by Daniel Gettinger

With the season looming, I feel it is time for me to share my 2010 projections for the San Diego Padres.

The projections, which will be shared over the next two weeks, are heavily based on a combination of the projection systems available on Fangraphs.  I do not attempt to forecast the impact of trades.  So Adrian Gonzalez’s projection is based on him spending the entire season in San Diego.  Likewise, Kyle Blanks will be projected to spend most of his time in the outfield, rather than at first base.

I will kick off the series with my predictions for the projected starting infield…

Catcher-Nick Hundley

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

UZR

WAR

330

10

0.235

0.300

0.392

0.305

N/A

1.8

Hundley is not a good player.  Most of his value is tied to his position.  That said, although not much of an asset, Hundley does have a bit more power than the typical catcher.  Assuming he is somewhere around average defensively, Hundley will not kill the team in 2010.

First Base-Adrian Gonzalez

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

UZR

WAR

665

34

0.278

0.374

0.520

0.383

3.0

4.2

Some Padres fans are going to take exception with this projection.  Last year Gonzalez hit 40 homeruns, and had a wOBA of 0.402.  He was worth nearly 6.5 wins above replacement.  But 2009 was Gonzalez’s best season of his career.  His previous best, 2006, was only a 3.9 WAR season.  Gonzalez may very well produce like he did in 2009, but forecasting such a season would be silly considering what we know about regression.  That said a season with a WAR over 4.0 is still very good.

Second Base-David Eckstein

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

UZR

WAR

475

3

0.265

0.329

0.341

0.300

-2.5

0.5

My lack of confidence in Eckstein is well documented.  His bat is terrible, and his fielding is, at best, average.  I have a hunch the Padres may end up releasing him mid-season.  Eckstein is that bad.

Shortstop-Everth Cabrera

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

UZR

WAR

517

4

0.260

0.343

0.369

0.323

-5.7

1.5

In my HotStove.com chat, I talked a bit about Everth Cabrera.  He is a player that really excites me, but also really scares me.  He struggled in the second half of last season, but is overall numbers were perfectly fine, especially considering he made the direct jump from A-ball to the major leagues.  My projection for Cabrera is one with a lot of variance built in.  He might record a solid 2.5 WAR season, or he might perform close to replacement level.  After 2010, we should have a better idea of how good Cabrera really is.

Third Base-Chase Headley

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

UZR

WAR

585

14

0.270

0.350

0.421

0.340

-1.0

2.6

I like Chase Headley.  He has never had a problem getting on base.  If he adds a bit more power, and fields his position at an average rate, Headley will be an incredibly solid player.  Moving Headley out of the outfield, and back to his natural position was important.  Now, in his third major league season, Headley needs to perform.

Up Next: Starting Outfield

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