Predicting the Padres' Opening Day roster

San Diego enters Spring Training with six big league-caliber outfielders

February 10th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- It's a fool's errand to project an Opening Day roster before Spring Training begins. Future transactions, injuries and performance will make a major impact on the Padres' decision-making over the next few weeks.
Lucky for you, I am that fool. Here's an early guess at what the Padres' 25-man squad might look like when they break camp ahead of their March 28 opener against San Francisco:
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Catcher (2):,
Hedges has a secure place on the Opening Day roster. The only question: How often will he play? Is he the regular starter, or would he split time with Mejia, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 catching prospect? Perhaps could work his way onto the roster with his bat, or maybe veteran finds his way into the mix.
First base (1):
Hosmer needs a bounce-back season after struggling in his Padres debut last year. The good news? He's done it before. In fact, he's got a tendency to rotate between solid seasons and poor ones. In his four odd-numbered years in the big leagues, Hosmer owns a .303/.360/.467 slash line and 12.7 WAR.
Second base (1):
Kinsler's the projected Opening Day starter in San Diego, but only until top prospect arrives to play shortstop. That's when will slide from short to second base, leaving Kinsler in something of a utility role. The 36-year-old veteran free-agent signing will also get plenty of reps at third base during camp.
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Third base (1): Ty France (or free-agent signing)
The Padres are still pursuing a handful of third-base options -- including the biggest prize at the position, . If they come away empty-handed, France is the likeliest starter, perhaps sharing time with utility men , and eventually Kinsler, too. France, 24, batted .267/.355/.464 with 22 dingers between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
Shortstop (1): Urias
Urias is the club's presumed second baseman of the future. He's also the shortstop of the present. In the Minors, Urias split time between the two spots, and he's more than capable at short, though he'd likely slide to second when the lefty-hitting Garcia starts.

Utility (2): Garcia, Quiroz
With the current roster construction, Garcia and Quiroz -- lefty hitters in a righty-heavy infield -- should get plenty of platoon starts. Their versatility makes them roster favorites, though , and will get looks, as well.
Outfield (5): , , , ,
It's still possible San Diego deals from its glut of outfielders, though it's looking less likely by the day. The Padres wanted spring competition, and they're going to get it. A big league-caliber outfielder could be left off the Opening Day squad. In this scenario, it's .
Starting pitcher (5): , , , , (or free-agent signing)
Lucchesi and Lauer are in. Erlin and Strahm, meanwhile, have secured their roster places, but don't know yet whether they'll be pitching in the rotation or the 'pen. Mitchell, , , , Logan Allen and will also be competing for spots, but don't be surprised if the Padres add another arm to that mix by the start of camp.
Relief pitcher (7): , , , , , ,
It's still possible that Strahm or Erlin (or both) moves to the 'pen, presumably taking Diaz's job as long man. Keep an eye on as well, given that the Padres might have Castillo as the only other left-hander in their relief corps.
Here's the roster projection in full, including two players expected to be placed on the 60-day injured list when the season begins:
Austin Hedges
Francisco Mejia
Eric Hosmer
Ian Kinsler
Luis Urias
Ty France (or free-agent signing)
Esteban Quiroz
Greg Garcia
Wil Myers
Hunter Renfroe
Franmil Reyes
Manuel Margot
Travis Jankowski
Joey Lucchesi
Eric Lauer
Robbie Erlin
Matt Strahm
Bryan Mitchell (or free-agent signing)
Kirby Yates
Craig Stammen
Jose Castillo
Robert Stock
Phil Maton
Trey Wingenter
Miguel Diaz
RHP (Tommy John surgery)
RHP (Tommy John surgery)