In 2012, only two pitchers on the entire San Diego Padres roster pitched more than 100 innings – Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez. The Padres were 29th in MLB in pitching WAR per Fangraphs.com. General manager Josh Byrnes has quite a challenge ahead of him to build an above average rotation, even in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Let’s look into the Padres options for 2013:
The locks: Volquez and Richard – Volquez had a good 2012 and is the ace of the staff and if he cuts down on his walk rate he can be a legitimate ace. Richard is more of an innings-eater type of pitcher and needs to up his strikeout rate but did put up a 4.16 xFIP in 218 innings pitched in 2012. These two will anchor the rotation and will have to pitch at close to an all-star level for the Padres to contend in 2013.
The third starter: Jason Marquis – Marquis finished his age 33 season where he split the season between the Minnesota Twins and the Padres. He was much better in San Diego where he posted his highest strikeout per nine innings rate (7.6) of his career in 93 innings. If the Padres have figured something out in Marquis’ mechanics then they could have stumbled upon an average third starter for the rotation.
The free for all:
Eric Stults – Stults is 33 and is a fly-ball pitcher who does not get many strikeouts. If he is the fourth starter then the younger starters in the Padres system are not progressing as quickly as the Padres hope.
Tyson Ross – The Padres traded for Ross this off-season where he will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation entering his age 26 season. He has pretty good velocity with three pitches but has been a replacement level pitcher so far. The Padres are hoping they can succeed with Ross like they did with Marquis and fix something mechanically so Ross can become an average big league starter.
Casey Kelly – The crown jewel of the Adrian Gonzalez trade has not caught up on his excellent athletic skills where he was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox as a shortstop. Kelly only showed a 90-91 MPH fastball (per Fangraphs.com) and there are concerns about his elbow. The Padres would love for him to put everything together and claim the fourth spot (or higher) in the rotation in the next couple of years.
These in-house options are why the Padres are rumoured to be interested in the remaining starters left on the free agent market. Let us know who you think are the options for the Padres rotation for 2013 in the comments below.