Surprise! Padres making early waves
Getting in the spirit of overreacting to the first couple games of the year, there are already some guys who have warranted sleeper consideration on the team that won the Fewest Names in Preseason Draft Guides Award.
Tuesday night’s 6-3 victory over the Diamondbacks summed up why the Padres may be one of the biggest surprises of 2010, and fantasy owners should be paying attention.
There’s a good chance you already know about 6-foot-6, 270-pound future beast Kyle Blanks, and 21-year-old potential ace Matt Latos. However, Tuesday night’s box-score standout was diminutive shortstop Everth Cabrera, who, as The Rundown highlighted, fell a homer short of the cycle while knocking in four runs and adding a steal.
The 23-year-old speed demon swiped 25 bags in 103 games last season, and should be a stud in that department in 2010. He’s shown the ability to draw walks and hit for a decent average, so once the Padres move him up from the eighth spot in the order, he could end up with similar numbers to far more hyped shortstop prospects Alcides Escobar and Elvis Andrus.
A guy who made less of a bang Tuesday was third baseman Chase Headley, who matched his first game’s performance with two base knocks. Building on a strong spring in which he hit .319, slugged .536 and knocked in 23 runs, the 25-year-old former top prospect may finally be figuring out big league pitching. In a very thin year for third baseman, Headley is a guy to watch closely; he’s also eligible in the outfield in most leagues.
Getting a little deeper, 26-year-old outfielder Will Venable jacked a solo shot Tuesday, picking up from a monster spring in which he hit .345 with four homers and a 1.130 OPS. Venable, who quietly slugged 12 homers over the last three months of ’09, is a guy to consider in NL-only leagues for sure.
Starting pitcher Chris Young was a forgotten man heading into 2010, but reminded everyone what he’s capable of with six scoreless innings of one-hit ball and five strikeouts. This gem was reminiscent of the outings regularly delivered by a pitcher who compiled a 3.30 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 331 Ks in 352 1/3 innings from 2006-07. If Tuesday’s start was an indication he’s back to form, Young is the biggest Padres sleeper of them all.