Tuesday, April 3, 2012

10 (Not So) Bold Predictions for the 2012 Padres Season

So here we are. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were watching the Cardinals somehow overtake the Rangers in Game 6 on their way to a World Series title. Since that time, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and CJ Wilson have all changed teams. Somebody's fever dream came to life in center field in Miami. And the Padres changed GM's and, soon enough, owners.

With the 2012 regular season mere hours away (for those of us in the Western Hemisphere anyway), here are 10 predictions, hopes, thoughts and rambles for the 2012 San Diego Padres. In no particular order. Other then this is the order I thought of them.

10) Andrew Cashner will be the closer by the end of the season.
Huston Street is the highest paid player on this team right now.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Welcome back. Street has not been great in Spring though I think he will settle in fine with Petco. I'm more basing this on the likelihood that, if the Padres are not in a division or wild card race come the trade deadline, Street, the highest valued Padre on the roster will likely be jettisoned to a contender in need. Which leaves Cashner and his 103 MPH fastball with an opening. I just don't think Byrnes traded the top prospect in the system for a middle reliever.

9) I will have no more than 3 rants about the Sunday giveaway being only for kids.
SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Like a grown man wouldn't enjoy a Padres Hot Wheels car or lunch box? Ugh, let's move on.

8) The Padres will have more than 1 All-Star.
My money right now would be on Maybin and Luebke. Both players are young and on the precipice of breaking out. The starting pitching in the National League is deep so it's a tough group to crack for Luebke, but as is typical many will pull out of the ASG for various reasons.

And speaking of Maybin

7) Cameron Maybin will become your favorite Padre.
If he isn't already, the fact that Maybin will be here for the long haul will certainly endear him to a fan base that has seen favorites like Peavy, Gonzalez and Bell leave San Diego. Maybin becomes the face of the on-field product. He's personable, funny, and makes highlight reel catches in CF. You will own his jersey by Aug. 1.

6) Orlando Hudson will say something stupid via Twitter.
This isn't really a bold prediction. This is more the equivalent of picking the #1 seed to beat the #16 seed. Yeah, you got that one right. But so did everyone else.

5) Zou Bisou Bisou will be someone's walkup music.
If wishing made it so. Sidenote: Did Betty Francis get to test out the Hodad's stand at Petco early?

4) The Swinging Friar will finally be recognized as the best mascot in baseball.
Even in the worst of times, the Swinging Friar makes me smile. He's hilarious. He's fun. He is what going to baseball games is about.

And he has a Frankenstein version of himself.

3) The Padres will reclaim the Vedder Cup.
Last year was a poor showing. A poor, poor showing indeed. 1-5 against the hated Mariners. And the 1 came on a 1-0 win with Maybin reaching base on a 3 ball walk. Revenge shall be ours. Or, you know, a .500 record would suffice.

2) The Padres will throw a no-hitter and hit for the cycle.
I make this prediction every year so I can't take too much credit for when this finally happens. But it's statistically crazy that it hasn't happened yet. I wrote about the Padres no-hitter woes last year. One day, it's going to happen. I just hope I'm not shopping in a Costco when it does.

My picks this year: Stauffer (No-Hitter); Maybin (Cycle)

1) The Padres will struggle to start the season but make things interesting in June.
The beginning of the season is not kind to the Padres. Outside of a ton of NL West games, the Padres face Philadelphia, Washington, Milwaukee, and Anaheim.

But then May 24th comes along. And the New York Mets. Followed by the Cubs then a June where they take on Seattle 6 times, Oakland, Houston and Colorado. If the Padres can tread water for the first two months, a strong June will make them, if not contenders, then at least interesting come the All Star Break.

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