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Posted By Jeff Burke On Feb 11 2011 @ 12:14 pm In San Diego | No Comments
The Padres will only go as far as their pitching will take them. So will the Padres pitching staff be able to match their efforts from the year prior? The only reason the Padres were a team above .500 last year was in large part due to the strong and unexpected season from Mat Latos, along with the consistent outings from Garland and Richard. Although the padres used their deep bull-pen to bring in some talent in the off-season, I do believe they will not loose beat and continue to be a dominating group. The best bull-pen in baseball for that matter. The core is still intact with Bell, Adamsand Gregerson. Along with Thatcher who can get out any lefty and Qualls who struggled last year but has had some good years in the past.
Where the Padres surprisingly have a big question mark is in a couple of spots in the starting rotation. Mat Latos is a young star, he has very dominating stuff and is a 23 year old beast at 6’6″ 225. I’m really excited to have this kid as the ace of the staff for hopefully many years to come. For now my big concern is how we all saw him break down at the end of the season. The Padres really babied him along throughout the season with missing starts and limited pitch counts, and he still ran out of juice. Which makes me wonder is it really a good tactic to baby a pitcher who should be able to handle the work load. Clayton Richard is good and getting better, a very solid guy in the middle of the rotation. Another obvious concern in the rotation is who is going to pick up the 200 innings and 14 wins that Jon Garland contributed last season. 200 innings is a big number and I don’t think people realize just how important Jon Garland was to the Padres last year. I have always liked Garland and was happy to see the Padres sign him a year ago, but I was still surprised to see what how he performed for us last year. I just don’t know if Aaron Harang will be able to do the same. He is also a guy who I have liked over the years but I think 200 innings and 14 wins out of the “Harangatang” wouldbe very wishful thinking. If healthy for a full season, Harang will be another great signing for Hoyer. I would plug Stauffer into the rotation in the four spot hope he can build on last season. He showed a lot down the stretch last year and I really think he will be the key player for the Padres in 2011. If the Padres can get out of Stauffer what they were hoping to get out of Correia last year (180 I.P. and double digit wins) it could make or break the season. Finally the fifth spot in the rotation. Who will be the Pads fifth starter in 2011;Luebke, LeBlanc or Moseley? The answer is no one, or all of the above. What the Padres have done over the past few years is have a revolving door in the fifth spot and over the season have guys moving in and out based on who has the hot hand. I like Luebke, he has good stuff and I think the kid should get a chance to get the fifth start to start the season. I don’t know much about Moseley, I only saw him pitch a few times in New York. I do like the idea of a guy coming from the A.L. and a hitters ball park over to pitcher friendly Petco, that is always a confidence boost. I would put LeBlanc in long relief and only use him in the starting rotation if someone were to go down with an injury.
Starting Rotation Prediction- 1. Mat Latos 2. Clayton Richard 3. Aaron Harang 4. Tim Stauffer 5. Moseley
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