Keys to Padres Going From Worst to First in the NL West in 2020

By michael obermuller
The Padres' odds to win the NL West suggest they could go from worst to first in 2020.
The Padres' odds to win the NL West suggest they could go from worst to first in 2020. / Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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When the San Diego Padres signed Manny Machado, the expectation was that they compete for the NL West in 2019. The season started that way, but fell off a cliff after the All-Star Break. In the end the Padres finished dead last again, at 70-92, and manager Andy Green was fired.

This record was not representative of this roster though; Fernando Tatis Jr. went down with a back problem in the second half, Manny Machado had a down season, and the youthful core went through growing pains at times. Currently at +1100 odds to win the NL West on FanDuel Sportsbook, San Diego sits third in the 2020 ranks. The Padres were built to win this division, and built well, but here's how they actually do it.

1. Get More Runners On

Tommy Pham will be an integral piece for the Padres this season.
Tommy Pham will be an integral piece for the Padres this season. / Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Padres capitalized when they got runners on, recording the second-lowest total for runners left on base in 2019. They had the fifth-lowest on-base percentage (OBP) at .308, however, which led to the third-lowest RBI total in the MLB. San Diego was not a bad team hitting in the clutch, they just didn't give themselves enough opportunities to do it. One of the main acquisitions this off-season was outfielder Tommy Pham, who was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Pham had an OBP of .411 in 2017, followed by .367 and .369 the next two seasons. He should help in this regard.

2. Continue to Improve the Pitching Staff

If Chris Paddack is half as spectacular in year two as he was during his rookie campaign, watch out.
If Chris Paddack is half as spectacular in year two as he was during his rookie campaign, watch out. / Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With additions like Pham, Jurickson Profar and Trent Grisham, the Padres lineup is in decent shape. Their bullpen also looks sturdy with one of the top closers in the game last season in Kirby Yates to go with new faces like Drew Pomeranz and Emilio Pagan. The rotation is one area they should still look to improve on, possibly when the trade deadline approaches. Their Opening Day ace is second-year pro Chris Paddack, who impressed with a 3.33 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 153 strikeouts in 2019. Joey Lucchesi and Dinelson Lamet are the other two holdovers from last year. Garrett Richards is also set to return, after losing last season to injury. The only new arm is Zach Davies, who came over in the Grisham trade This rotation does look better than last year's but it could still use some work. The Padres could turn into a major contender if they added an ace at the deadline.

3. Dominate the Bad Teams

Nolan Arenado's Rockies are on the decline, along with the Giants, the Padres must capitalize.
Nolan Arenado's Rockies are on the decline, along with the Giants, the Padres must capitalize. / Harry How/Getty Images

The NL West might be the worst division in the National League this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers are extremely good, yes, and the Boston Red Sox choosing them over the Padres for their Mookie Betts trade certainly doesn't help, but the rest of the division is below average. The Colorado Rockies are a mess, and they made so few moves this Winter that star player Nolan Arenado has demanded a trade to a team that is actually willing to compete. The San Francisco Giants also have worse odds than Colorado to win the West, at a huge +10000. The Arizona Diamondbacks are better, especially after adding Madison Bumgarner and Zac Gallen to their pitching staff over the last year, but their lineup still leaves a lot to be desired. The Padres must beat up on the Rockies and Giants as well as win their battle over the D-Backs if they want to beat out the Dodgers.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

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