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2015 San Diego Padres Season Predictions | MLB Betting Preview & Odds

2015 MLB Team Season Previews – Padres

National League West, you have been put on notice. The Padres are serious about becoming playoff contenders in the NL after years of futility in sleepy San Diego. Padres newly-minted general manager A.J. Preller gave the team a significant facelift in the offseason with an eye for contending right now.

MLB Lines & Matchup Insight

2015 MLB Team Previews – San Diego Padres

NL West Odds: +350
NL Championship Odds: 9/1
World Series Odds: 20/1

In many ways, the Friars don’t at all resemble the team that took the field to start 2014.

Preller’s acquisitions read like a grocery list: There are new starting pitchers (superstar James Shields and talented but injury-prone Brandon Morrow); an entirely new outfield dripping with power potential in Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp; there’s a new third baseman in Will Middlebrooks and a new catcher in Derek Norris.

San Diego kept its best incumbent hitter in 1B Yonder Alonso, and he now has plenty of protection with those around him in the revamped batting order.

From the outset, Preller had an eye to improve an offense that was downright anemic last season. With the new outfield and Norris, San Diego’s brain trust went nuts in acquiring right-handed power bats.

The result is that while San Diego still may be flawed, it will definitely score more runs and win more ballgames in 2015. After an underwhelming 77-85 in ’14 still being the best campaign the Friars had posted since 2010, the team and its fans better hope so.

Shields will help in the rotation, also. While he is not as overtly dominant as some of the other big-name pitchers that were available, he is adept at eating innings and didn’t earn the moniker “Big Game James” for nothing.

He was a cog in the K.C. Royals making a historic run to the World Series last season. He’ll join young, promising pitchers like Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross.

Apart from injury-riddled Alonso and the rather empty power of Middlebrooks (his batting averages are notoriously awful) San Diego’s infield can’t hit a lick.

GTBets

Second baseman Jedd Gyorko was atrocious last year and SS Alexi Amarista gives you defense and little else.

Another interesting wrinkle is that, while San Diego’s new faces in the outfield can hit a ton, there isn’t one true centerfielder in the group. The Friars should put young, athletic Myers in CF, but he is miscast there and will be assessed mostly on how he uses the lumber.

In an era where baseball minds are once again putting increased emphasis on team defense, it may spell trouble.

Yet, spelling trouble is relative because the Padres haven’t cracked the 80-win plateau in a long time. Despite ownership exhaling sharply with all the large checks that need signing, improvement will be welcomed by all around Petco Park.

Even if some things don’t break San Diego’s way, the club should still improve quite a bit from the product that has been on the field in recent seasons.

It should be noted that manager Bud Black will not lose you any ballgames, which is about as much as you can ask for out of a manager.

It’s tough in the NL West because of the fat-walleted and prodigiously talented Los Angeles Dodgers and the dynastic San Francisco Giants, but the Pads should still eat the Colorado Rockies and the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks for breakfast.

And who knows? If the Padres stay healthy, the infield takes a leap forward and young stud hurlers like Cashner avoid the disabled list, maybe San Diego improves on its third-place finish in the NL West last year.

Heck, the Friars might just grab the whole division. Don’t count your organic, free-range chickens, but those laid-back surfers in SoCal might have something to get loud about by the time September rolls around.

2015 Prediction: 86-76, 2nd NL West

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