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2013 Fantasy outlooks: San Diego Padres

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The biggest offseason move made by the San Diego Padres? Bringing in the fences at PETCO Park, a decision that should inject a little more pop to the power-starved Padres, who finished with the third-fewest home runs in baseball last season. A good deal of this 2013 power production rests on the shoulders of Chase Headley, the team's third baseman. Headley fulfilled years of potential in 2012, hitting a career high 31 home runs in 604 at-bats. But this power surge came somewhat unexpectedly -- after many Fantasy owners had given up on Headley ever developing a big bat. In an injury-shortened 2011, Headley had just four home runs in 381 at-bats. And his previous career high was 12, despite getting more than 540 at-bats twice in prior years. Was 2012 a fluke? Or was it a breakout season at age 28?

Headley had flexed power in the minors before joining the Padres, but he produced a curious set of stats in 2012 -- his ground ball rate was the highest of his career and his home run-to-fly-ball ratio took an unbelievable leap to 21.4 percent (per Fangraphs.com), meaning one of every five fly balls Headley hit was a home run. And he wasn't hitting fly balls very often. Headley's highest HR/FB rate before 2012 was 10.7 percent. This all seems to set Headley up for a heavy correction in 2013, but the fences being moved in may help mask the regression in power.

While Headley's power may take a dip, outfielder Carlos Quentin -- who had his 2012 decimated by knee issues -- should be a nice sleeper candidate for 2013 (see below). The team won't be short on speed, either, led by Everth Cabrera, who stole a National League-leading 44 bases last year despite getting just 398 at-bats. The Padres were second in baseball in steals last year, with Cameron Maybin (26 stolen bases), Will Venable (24) and Headley (17) complementing Cabrera's basepath prowess. Even pitcher Anthony Bass stole a base.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

On the pitching side of things, the Padres have a long list of could-go-either-way starters, let by Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard, who combined to win 25 games in 2012. Volquez led the league with 105 walks, but still struck out about a batter per inning, while Richard kept his walks low but came nowhere near Volquez's level of strikeouts. Both pitchers enjoyed favorable home/road splits, as Volquez sported a 2.95 ERA with three home runs allowed at home and 5.60 ERA with 11 home runs on the road, while Richard had a 3.02 ERA and 10 home runs at home and 4.74 ERA and 21 home runs on the road. With the cozy confines of PETCO becoming a little less cozy for pitchers this season, both Volquez and Richard could see their numbers rise (although probably nothing drastic).

The bullpen features one of baseball's most underrated closers in Huston Street. While always a candidate to lose some games to injury, Street still managed a 1.85 ERA and 0.72 WHIP last year, along with 23 saves, in 40 games. More importantly, the closer role in San Diego has been a virtual lock for 40 saves, dating back to the mid-1990s, when Trevor Hoffman would regularly record 40 or more. Heath Bell continued the trend for the next three years and Street led a bullpen that hit 40 saves total last year. A healthy Street is a really solid late-round addition to Fantasy bullpens.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Everth Cabrera SS
2. Logan Forsythe 2B
3. Chase Headley 3B
4. Carlos Quentin LF
5. Yonder Alonso 1B
6. Will Venable RF
7. Cameron Maybin CF
8. Nick Hundley C
Bench Chris Denorfia OF
Bench Alexi Amarista IF
Bench Jesus Guzman OF/IF

In suspension news, keep in mind while drafting that catcher Yasmani Grandal will miss the first 50 games of the season after testing positive for PEDs. Nick Hundley should handle catching duties while Grandal sits.

Sleeper ... Carlos Quentin, outfielder

Quentin has become a sort of forgotten man for the Padres. In 86 games last year, he hit 16 home runs and managed an .877 OPS -- the second-highest OPS of his career. And this was while he was returning from knee surgery and then battling issues that arose throughout the season with the same knee. But with Quentin looking like he's healthy heading into 2013, we could see a power-hitting renaissance from the 30-year-old. Quentin has never seen 500 at-bats in a season, but has put up campaigns of 36, 21, 26 and 24 home runs. He's also a threat to hit 30 doubles. His average, which could float anywhere between .250 and .270, is nothing to get excited about, but he should pop up in games with a good amount of runners to drive in. For a late-round pick, Quentin could return a lot of value to a Fantasy owner willing to take an optimistic view on his health.

Deep sleeper ... Andrew Cashner, starting pitcher

Thanks to an unfortunate hunting accident in the offseason, Cashner may not be ready to go at the start of the year. But when he does, he has a few Fantasy elements working in his favor. First, in points leagues, Cashner will have relief pitcher eligibility, meaning owners who may have missed out on Kris Medlen or Aroldis Chapman could still snag Cashner late as a consolation prize. And second, although his 4.27 ERA and 1.32 WHIP from last year don't exactly look stellar, Cashner missed time and probably returned too early from a strained lat, eventually having to be shut down late in the season. He will enter 2013 -- at some point, possibly as early as mid-April -- as a starter. With some really stellar minor league numbers behind him (a 2.76 ERA, 1.19 WHIP over 205 1/3 minor league innings, mostly as a starter), Cashner could be an absolute steal in NL-only drafts. Beware of him later in the year, though, as Cashner has yet to eclipse 120 innings in a season and will likely have some kind of cap.

Points league gem ... Yonder Alonso, first baseman

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Edinson Volquez RHP
2. Clayton Richard LHP
3. Jason Marquis RHP
4. Freddy Garcia RHP
5. Andrew Cashner RHP
ALT Eric Stults LHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Huston Street RHP
2. Luke Gregerson RHP
3. Dale Thayer RHP
4. Joe Thatcher LHP
5. Anthony Bass RHP

Here's a fun fact about Yonder Alonso: he finished 16th in MLB with 39 doubles last year (good for eighth in the National League). Alonso also hit nine home runs, batted .273 and stole three bases. Granted, he struck out 101 times, which is never fun for points-leaguers, but he somewhat offset those with 62 walks. His strikeouts weren't even in the top 50 of NL batters -- his walks had him 19th. Alonso can go one of two ways in 2013. He can either continue to be an Alex Gordon-style doubles machine, improving on his rookie season and hitting 45 or so doubles while maintaining a nice average; or he can build on his 2012 and turn some of those doubles into home runs (as he did show some nice power flashes in the minors as a prospect coming up with Cincinnati). A hybrid of the two scenarios is definitely possible, but the point here is that Alonso had a very nice table-setting rookie year in 2012 and there's no real reason to think he will falter, outside of some subjective gut feeling that he will fall victim to a sophomore slump.

Prospects Report

The most tantalizing prospect in the stacked San Diego system is Jedd Gyorko, a 24-year-old power hitter who can play second or third base. Gyorko has a .319 career minor league average with 55 home runs in the last two seasons, split across three levels. There's a chance Gyorko can make the team out of spring training as a second baseman, which would move either Everth Cabrera or Logan Forsythe to the bench. A more likely scenario, however, would be San Diego falling out of contention near the end of July and the team trading Chase Headley to make room for Gyorko at third base. In either case, Gyorko is worth a late stash in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues. ... Baseball America considers pitcher Casey Kelly the top Padres prospect. Kelly had a 6.21 ERA in six starts for the team last year, but this was after missing three months with a strained elbow ligament. The 23-year-old has great control, doesn't issue a ton of walks and could turn out to be a fairly decent strikeout pitcher. He could be in the rotation by mid-season in 2013. ... Rymer Liriano has some impressive speed and could develop into a nice power hitter. Still just 21, the outfielder has at least another year of minor league seasoning before he shows up in San Diego…

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

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Player News
Report: Angels' Hamilton likely to receive suspension
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2:05 am ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will likely be suspended for at least 25 games, according to FoxSports.com.

Hamilton met with Major League Baseball on Wednesday for a disciplinary hearing. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported that Hamilton experienced a drug relapse a few months ago, and confessed that relapse to MLB. 

This is technically Hamilton's second violation as a major-leaguer. Hamilton was on the Rays 40-man roster during his first suspension, making him a major-league player. Typically, players who violate their drug treatment program for the first time are subject to a 15-25 game suspension. Given that this is Hamilton's second violation of his drug treatment program, it's unclear how severe the punishment will be.

With that said, commissioner Rob Manfred is reportedly trying to be lenient with any punishment. The league has a "favorable view of Hamilton's efforts to remain sober." Since his return to the majors, Hamilton has spoken honestly about his struggles with addition.

On top of that, Manfred is concerned about making the punishment too harsh. Hamilton's past relaspes have come when he's been away from the game. Manfred reportedly is not close to making a final decision on Hamilton's punishment at this time. 

Hamilton was already expected to miss the beginning of the season due to a shoulder surgery. It's unclear how much longer he'll be out due to a suspension.


Angels, Huston Street haven't talked extension yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) The Angels and closer Huston Street have not talked about an extension yet, according to MLB.com.

Both sides are reportedly interested in a deal, but Street wanted to wait a week in order to settle in to camp. Once that happens, the two sides are expected to start negotiating a new deal. Street is entering the final year of his contract, and will make $7 million in 2015.

Street, 31, posted a 1.37 ERA over 59 1/3 innings last year.


Phillies' Ryan Howard working on his swing
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(12:20 am ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is working on his swing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Howard has spent time working with Charlie Manuel during camp. Manuel was brought in as spring training hitting instructor. Manager Ryan Sandberg has noticed the change in Howard's approach already. "As far as making some adjustments there, to really zone in to something that can really be productive for him and a little bit more consistent," Sandberg said. "I think there has been a little tweaking going on there."

Howard apparently has looked different at the plate. His stance has been described as "looser" and his hands are much lower when he starts his swing. 

The 35-year-old hit .223/.310/.380 over 569 at-bats last year. 


Dodgers unsure how Grandal, Ellis will split time
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Dodgers aren't sure how they'll platoon their two catchers, according to the Orange County Register.

A.J. Ellis has been the team's primary option the past few seasons, but the club brought in Yasmani Grandal during the offseason. While Grandal has a much higher offensive upside, it's unclear how much he'll play once the regular season begins. 

"There’s nothing going to come out of this camp where we’re going to say, ‘OK, this guy is going to start 72 percent of the time’" general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It’s going to be much more about Donnie (Mattingly) writing the lineup each and every day for what gives us the best chance to win that day."

Mattingly admitted that Grandal has "tremendous upside offensively," so it's possible he could lead that way more often. While Mattingly has indicated that he doesn't want to assign any personal catchers yet, there's a sense Ellis could be used when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. 

Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 over 377 at-bats last year. Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 over 283 at-bats. 


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(2/26/2015) The Giants have signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a minor-league deal, according to the PCL transactions page.

Cedeno, 32, spent most of the year in the minors. He hit .313/.368/.431 over 281 at-bats in Triple-A. Cedeno received nine at-bats with the Phillies, but failed to record a hit. 


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(2/26/2015) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is glad to have a full-time role heading into 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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"Just not having to worry about stuff out of my control. I've put myself in this position where I've earned the job, I've shown them what I can do, and now it's about consistently doing it," he added. 

Manager Ron Roenicke has already said he'll give Gennett plenty of opportunities to prove himself against left-handers. 

Gennett, 24, hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last season. 


Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara will play all over the place
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Cubs utility man Arismendy Alcantara is going to play a lot of positions this season, according to ESPN.

Alcantara saw time in center last season, but the team's trade for Dexter Fowler will alter his role. Alcantara says he's ready for the challenge. "Mentally you have to be ready for that," Alcantara said. "They want me to play second base and the outfield." He's also expected to see some time at third base. 

Manager Joe Maddon is glad to have such a versatile player on the team. "When you get a guy like that and you want to give someone a rest, you don't feel like you're losing anything," Joe Maddon said. "And the big attraction there is also in-game. It's like having an extra guy on the bench."

The 23-year-old Alcantara hit .205/.254/.367 over 278 at-bats last year. 


Rockies ask Corey Dickerson to be more patient
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Rockies want Corey Dickerson to be a little more patient at the plate, according to MLB.com.

Dickerson had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .312/.364/.567 over 436 at-bats. He walked in 7.7 percent of his plate appearances, which was actually just above the league average. Still, the team wants Dickerson to be slightly less of a free-swinging this year.

"I talked to Corey about adding this much discipline to his game," manager Walt Weiss said. "We don't want that much, because then he wouldn't be Corey Dickerson." Weiss explained that it's difficult to deliver this type of message, as Dickerson's aggressiveness makes him effective. 

Dickerson said he would work harder to study pitchers and work on his approach during games. 

The 25-year-old is expected to open the year as the team's starter in left.


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The club wants to create a lot of competition for the rotation, and it was initially believed Anderson would be competing for a spot. General manager Dave Stewart sort of quashed those rumors, saying he perceives Anderson as a strong favorite right now. "Chase Anderson won nine games for us last year; you have to strongly consider him as part of our rotation," Stewart said. 

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Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA over 114 1/3 innings last year.


 
 
 
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