What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2013 title for all 30 teams.
The cool thing about streaks is that they'll eventually end. In their 45th season of existence, the San Diego Padres ended their streak of season without a World Series championship, winning the title in 2013 despite a starting rotation that was one of the most disappointing in baseball.
Harping on the Padres rotation is a fruitless endeavor. Yes, the rotation was bad. After all, they were counting on Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, and Jason Marquis to provide 90-100 starts this year. They did that, but weren't impressive in doing it, combining for 97 starts and 541 innings with a 3.93 ERA. That's all well and good, but when those are your top three starters…yikes.
But where the Padres really thrived, perhaps surprisingly, was offensively. The Padres haven't been known for great offense in Petco Park, but the team's bats delivered in spades in 2013. Despite missing most of April with a broken thumb, third baseman Chase Headley still managed to hit 28 homers with a .921 OPS in a solid follow-up to his breakout 2012 campaign. Center fielder Cameron Maybin built on a solid second half of 2012 by posting a .767 OPS with 12 homers and 35 stolen bases. Left fielder Carlos Quentin hit 33 homers while logging a career high 606 plate appearances.
The most surprising offensive star on San Diego's 2013 roster was rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who hit 21 homers in his debut campaign en route to winning the NL Rookie of the Year award. Gyorko was the first Padres' Rookie of the Year winner since Benito Santiago in 1987, and his performance this year was an absolute treat for San Diego fans who have seen numerous second basemen pass through the team over the last 20 years without a franchise player among the bunch.
The Padres bullpen, always a strength over the last few seasons, didn't disappoint in 2013. Closer Huston Street struck out 71 with a 1.92 ERA in 61 innings, saving 35 games. Setup man Luke Gregerson struck out 75 in 73 innings, and had a 2.22 ERA. The rest of the crew wasn't amazing, but held their own in 2013, with Dale Thayer largely leading the pack in front of Gregerson and Street.
San Diego's 88 wins were enough to get them in the playoffs as the second wild card in the National League, and they knocked off the Braves in the single game playoff. In the NLDS, the Padres rallied to beat the Reds in five games before dispatching the Giants and former manager Bruce Bochy in the NLCS. Finally in the World Series, the Padres were matched up with the Texas Rangers, and defeated Texas in five games to bring a championship to southern California. Perhaps ironically, it was the quietest of the three teams in SoCal this past winter that ended up as baseball's champions, perhaps proving that the title isn't won in the offseason.