 pm ET) Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia fielded ground balls and did change of direction drills before Tuesday's game.

The injured hamstring that landed Pedroia on the disabled list passed the pregame test, and the Sox are looking to activate Pedroia in the near future. 

Pedroia is eligible to come off the DL on Friday. The team could activate him for the weekend series or wait until after the All Star Break to give Pedroia extra rest. 

"Pedey’s looking at this, looking at what’s coming up after the weekend, and he’s being realistic about it as well,” manager John Farrell said, per ESPN. “The best way to describe it is that he’ll be out there as soon as he’s ready -- the first day that he’s fully ready."


Mets' Travis d'Arnaud using elbow brace
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:15 pm ET) Mets cather Travis d'Arnaud still needs to use a brace for his injured elbow, reports ESPNNewYork.com. d'Arnaud has been sidelined since June 20 due to a sprained elbow.

Hunter Pence returns to Giants' lineup on Tuesday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7:06 pm ET) Giants right fielder Hunter Pence is in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game.

Pence has missed the last 30 games with a wrist injury. He last played on June 2.

The team waited until after batting practice before making a roster move to activate Pence.  


Buster Posey not in Giants lineup on Tuesday
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(7:04 pm ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey isn't in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game. 

Posey has started 55 games at catcher this season, but he's only gotten the call in four of the last 11. 

Andrew Susac will get the start at catcher for the 26th time. 


 
 
 
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