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Padres Offense Not Living Up to the Payroll

The Padres are underperforming at the plate, especially considering how much the team has spent on the lineup.

It is common knowledge that the San Diego Padres have spent big on their offense in the last few years. In 2023 alone they have four players earning a combined $73.25 million. For reference, that is more than the 26-man payroll for six MLB teams.

With so much invested in a small portion of the team, many fans expected immediate and impactful results.  That has not been the case so far, and the limping offense is to blame for a losing record one month into the season. The following statistics are through San Diego’s first 27 games, before their series against the San Francisco Giants in Mexico City.

Juan Soto

OF Juan Soto opened the season as a favorite to win NL MVP according to Las Vegas odds. To say the least, he is not putting up MVP numbers.

In March and April, he is slashing .183/.345/.355 with an OPS of .689. Not only are these career worsts in the first month of the season, but this is also the lowest batting average he has ever posted in a single month. One of the only bright spots Soto is shining this year is by leading MLB in base on balls with 24.

After a poor start with the Padres in 2022, many hoped for a hot start out of the gates for Soto. But that has not happened to this point, and there are legitimate questions as to where his power has gone.

Even with the abysmal hitting from Soto, many don’t even consider him the biggest disappointment for the Padres so far. That would belong to the man who plays in front of him.

Manny Machado

Just before the start of the season, Padres 3B Manny Machado signed an 11-year, $350 million extension. He deserved every one of those dollars for what he accomplished last season, or so it seemed.

In 2022, Machado truly put the Padres on his back in April. In a month that would catapult him to a front-runner MVP spot, he slashed .386/.453/.614, giving him an OPS of 1.067. He also drove in 15 RBIs and scored 20 runs while also blasting four home runs.

Of course, it is hard to duplicate those numbers into 2023, but many expected something similar now that he has protection in the lineup.  Machado is far from the only superstar in the lineup.

The beginning of 2023 has undoubtedly been a disappointment. In March and April, he has hit just .225/.259/.324 with an OPS of .583, which are all career lows since 2017 when he had a batting average of .224 in April of that year.

He is also seeing career lows in hard hit percentage with just 25.3% when he averages 35.9% in March and April for his career. Much like Soto, he is not getting hits or making up for the absence with power.

Fernando Tatis Jr.

April 20 marked the end of OF Fernado Tatis Jr’s PED suspension. He may have only played seven games so far this season but nonetheless, he is another Padre off to a slow start.

In 31 at-bats his OPS sits at.595, slashing .226/.273/.323.  In this timeframe, he also has only one home run and two runs scored.

Again, this is early in the season for Tatis but very uncharacteristic to have such a slow start. Including March and April for both 2019 and 2021, he is sitting at career lows in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

Fernando also averages 13.62 at-bats per home run in his career so only having one so far this season is a disappointment.  Since he missed all of last season, Tatis has even more work to do that he is still the player fans fell in love with the previous three years.

Xander Bogaerts

Out of all players mentioned in this article, SS Xander Bogaerts is the only one living up to expectations.

Historically, Xander is a player known to start off hot almost every season. Since 2014 in March and April, Bogaerts averages a slash line of .312/.381/.467 with an OPS of .848.

In 2023 he has gone above and beyond. slashing a stout .316/.409/.510. He has blasted five home runs, 12 RBIs, and scored 18 runs himself.

He also sports a 27-game on-base streak in the Brown and Gold. Bogaerts is certainly playing as well ass his contract suggests.

Padres Offense

The Padres offense as a whole is feeling the consequences of their big-ticket players underperforming.

Entering Saturday, they ranked 26th in batting average, 20th in runs, 20th in RBIs, 16th in total bases, 25th in hits, 21st in OBP, 17th in slugging percentage, and 18th in OPS.

These numbers put the offense in the bottom third out of all MLB teams. Not a good sign for a team that is spending $98 million on the current offense.

All of these statistics were put together before their two-game weekend series in Mexico City. With an elevation of 7,350 feet, the Padres took full advantage of the thin air. They scored a total of 22 runs and smacked six home runs across the two games. All four of the players featured here homered Saturday, so a trip across the border was just what the doctor ordered.

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