For most MLB teams, the focus is now officially on 2012. You can probably say the same for most fans, too. So here at MLBDD we're spending some time projecting each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: Nick Hundley - Age 28
First Base: Jesus Guzman - Age 27
Second Base: Orlando Hudson - Age 34
Third Base: Chase Headley - Age 27
Shortstop: Jason Bartlett - Age 32
Left Field: Kyle Blanks - Age 25
Center Field: Cameron Maybin - Age 25
Right Field: Will Venable - Age 29
1. CF Maybin 2. RF Venable 3. 3B Headley 4. 1B Guzman 5. LF Blanks 6. C Hundley 7. 2B Hudson 8. SS Bartlett
C Luis Martinez, IF Alberto Gonzalez, IF Everth Cabrera, OF Chris Denorfia, OF Jeremy Hermida
1. RHP Mat Latos - Age 24
2. RHP Tim Stauffer - Age 29
3. LHP Clayton Richard - Age 28
4. RHP Aaron Harang - Age 33
5. LHP Cory Luebke - Age 27
Closer: RHP Luke Gregerson - Age 27
Others: RHP Ernesto Frieri, LHP Joe Thatcher, RHP Brad Bauch, LHP Josh Spence, RHP Andrew Carpenter, LHP Wade LeBlanc
Some Quick Thoughts
- I expect the Padres to open 2012 with Jesus Guzman at first base and top prospect Anthony Rizzo in Triple-A. Rizzo doesn't have a whole lot left to learn at that level, but he really struggled in his time with the Padres last season while Guzman thrived. At the very least, they can build up Guzman's value and then trade him when Rizzo is clearly ready.
- Kyle Blanks may not be a great fit in that outfield, but he's got legitimate upside as a hitter and the Padres could desperately use some more offense. He probably would've gotten a shot at first base if the team wasn't already set there.
- The Padres are loaded with outfield options, so things could end up looking fairly different than the alignment I've gone with here. Outside of the five outfielders listed, Aaron Cunningham, Blake Tekotte and James Darnell could end up seeing significant time in San Diego's outfield this year.
- I'm guessing that the Padres will retain Harang on his mutual option. They're quite rarely exercised, but this may be one of those rare instances after Harang said publicly that he'd be okay with exercising his part of the deal in order to return to San Diego.
- Like with most of these bullpen projections, you could shake things up a good deal here if you want. Gregerson and Frieri are absolute locks, while I expect the Padres to look into guys like Carpenter and Bauch that put up dominant numbers in the upper minors.