The San Diego Padres are one of the most exciting teams in MLB, with plenty of star power. They are one out of the handful of teams who have a realistic chance to win the World Series in 2023. There are some questions that face the team with Opening Day approaching, and some of them have them have presented themselves after spring training started.
The Padres have the goal of winning the World Series, that is what makes the Padres 2023 season successful. A big step for the Padres in 2023 would be to overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers and win the National League West. The Padres did take them down in the 2022 postseason, but winning the division would be beneficial.
With players like Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto and the addition of Xander Bogaerts, San Diego's lineup should be one of the most dangerous in MLB.
There are some questions about the pitching staff and the depth of the lineup. If San Diego has positive answers for those questions, we could be in for a very successful Padres 2023 season.
How will the Padres deal with Joe Musgrove's absence?
Starting pitcher Joe Musgrove was likely going to be the Padres Opening Day starter, but he suffered a fractured left big toe from dropping a kettlebell on his foot while working out.
This is a more pressing question because of the World Baseball Classic. Yu Darvish might not be built up as much as he usually would be, and that could limit the innings he pitches early on in the season.
Blake Snell, Michael Wacha, Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo are pitchers who should round out the starting rotation in 2023. The starting rotation is not bad, but other top teams in the league arguably have better units. With the strength of the Padres lineup that might not be a huge problem, but there are questions that remain.
How will Xander Bogaerts adjust to Petco Park?
There is no doubt that Xander Bogaerts will be a productive player in 2023, but there are questions about how much of a drop-off in offensive production there will be going from Fenway Park to Petco Park.
Fenway Park is one of the most friendly parks to play in for hitters, and Bogaerts definitely took advantage of the green monster. Some of those doubles he had off the wall are going to become fly outs at Petco, it is inevitable.
Bogaerts saw a decline in average exit velocity, barrel rate, hard-hit rate and expected slugging in 2022, according to baseball savant. That is a bit scary when going to a less hitter-friendly park. Even if Bogaerts is productive in 2023, it could be a signal of a decline as his contract ages.
Will the depth of the lineup perform?
The top four of Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts should be a force, but there are some questions about the rest of the lineup.
The performance of players like Jake Cronenworth and Nelson Cruz will be something to keep an eye on. The team also hopes for a bounce back from Trent Grisham. It will be interesting to see if Matt Carpenter will be able to replicate his 2022 performance with the Yankees at all. If the Padres just get solid contributions from he depth of the lineup, their offense should be dangerous.
How much will Fernando Tatis Jr. play?
When Fernando Tatis Jr. is on the field, he is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. He has 20 games remaining on his PED suspension that he was given in 2022, so we know he is going to miss that much time.
He has had some shoulder injuries in the past. So there is some concern about his health when he does make his return. The Padres need him to be healthy and playing alongside Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Juan Soto. If he is able to stay on the field once he comes back from suspension, the Padres could put together the best regular season since becoming a contender in the National League.