MLB MLB Team News NL West — 03 March 2011
Let’s get this out of the way, yes, the Padres lost Adrian Gonzalez, but no, it isn’t the end of the world for them. The prospect haul was significant and they still have the scrappy young roster and the solid pitching staff that propelled them to a surprising 2010. Mat Latos is progressively becoming one of the best pitchers in the league and with Clayton Richard and the upcoming Tim Stauffer behind him, the Padres rotation should be serviceable in 2011.

The front office did a great job of solidifying the infield by acquiring Jason Bartlett from the Rays and signing Orlando Hudson. They took a chance on once highly heralded prospect Cameron Maybin and the power hitting Brad Hawpe. The bullpen should be solid once again, as Heath Bell has survived the trade rumors to return for the time being. While the Padres don’t look like a great team on paper, they showed last year that they can simply find ways to get it done. Adrian Gonzalez will be tough to replace in the immediate future, but the Padres should still be competitive in 2011 thanks to what appears to be a wide open NL West and some creative moves by the front office that have shaped a team whose playing style fits in perfectly with the layout of their ballpark.

Key Additions: Orlando Hudson, Jason Bartlett, Cameron Maybin, Brad Hawpe, Jorge Cantu, Chad Qualls

Key Losses: Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Ryan Webb, Tony Gwynn, Jr.

Lineup:

C: Nick Hundley
1B: Brad Hawpe
2B: Orlando Hudson
3B: Chase Headley
SS: Jason Bartlett
LF: Ryan Ludwick
CF: Cameron Maybin
RF: Will Venable

Rotation:

1: Mat Latos
2: Clayton Richard
3: Tm Stauffer
4: Aaron Harang
5: Cory Luebke
CL: Heath Bell

Players Critical To Success:

Mat Latos: Latos (pictured) broke out in his first full year in the majors in 2010, winning 14 games with and ERA under three. He is the ace of this staff and if he falters the Padres could be left scrambling for a pitcher to turn to for consistent quality starts.

Tim Stauffer: Stauffer will make the move from the pen to the rotation in 2011.  The young righty had an impressive year in 2010, ending with an ERA under 2, and the Padres are hoping he can carry that success into his starting pitching role and become a solid number three option.

Brad Hawpe: Hawpe has some big shoes to fill in 2011, stepping in for the recently departed Adrian Gonzalez. While no one is expecting him to match Gonzalez’s numbers, an improvement on his disappointing 2010 numbers would go a long way towards boosting the Padres offense.

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