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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
Ricco: Jenrry Mejia could be back with Mets once suspension ends
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) The Mets seem to be softening their stance in regards to the return of suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia, who is serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

After general manager Sandy Alderson said in mid-April that Mejia wasn't guaranteed a roster spot when his suspension ended, assistant general manager John Ricco told the New York Post that the team is hopeful the right-hander will be able to pitch in the majors when eligible to return. Mejia can return from his suspension July 7 against the Giants, barring any rainouts.

Mejia is allowed to pitch in the minors before his suspension ends. He is currently throwing at the team's academy in the Dominican Republic. Ricco said the plan is for Mejia to report to the team's spring facility in Florida in early June and have him begin pitching for their affiliates around the third week of June.

Mejia began the season as the Mets closer, but he never made an appearance as he dealt with an elbow injury. He was then suspended on April 11. Mejia likely won't return to the closer's role upon activation.


A's RF Josh Reddick hitting seventh against lefty on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:10 pm ET) With the Athletics facing a lefty on Thursday, right fielder Josh Reddick will slide down to the seventh spot in the batting order against the Yankees. This will be the lowest Reddick has batted this season.

While overall Reddick has been very productive at the plate, he has struggled against southpaws. Reddick has just one hit in six at-bats (a triple) against left-handers this year. 

He had been batting third for most of the season, but Ben Zobrist has occupied that spot each of the last three games since returning from the disabled list. 


Sprained thumb lands Red Sox OF Daniel Nava on DL
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:00 pm ET) The placement of Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava on the disabled list Thursday was due to a sprained thumb, Comcast Sports Net has reported. He has been playing through the injury for a while.

Nava has been sliding since a fine 2013. His numbers dipped a year ago, but have fallen even more this season. He owns a slash line of .159/.190/.250.


Rays SP Matt Moore OK after getting hit in chest by line drive
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:59 pm ET) Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore was hit in the chest by a line drive during an extended spring game Thursday. However, Moore appeared to dodge a serious injury.

WINK TV in Fort Myers, Fla., posted a Vine of Moore getting hit by the comebacker.

Moore, who is coming off Tommy John surgery last year, was making his second extended spring start Thursday.


Rangers SP Matt Harrison strikes out nine in extended spring
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(4:56 pm ET) Rangers starter Matt Harrison pitched in an extended spring training game on Thursday. He went five innings and struck out nine, throwing 77 pitches on the afternoon.

Harrison, who is on the disabled list with a back injury, will throw a bullpen session at Globe Life Park in Arlington, according to the Dallas Morning News. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment next week.


White Sox OF J.B. Shuck has two singles, two SBs vs. Orioles
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:46 pm ET) White Sox outfielder J.B. Shuck singled twice in four at-bats and stole two bases during a 3-2 win in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. He also had one run.

Shuck, who has seen more playing time lately due to Avisail Garcia's knee injury, has two hits in three straight games. He is batting .409 (9 for 22) with three stolen bases in his last seven games (five starts).


White Sox add RHP Chris Beck from Triple-A, option Scott Carroll
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(4:40 pm ET) The White Sox have called up right-hander Chris Beck from Triple-A, who will start the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. Beck was a second-round pick by the White Sox in the 2012 draft.

He has made eight starts with Triple-A Charlotte this season, going 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA. 

Fellow righty Scott Carroll was sent down to Triple-A in a corresponding move. 


Report: Nationals OF Jayson Werth likely out until August
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(4:32 pm ET) Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who is on the disabled list with a wrist injury, had a CT scan on his left wrist. The results showed two small fractures. Werth, who has been on the 15-day DL since May 19, is likely out until at least August, a source told The Washington Post

Werth has only played in 27 games this season, after missing the first week with a shoulder injury. 

Michael Taylor will likely continue to get the majority of the playing time in left field while Werth is out, though the team could look for help from outside the organization as well. 


White Sox OF Avisail Garcia unable to start in doubleheader
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:32 pm ET) As expected, White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia did not return to the starting lineup for the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. He missed a fourth straight game due to a knee injury.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before the first game that it was unlikely Garcia would start Thursday due to lingering right knee inflammation. He has started just twice in the last eight games.


Red Sox rookie OF Rusney Castillo set to play Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:27 pm ET) Red Sox rookie outfielder Rusney Castillo is ready to roll Thursday night in Texas. He has been dealing with a shoulder issue that prevented him from playing Wednesday, but he will start in right and bat ninth.

The promising rookie is 3-for-15 since his promotion to the big leagues.


 
 
 
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