San Diego Padres: 2015 Fantasy Baseball Outlook

The San Diego Padres have made a ton of noise this offseason as they attempt to become a National League West power. They are signing players that have name value, reminding some of the moves the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins made in past seasons. In both cases it did not work out very well, for different reasons. Fantasy owners don’t really care if the moves help the Padres in the standings as much as the potential impact on their fantasy team.

James Sheilds

(John Rieger / USA TODAY Sports)

James Shields

The Padres and James Shields came to terms monday on a contract that is expected to pay him around 75 million over four seasons per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Shields comes in to lead a solid rotation that features a rotation that should provide fantasy value all season. Not only does the switch to the National League allow him to face weaker batting orders, but Petco Park is a very pitcher friendly park. Shields strikeout numbers have dipped over the past few seasons. Going against pitchers and weaker hitters will hopefully get him back into the 200 plus strikeouts for the 2015 season. Giving Shields a fantasy bump for 2015.

My biggest concern on the move for Shields would be the defense behind him. The Royals featured a speedy outfield with plus defenders. Shields fly ball percentage is typically around 35%. He will rely on his outfield defense to make plays for him. The expansive park should help the home runs to become outs in 2015. Shields was in the top 10 in terms of home runs allowed last season. An increased strikeout total and a lowered home run mark may see Shields gain value in 2015.

Justin Upton Padres

(K.C. Alfred / UT San Diego)

Justin Upton

Justin Upton is a player that has a ton of name recognition but isn’t always the fantasy monster some expect him to be. The power and speed potential has always been there but has yet to come to fruition. After leaving Arizona, Upton’s aggressiveness on the base paths tailed off. During his time with the Diamondbacks he was a 18-20 steal guy. During his time with the braves he was inside 10 steals a season. It will be interesting to see if the Padres get him active in the run game once again.

The biggest concern for me with Upton in his transition to San Diego will be his batting average. Typically Upton is in the .260 to .280 range. Upton must become more disciplined at the plate. In past seasons, Upton has been able to make up for an average that isn’t ideal by supplying power numbers. However an expansive Petco Park makes a home run harder to come by. 2014 only featured 101 home runs, the lowest in all of the majors.

Upton will likely go higher in drafts due to name value. Expecting .270 average with 20 home runs and 80ish RBI seems reasonable expectations for Uptons 2015 season.

Matt Kemp

(Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

Matt Kemp

Another player that comes into 2015 with more name value than actual stats, Matt Kemp heads two hours south of LA to play for the division rival Padres. Kemp was able to be in the lineup for 150 games last season. It was the first time he played over 110 games in three seasons. Kemp is also a player that has seen his stolen base totals drop significantly. His run of injuries impacted his attempts on the base paths

For this season, if Kemp can have another season where he stays healthy, Kemp could provide decent value, depending on where you can take him in drafts. Kemp will likely be in the 15-20 home run window, but if he can approach a .300 batting average, he could approach the 90-100 RBI. If he is sitting there later in drafts, its not crazy to gamble on Kemp.

Derek Norris


Derek Norris

Derek Norris had terrific first half of the season behind the plate in 2014. He earned himself an All Star nod for his efforts. However injuries hurt his second half numbers. His move to San Diego will improve the Padres catching spot from from an offensive production standpoint. He is known for his batting eye that adds to his value in on base and points based leagues.

The move from Yasmani Grandal to Derek Norris will be an issue for the Padres pitching staff. In Grandal they had a defensive stud that is known for his pitch framing. Grandal got his pitchers an extra 120 strikeouts based upon Baseball Prospectus Advance Catching Metrics.

Joaquin Benoit

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Joaquin Benoit

While Joaquin Benoit is not new to the Padres roster, he will be entering his first season as the full time closer. The Padres have not added a name closer and moved Houston Street last season. The job looks to be Benoit’s and should provide fantasy owners value this season.

After taking over last season he accounted for double digit saves down the stretch. He also average over a strikeout per appearance. He had 26/7 strikeout to walk rate in his last 19 games including only one walk in his final 11 appearances. Benoit wont be a sexy name come draft day but should provide owners a ton of value next season.

The Padres will be a team to watch in 2015. Whether their action packed off season will produce on the field is yet to be determined but the potential is there for a big 2015 season.


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