Padres’ Points: Fast Starts, Kennedy, Upton Brothers

Entering Friday, the San Diego Padres are 10-7, off to their best start since 2010 when they were 11-6 through the first 17 games. More importantly, the offense has payed early dividends and A.J. Preller’s acquisitions have panned out on the hitting side. Four players with at least 35 at bats – Yonder Alonso, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, and Yangervis Solarte all have batting averages better than .300.

Putting that into perspective, six players with at least 35 at bats had a sub .250 average at the end of April last season. Yes, everyone doesn’t expect four players to hit for a .300 average, or in Yonder Alonso’s case .400 average all season, but the offensive fireworks are something the Padres haven’t seen in a long time.

Using Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections, here are a look at early rest of the seasons projections for each player that is off to hot starts:

Yonder AlonsoCurrent: 22-55 (.400/.485/.491), 7 R, 2 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 9 BB, 7 SO, .976 OPS

Rest of Season Projections: 127-461 (.275/.343/.397), 54 R, 24 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 56 RBI, 48 BB, 82 SO, .740 OPS

Matt KempCurrent: 23-69 (.333/.365/.493), 13 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, HR, 14 RBI, 4 BB, 11 SO, .858 OPS

Rest of Season Projections: 152-547 (.278/.339/.473), 83 R, 28 2B, 5 3B, 23 HR, 88 RBI, 51 BB, 144 SO, .813 OPS

Derek Norris – Current: 19-60 (.317/.339/.450), 10 R, 8 2B, 8 RBI, 2 BB 9 SO, .789 OPS

Rest of Season Projections: 110-439 (.251/.322/.396), 59 R, 26 2B, 3B, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 46 BB, 108 SO, .719 OPS

Yangervis SolarteCurrent: 12-38 (.316/.366/.553), 4 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, .918 OPS

Rest of Season Projections: 110-428 (.257/.312/.376), 49 R, 22 2B, 3B, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 34 BB, 59 SO, .688 OPS

Friar Notes

  • Bud Black said that Ian Kennedy will be reinstated from the disabled list and make a start Saturday versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team announced on Twitter. Odrisamer Despaigne, who has pitched well enough to be in the rotation will return to the bullpen in the long relief role. Despaigne gives the bullpen length, an element it did not have when he was in the rotation. Barring any surprises, a roster move involving a bullpen arm seems like the most likely move in order to reinstate Kennedy.
  • In a recent interview done on the Mighty 1090, Bud Black said he’s open to platooning Jedd Gyorko and Yangervis Solarte at second base. Gyorko, who actually has had better at-bats on this last road trip, has not produced early on into the season. He’s hit just .211 (4-19) in the last seven days. Meanwhile, Solarte has looked like he should be starting at second base everyday based on his performance. It is still way to early to give up on Gyorko. He’s capable of being an everyday player if he figures out his hitting woes.
  • Padres are taking a “wait and see approach” when it comes to Melvin Upton. He’s just not a throw-away piece. They view him as an occasional outfielder and pinch runner, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. As it was said in a Padres’ Points piece a few weeks back, that’s exactly what was analyzed when breaking down Melvin Upton’s fit on the club.
  • Also in the Heyman piece, the club is looking at Justin Upton as a one year rental, though things could change depending on how the year goes. So far, the relationship between Upton and the club has been great. If he were to leave for free agency, Hunter Renfroe has the potential talent and offensive ability to replace Upton.

Friar Moves

  • Padres have recalled pitcher Kevin Quackenbush form the disabled list, the team announced. In a corresponding move, Shawn Kelley will be heading to the disabled list with a left calf strain.

Friar Stats

  • As of Friday mroning, the Padres are tied for second in hits with 168, tied with the Oakland Athletics and behind the Kansas City Royals by only one hit for the major-league lead. Last season, they were last in that category and were the only team to not surpass 1200 hits. The 2014 team finished one hit short.
  • Meanwhile, the Padres bullpen ranks 15th in all of baseball with a 3.42 ERA. Overall, team relievers are 4-4. Joaquin Benoit is 3-0, while the rest of the bullpen is 1-4. This bullpen should produce a lot better results down the road, as the depth and talent in the relief core is well documented.
  • On the defensive side, the Padres rank 25th in baseball with 13 errors in 17 games played. This was a weakness most people focused on since the drastic overhaul of the roster. So far, the team has been able to overcome the lack of defensive. As the team molds together, so should the defense. It should improve as the season goes on.

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