The San Diego Padres ended their season Sunday with a 74-88 record and enter the offseason having already let go of manager Pat Murphy. After they hire a new manager, there should be some changes on the field as well. Here is one last post regarding the Friars’ disappointing season. Without further a do — the 2015 team awards.
1) Most Valuable Player – Matt Kemp .265/.312/.443, 31 2B, 3 3B, 23 HR, 100 RBI
Kemp was brought in prior to the 2015 season to be the club’s franchise player for the next five seasons and be a presence in the middle of the lineup. Early on, his lack of power led to a dreadful slump in May and June which brought out the critics. They questioned if he still had the skill and edge to be an offensive threat. In the second half, Kemp turned it on. He hit .286/.339/.528 with nearly double the home runs he had in the first half (15) and had an OPS (.868) nearly 200 points over that first half number. Despite his defensive flaws, he still carried the team and will need to if the Padres plan to compete in the near future.
Other honorable mention(s): Justin Upton
2) Cy Young – Tyson Ross 10-12, 3.26 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 196 IP, 172 H, 71 ER, 84 BB, 212 SO
Ross continued to establish himself as one of the National League’s most underrated starters as he produced similar numbers he had during his 2014 All-Star campaign. He had a career high in strikeouts, and was even better in the second half, particularly with his walk-to-strikeout ratio (29 BB/94 SO). If there was something Ross could improve on, it would be issuing fewer free passes. If he can perfect that, he could find himself in the National League Cy Young discussion, because he has the repertoire to be at that level. Ross’s solid campaign should open him into discussion as a potential option to be the club’s Opening Day starter in 2016.
3) Rookie Of The Year – Corey Spangenberg .271/.333/.399, 17 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI
Spangenberg was the team’s spark plug in second half of play, often starting rallies or having significant hits in critical spots of the game. His speed created opportunities on the base paths that created a dynamic the Padres didn’t have early in the season. A player who was on the outside looking in at the beginning of Spring Training, he played well enough this season to guarantee a spot on the 25-man roster come next season. Spangenberg hit .294/.373/.460 in the second half and is setting up to be a versatile player with speed who can play multiple positions that comes with a fairly cheap price tag. One thing he needs to cut down on is the strikeouts, netting 75 in only 345 plate appearances. The former first round draft pick should compete for the starting jobs at second or third base next Spring Training, though a bench spot for him is more realistic.
Other honorable mention(s): None.
4) Silver Slugger – Justin Upton .251/.336/.454, 26 2B, 3 3B, 26 HR, 81 RBI
Upton, the team’s only All-Star representative, had his typical season. He had the most power of anyone on the club, leading the team in home runs with 26. He had big inter-division clutch home runs, including ones against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers early in the season. His second half was not as strong as his first, and one has to wonder if the team’s trade of him last offseason was worth it. It probably was not. However, he provided power for a club that lacked any whatsoever and was one player that created fan excitement. He’ll look to land a huge contract with a different club as he’s one of the top hitters on this year’s free agent market.
Other honorable mention(s): Matt Kemp and Jedd Gyorko.
5) Comeback Player of the Year – Jedd Gyorko .247/.297/.397, 15 2B, 16, HR 57 RBI
Gyorko started 2015 struggling mightily after signing a contract extension early last season. He struggled so much as the everyday starter, that the Padres sent him down to the minors to attempt to fix his offensive flaws. He returned and played much like he did in his rookie year — a swing or miss guy, but this time he had home run power. Gyorko hit 13 of his 16 total home runs in the second half and hit .259/.299/.440 after the All-Star break. He also played shortstop in the second half, but realistically that isn’t a long term spot for him. While Gyorko might not get on base like most would like, he’s still a power threat, ideally in the sixth or seventh spot in the order. He could improve those numbers overtime. Gyorko, who was in rumored trade talks prior to the July deadline, should be the leading contender for the second base job when Spring Training roles around.
- The Padres are expected to interview the Diamondbacks‘ Triple-A manger and former Padre Phil Nevin for the managerial opening, tweets Bob Nightengale of USAToday.com.
- The club will also interview current Diamondbacks third base coach Andy Green, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. He was a part time contributor with the club he now coaches between 2004-2006.
- Dale Thayer, who was designated for assignment this summer, has elected for free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of SBNation.com. The middle relief pitcher had a 3.19 ERA over four seasons with the club and should find at the very least a minor league contract with a different team.