The Major League Baseball regular season is coming to a close. Teams have played more than 90% of their schedule. The wild card is still up for grabs, but there are only about two weeks left in the regular season. With the expansion of the postseason, the one-game playoffs have been eliminated, so there will be no extra regular season games, even if there is a tie.
This year’s regular season is “money talks. The first-, second-, and third-place teams in opening day payroll have all fallen. The first-place New York Mets had an opening day payroll of $353.5 million. This was the largest payroll in history. The second-place New York Yankees also had a disappointing season.
Opening Day Team Payroll Rankings
- New York Mets – $353,355,6854
- New York Yankees – $276.99 million
- San Diego Padres – $248,999,5932
- Philadelphia Phillies – $243,939,000
- Los Angeles Dodgers – $222,771,834
- Tampa Bay Rays – $73.18 million
- Baltimore Orioles – $60.723 million
- Oakland Athletics – $5.689 million
The third-ranked team in opening day payroll is the San Diego Padres. The first- and second-place Mets and Yankees could have been big spenders, given their ties to the Big Apple. But San Diego has always had a strong small-market image. They’ve only just begun to spend big, which makes this season, when they made their big investment, very awkward.
San Diego has spent more money than it appears. The team didn’t just spend on free agents, they also spent over $500 million on extensions. In total, the team spent $940 million.
After spending an astronomical amount of money, San Diego failed to make the postseason. They don’t even have a five-game winning streak, let alone the postseason. With 15 games remaining, the Padres are 69-78, meaning they need to win at least 12 games to have a chance. The original target was the Dodgers, but they now have the same winning percentage as Pittsburgh (.469).
Underperforming teams are characterized by a significant pitching imbalance. If you subtract runs scored from runs allowed, they’re mostly negative. The best team in baseball, the Atlanta Braves, have a +242 run differential, while the worst team in baseball, the Kansas City Royals, have a -184 run differential. Even without this extreme comparison, it’s rare to see a team with a winning percentage below .500 have a positive run differential.
This year, San Diego has defied this convention. They have a sub-5% winning percentage, but a +60 goal differential. They are the only team with a positive goal differential among teams with less than a 5% winning percentage, so San Diego is 80-67 in expected win shares based on goal differential. That’s a .544 winning percentage. Philadelphia, currently in first place for the National League wild card, has a 0.541 winning percentage.
San Diego’s run differential plus has been created by the mound. Their 614 total runs allowed are the third fewest in the league. San Diego’s team ERA of 3.92 is third in the league and sixth overall. The starting rotation, in particular, ranks first with a 3.63 ERA through July.
With a solid mound, San Diego’s task was simple. The offense needed to score enough runs. San Diego scored 674 runs in total offense. Their overall ranking was exactly in the middle of the pack. Overall, it looks like the offense provided enough support, but when you dig deeper, there were some areas that fell short. San Diego didn’t score enough runs to get the runs they needed.
The offense hasn’t been able to explode all season (with the exception of Atlanta). So when the hitting dies down, you have to be able to find other ways to score runs. This is called run production.
San Diego’s offense hasn’t done this well. When the bats were hot, they were on fire, but when they weren’t, they were silent. There were huge temperature swings from game to game. The 15 double-digit scoring games were the eighth most in the league, but the 28 one-run games were the fourth most.
The reason for the wide variation in scoring can be found in the goal differential. In fact, runners in scoring position has been San Diego’s Achilles heel this year, as the offense has been able to get on base with great initiative, but once runners are in scoring position, the hitters go cold. Through May, they had a .192 batting average with runners in scoring position. As the season progressed, his on-base percentage picked up, but as his bats improved, his mound suffered. A trade deadline acquisition didn’t help matters as the struggles continued.
San Diego batting average with runners in scoring position by month (rank)
April – 0.208 (28th)
May – 0.175 (30th)
June – 0.236 (22nd)
July – 0.282 (7th)
August – 0.260 (12th)
September – 0.294 (12th)
San Diego’s weakness in the clutch is confirmed in other metrics as well. Late & Close refers to situations after the seventh inning when the game is tied or one run away, or when there is a tying run on base. You can get an idea of how the team fared in game-winning situations. In this category, San Diego had a team batting average of just 0.195. That was last in the majors, worse than 29th-place Oakland (0.207).
The slump in San Diego’s offense is baffling. The Padres invested heavily in their offense heading into the season. Bringing up Xander Bogaerts was a risky move, even at the expense of defense. Plus, Fernando Tatis Jr. was set to return after serving the remainder of his suspension, so the offense was expected to be better than last year.
Manager Bob Melvin dubbed his core four players the Big Four (Tatis & Soto & Machado & Bogaerts) in honor of the Dodgers’ trio (Mookie Betts & Trey Turner & Freddie Freeman) last year. But their faith in the Big Four was not repaid. The San Diego Union-Tribune, a San Diego local media outlet, recently reported (the big failure is the Big Four). The Big Four paled in comparison to the Dodgers’ Betts and Freeman, who are in MVP contention.
San Diego Big Four Stats
Tatis [batting average] 0.261 24 homers [OPS] 0.784
Soto [batting average] 0.262 30 homers [OPS] 0.894
Machado [batting average] 0.252 28 homers [OPS] 0.773
Bogaerts [batting average] 0.272 18 homers [OPS] 0.764
The sorest finger is Bogaerts. He gets the job done, but he doesn’t do it when he should. Bogaerts hit just .183 with runners in scoring position. His batting average with runners in scoring position after the second inning was 0.177, and his batting average in late and close was 0.217. Bogaerts also led the National League in ground balls with 21. Through 11 games in September, he’s batting .439, but it looks like the bus has already left the station and he’s sprinting.먹튀검증
The player is to blame, but he’s not the only one. Melvin’s lineup choices weren’t ideal either. It’s hard to understand why he stuck with the aggressive Tatis in the second, the visionary Soto in the third, and the out-of-scoring Bogartz in the fourth and fifth. If you’re not getting results, you have to make changes and look for more options, and he didn’t even try. On a side note, Melvin’s over-management of closer Josh Hader is also hard to understand.
San Diego has been unlucky at times this year, but unlucky is not the only word that can be used. There was a point in time when they could have turned their bad luck into good luck, and they missed that turning point and lost the chance to make amends. It was an inevitable failure with everyone to blame.