Spring preview: Padres' rebound contenders

San Diego looks to Myers, Kemp and Cashner to bounce back

February 9th, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- With the start of Spring Training around the corner, MLB.com will preview the Padres by taking a glance at several areas of the team leading up to the report date for pitchers and catchers on Feb. 18.

The Padres, coming off a 74-88 season, won't head to Arizona with a revamped roster as they did a year ago under general manager A.J. Preller.

But, to be sure, there have been significant changes. In order for the team to improve on its disappointing finish of a year ago, it will certainly need for a handful of players to bounce back from a substandard 2015.

Here's a look at players on the rebound:

1B Wil Myers: A nagging left wrist injury, followed by surgery to remove a bone spur on top of the hand, limited Myers to only 60 games in his first season in San Diego. He was just starting to take off offensively when he was hurt in May -- posting a .291/.340/.493 line with five home runs. He was also starting to take to the position he'll likely be at in 2016: first base. In order for the Padres to have a chance in the competitive National League West, they'll need a healthy -- and productive -- year from Myers.

OF Matt Kemp: You're probably wondering why Kemp, who led the team in RBIs (100), appears on this list. It's simple: his slow start. Kemp hit .250/.291/.382 in the first half when a poor early showing by the Padres essentially torpedoed their season. In fact, Kemp didn't hit his second home run of the year until June 6. Late last season, Preller talked about the importance of Kemp getting off to a fast start. It will be interesting to watch how that manifests itself during Spring Training -- more at-bats, fewer at-bats. Stay tuned.

SP Andrew Cashner: There's no denying Cashner was unlucky to some extent a year ago, as the team's porous defense contributed greatly to the 22 unearned runs he allowed over his career-high 31 starts. His location was off nearly the entire season, as his sinker wasn't nearly as effective as it has been. Cashner will need to cut his walk rate down (8.2 percent in 2015) and work deeper into games (eight starts of five or fewer innings). This is his walk year, and he's been mentioned as a pitcher the team could move in a deal. If the Padres are to have even the slightest chance of competing in the NL West, Cashner will need to have a bounceback year.