“The Letter P….P-for Padres…Pitching…Pathetic”
San Diego Padres pitching. It starts with questions marks, and ends with even more question marks.
Depending on whom you listen to, there is either false hope in all the statements from GM-AJ Preller, a barrel full of bullcrap from Manager Andy Green, or amazing belief in pitching coach Darren Balsly.
Yes there is great hope for ‘tomorrow’, with the array of young arms in the Padres minor league system, but the large majority of those hurlers have to prove they can do well at AA-San Antonio, or even at AAA-El Paso before you can buy into the sale pitch they will succeed at Petco Park.
And the promise of ‘tomorrow’ will come after ‘162-todays’, the 2018 schedule, and we cannot set aside what we saw in 2017..
The scoreboard does not lie at Petco Park.
On paper, the pitching staff the Friars have taken to their Cactus League camp, is horrible. Granted games are played on the field, but the stat sheets of the 10-starting pitchers they think can fill out the rotation, paints a picture of more-failure than success.
The Padres had the worst run differential of any team in major league baseball last year, and the starting rotation they are looking at bringing back went a combined (45-62) with an amazingly high (4.83-ERA) from guys in the rotation.
Gone from last year’s starting group is Joules Chacin who went (13-10) with a best (3.89-ERA). He parlayed that into a (2Y-16M) contract to go to Milwaukee.
The Detroit Tigers, in the beginning phase of a painful tear down, had a (5.36-ERA) worst in baseball. The woeful Cincinnati Reds, playing in that bandbox Great American Ballpark, trotted out a staff that had a (5.17-ERA). The once promising Mets, ripped by surgeries and injuries to all but one starter, staggered home with a (5.01-ERA). The Baltimore Orioles, dragged down by bad arm issues, finished with a (4.97-ERA).
Yes the Padres will send out the kiddie corps duo of Donelson Lamet, who jumped from AA to the majors, and was competitive with a (4.57-ERA), and logged lots of good innings around an occasional bad one.
Luis Perdomo has been force fed two years in a row, but had just 8-wins last year and a still high (4.67-ERA).
Clayton Richard, hired to be an innings eater, will give you all he can, but even he cannot hide from an (8-15) record and a (4.79), despite lots of starts and innings.
After that, it’s anybody’s guess, but everyone of the other starters throwing bullpens this week in Arizona, had bad numbers.
Bryan Mitchell came from the Yankees, where for four years he has been trying to land a slot in the New York rotation. His career ERA (4.94) in the majors. He had a (4.16) earned run average thru 8-seasons in the minors. The Padres hope he can become a trustworthy starter, but they have no baseline of info he can, at least yet.
Tyson Ross returns hoping to recapture the magic. He went (26-35) in San Diego and got to pitch in an All Star game before a blood clot and surgery derailed him. He is just (35-56) in his big league career, has pitched in just 13-gamesin two years, and last year, coming off the surgery, he had a (7.71-ERA).
Chris Young went (33-25) with the Padres in his first stint, but has had a history of health issues and bad luck. Neck injuries, shoulder capsule surgery, labrum surgery, an oblique injury, hit in the head with a linedrive. Once upon a time, you’d respect his (3.95) career ERA, but last year he rocketed up to a (7.50) mark.
Speaking to the past, there was a time people in Houston and Colorado thought, hoped, Jordan Lyles would be something special in the rotation. The Astros and Rockies got rid of him with a (28-48) lifetime record and a (5.43) ledger. Last year, he was at (7.75).
Three other potential starters are all coming off major surgeries. No one knows what they will be like if healthy. We do know there were few flashes of success when they were healthy.
Matt Strahm came from Kansas City in the Ryan Buchter-Trevor Cahill-Brandon Mauer transaction. He had 67-stirkouts in 56-innings out of the Royals bullpen, before he went down with knee surgery.. But he also took a (5.45-ERA) with him on the disabled list.
Colin Rea had elbow surgery, which negated his trade to the Miami Marlins. Promise yes, but not fully realized, with his (4.69-ERA)
Robbie Erlin had elbow surgery, and in spurts looks like he belongs, with a (9-12) career mark, but again a 4.54-ERA.
Yes the Padres have a deep bullpen, headed by the gem that is Brad Hand, but you fear overwork there. There is more quality there than there is in this group of ten rotation.
And not to be left out, reliever Carter Capps is coming off blood clot surgery, and Miguel Diaz had a forearm procedure very early last season.
In a division led by Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Madison Bumgarner (Giants), Zack Grienke (Arizona) and a Rockies team that just spent 100-M to sign three free agent relievers, the Padres don’t matchup at all.
So you can be excited by what might be in the pipeline, the top 5-arms in the farm system, but you have to be realistic that the Calvin Quantrill-Joey Luchessi-Eric Lauer era could be 12-to-18 months away.
You have to have a dose of reality in your clubhouse coffee, that the 10-names I just mentioned , come opening day, will have a collective (5.62-ERA) from last season.
That’s right (5.62) which is worse than the four worst pitching staffs we saw last summer.
AJ Preller’s optimism seems off base. Andy Green’s ideas all these pitchers have to seize the moment, seems far fetched. And unless Darren Balsley has easy access to Holy Water from Lourdes, I just don’t see any way this team’s arms, will be able to compliment the Padres bats.
I know better days are coming, but based on this starting rotation, I think you are signing up for another 90-loss season.
Maybe the only solution is to start a new marketing campaign. Buy a season ticket, get the chance to make a start in the Padres rotation. It cannot be any worse than what this team appears ready to run out there this year.