Padres Pitching-More Questions Than Answers”
Padres spring training, we’re almost done, but they don’t have many answers.
Four weeks ago, I previewed the biggest challenges as the Padres headed to the Cactus League.
The question, did they have enough starting pitching to start the season?
They hauled in 10-potential starters, three of whom were established. Seven others to battle for the final two final spots.
Here we are, two weeks out from opening day, and the Padres still haven’t figured it out.
CLAYTON RICHARD….Moves to the front of the line, reliable, competitive, trustworthy, but he won just 8-games last year. But he is likely the opening day guy.
DINELSON LAMET….Growing his repertoire, he has had a decent spring, and it should translate into more wins this season.
LUIS PERDOMO…..Now headed to his third season, he has not had a good spring. It seems as if he reached a plateau and has never gotten off it. They need him to win games and get his ERA under 4.00, but it does not seem possible.
TYSON ROSS….So far so good, looking to recapture the dominance he had just a couple of years ago with the Padres before leaving. He’s had four solid outing, one shaky one, but looks healthy, and seems ready to position himself in the front of the rotation.
CHRIS YOUNG….At age 39, who knows how long he can hold up. He’s been as solid as Ross in all his spring training starts, but he’s had so many injuries and setbacks, you wonder how many starts he can have before he breaks down.
JORDAN LYLES…Out of options, maybe about to go off the roster. He has just never recaptured the promise he had in Houston and Colorado. An ERA nearly 13.00, he probably winds up at El Paso, unless someone claims him on waivers.
MATT STRAHM…..There’s velocity there, but he’s coming off knee surgery, and this may take time. They don’t know whether he’s a reliever, with zip on his fastball, or could possibly a starter, but he’s been behind the curve. He’s not stretched out, and he does not have options left. Likely to start the season in the bullpen.
COLIN REA…..Coming off surgery on the forearm, then a setback with the shoulder, he probably starts the season on the disable list, and that likely means a bunch of starts at El Paso, but not till mid-spring.
ROBBIE ERLIN….There’s intrigue in his crafty stuff, but he has been out over a year with elbow surgery. His outings this spring have been solid, but not dominant, but he might not be ready for stressful starts yet. The options come into play here. Maybe sometime this season, but not at the start.
JOEY LUCHESSI….The college draft pick left-hander has had the best spring of anyone, with an ERA (1.32) and hasn’t been overwhelmed by anyone. His next two starts might tell the tale, because he has yet to go beyond 3-innings in any spring start. But he has been impressive and not flustered.
ERIC LAUER….Another from that draft class, he has progressed almost simultaneously with Luchessi, and has had three decent outings. His stuff might not be ready, but it appears he is close to at least earning a look somewhere in the first half of the season. Not ready yet.
CAL QUANTRILL….Don’t call it a disappointment, but the high first round pick has not dominated in his outings as he moved up the ladder , and was sent out to the minor league camp after just a couple of appearances. As high a pick as he was, he’s not ready yet, heading into his 3rd year. Barring some type of break thru season at AA-San Antonio, he might be a year away.
KEEPING SCORE….If Ross and Young have indeed recaptured their past, then the rotation will be more than competitive especially since it appears this will be a better batting order. Somehow, someway, Perdomo has to move to the next level. Luchessi and Erlin might be the wildcards in all this.
GM AJ Preller has some depth he might be able to use as trade bait, Teams will call about former first round draft pick Hunter Renfroe, but does San Diego really want to move the 28-home run hitting second year major leaguers. Utility guys Travis Jankowski, and Corey Spangenberg might bring you a marginal either at best.
Of course there is uncertainty lots of other places in the division, aside from the defending first place Dodgers, with Kershaw and friends. The Giants look suspect beyond Madison Bumgarner. Arizona’s Zach Grienke has shoulder and groin issues and has dropped velocity. And Colorads array of kid pitchers haven’t had strong springs yet.
Two weeks and counting, running out of time, and still lots of unanswered questions. Padres baseball is about to start, but they don’t look ready, at.least not on the hill.