San Diego Padres May Be MLB’s Most Overrated Team

Eric Hosmer #30 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as Colorado Rockies players celebrate after the Rockies beat the Padre 3-1 in a baseball game agains the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park on July 11, 2021 in San Diego, California.
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)


By now, we know which MLB teams are overrated, underrated, or rated adequately, and by the look of things, it appears the San Diego Padres, after a few exciting offseason trades and additions, fall in the first category.

Yes, the 71-63 Padres may very well be MLB’s most overrated team.

That doesn’t mean San Diego is bad: that’s far from the case.

However, they were widely expected to fight with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West division before the season.

Not only San Diego has failed to keep up with the 85-49 Dodgers (they are whopping 14.0 games behind), but they are third in the division.

The San Francisco Giants are tied for the top spot with the Dodgers, and both teams have left the Padres way behind.

The disappointing Padres are still very, very close to a postseason position, as they are only half a game behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second Wild Card.

But there is no denying that they have been a slight disappointment.


The Numbers Don’t Lie

San Diego has the 14th-best record in MLB: teams like the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, and the Reds have been better by win-loss record.

If we go to run differential, the Padres’ outlook looks better, but still not on par with preseason expectations.

By run differential, San Diego’s plus-68 ranks ninth among 30 MLB franchises.

That’s not bad, but certainly not good enough.

San Diego brought three aces in the offseason via trade: Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove.

Only the latter has been consistently good all year long.

Additionally, some homegrown starters expected to contribute, like Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, Adrian Morejon, and Ryan Weathers, haven’t been able to do it consistently for reasons that range between injuries and a failure to develop critical skills.

Offensively, the team is extremely dependent on what shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. does on a nightly basis.

Tatis, who is playing on virtually one shoulder due to an April subluxation, is hitting .280/.364/.635 with 36 homers and 24 stolen bases in 103 games.

So far, he has a 5.1 WAR mark according to FanGraphs.

WAR means Wins Above Replacement, and it helps us understand the true worth of a player when considering all contributions: batting, baserunning, and fielding.


Extremely Dependent On Tatis Jr.

After Tatis, the next-best ranked player in San Diego is Jake Cronenworth with 4.0.

Then we go to 3.5, 2.5, and 1.5.

There is a significant drop-off, as players who were supposed to be important supporting actors have been a bit underwhelming, such as Manny Machado, Tommy Pham, Wil Myers, Ha-Seong Kim, and others.

It also doesn’t help that the Padres’ premier deadline acquisition, Adam Frazier, is hitting .221/.277/.260 in 114 plate appearances with a negative -0.3 WAR.

The Padres still have a real possibility of getting to the playoffs, and randomness plays a bit more of a role once there.

However, it’s very clear that the 2021 Padres are significantly worse than the Dodgers and Giants, and may actually be the league’s most overrated team.

If Tatis’ shoulder fails to hold up (which is a real possibility), San Diego’s hopes would collapse in a hurry.

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