The 2010 season is almost upon us and fans everywhere are starting to speculate on the who/what/where/when & how's of the Padres lineup. It appears that they are successfully moving toward a team based more on being athletic and fundamentally sound, who can run and cause havoc on the basepaths. With few regular position spots still open, what really remains is to figure out who on the active roster will fill the starting roles. There are choices, and while a few might not be popular, with some fans, they could be in the teams best interest overall.
Starting lineup - ( not batting order )
1. 1b - Adrian Gonzalez
2. 2b - David Eckstein ( should be Jerry Hairston Jr.)
3. SS - Everth Cabrera
4. 3b - Chase Headley
5. LF - Kyle Blanks
6. CF - Scott Hairston
7. RF - Will Venable ( should be Aaron Cunningham )
8. C - Nick Hundley
9. C - Yorvit Torrealba
10. U/OFer- Tony Gwynn Jr. ( should be Will Venable )
11. If/OF- Jerry Hairston Jr.
12. U/If- Oscar Salazar
13. DH/OF - Matt Stairs
Starting Pitchers -
14. Chris Young
15. Jon Garland
16. Kevin Correia
17. Clayton Richard ( I say this name based on who has options left, should be Mat Latos )
18. Sean Gallagher* ( I say this name based on who has options left, should be Richard or LeBlanc )
19. Tim Stauffer*
20. Adam Russell ( or Gallagher )
21. Luke Gregerson
22. Edward Mujica ( or Gallagher )
23. Joe Thatcher ( or Gallagher )
24. Mike Adams
25. Heath Bell
Now I have an issue with a couple of things I'd like to put out there......
First is David Eckstein starting at 2nd base. While I'm a pretty big Eck fan, I don't think he brings to the table as many daily tools as Jerry Hairston Jr. does. Hairston will likely hit for a better BA, OBP & Slg pct., has much better speed and is a legit threat to steal a base, has good defensive skills and probably more range and for sure a better arm.... So I would start Jerry Hairston Jr. over David Eckstein at 2nd base.
Second is our 5th Starting Pitcher being Sean Gallagher. I think he's the guy that will ultimately get the job, and not because he's our best option, but instead because other guys like Mat Latos and Wade LeBlanc still have OPTIONS left and can be moved down to Portland without having to drop them from the roster or try and pass them through waivers. In my opinion Mat Latos has EARNED a starting position, but there simply isn't any room. I also think Wade LeBlanc has made a serious case for himself as well, but again there is simply no room at the inn. Neither of these guys can afford to sit in the bullpen either both must continue to work so I think they are off to AAA.
Third is Tony Gwynn Jr. making this team over guys like Aaron Cunningham or even Chris Denorfia. I am of the opinion that if Tony Gwynn Jr.'s name was Tom Smith, he wouldn't even be in the big leagues right now, and while I'm a huge fan of his fathers, I'm not a big fan of his. Aaron Cunningham brings a much more complete set of tools with decent power and a better arm to the table, and should get the 4th OFer role on this team, maybe even the starting RF job over Will Venable, but I doubt this will happen.
So these are good problems to have, but we could see an active roster that doesn't necessarily have our best players on it. Makes for a very bright future going forward to be sure.
Play Ball !!!
*denotes a few players that are out of options