The San Diego Padres’ 2012 season can be best described as bittersweet. After a horrendous 34-53 start to the season, the Padres showed glimpses of what could be an exciting 2013.
After the slow start, the Padres were one of the better teams in baseball, producing a 41-32 record since the All-Star break. The Padres’ triumphant second half constructed a 75-85 overall record, placing them in fourth place in the National League West.
The Friars seemed to find a way to finally win at home (42-39), a problem that has plagued the team since the opening of Petco Park. This season, winning on the road was a different story (33-46).
Offensively the team showed gradual improvement, averaging 3.5 runs per game in the first half of the season and 4.7 in the second, however, the offense ranked near the bottom in the Major Leagues in almost every offensive category.
Injuries forced the Padres to use 15 different starting pitchers, nonetheless the pitching staff held its own by ranking in the middle of the pack in almost every pitching category.
The true highlight of the season was watching the breakout year Chase Headley had. The third baseman clearly was the best player on the team, and his statistics proved it.
Headley had a .283 average with a career-high 31 home runs and a National League leading 113 RBI. Headley’s power surge came out of nowhere. Prior to this season, Headley’s career high in home runs and RBI came in 2009, when he clubbed 12 home runs and banged in 64 RBI.
The release of unproductive second baseman Orlando Hudson and disappointing shortstop Jason Bartlett helped contribute to the Padres winning ways. Everth Cabrera replaced Bartlett at shortstop and had an up and down year, but provided the energy Bartlett lacked. Logan Forsythe filled in for Hudson and proved he can play everyday in the big leagues.
Veteran outfielder Carlos Quentin gave the Padres a much needed power bat out of the cleanup spot as he drilled 16 home runs and knocked in 46 RBI in 85 games, but injuries limited his production.
Clayton Richard proved once again he is a stellar pitcher winning 14 ballgames, although he lost 14. The bullpen was very young and could use some improvement going into next season, but closer Huston Street was stellar (when not injured) and Luke Gregerson found his slider once again to improve to 2-0 with a 2.43 ERA and eight saves.
Overall, this season was really a tale of two seasons. The first being the woeful season we had expected from the Padres, while the other was inspiring. Stay tune for 2013.