So far the San Diego Padres have filled three spots out of five on their starting rotation. Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez and Jason Marquis figure to be the main anchor for the staff. After that there are almost a dozen different pitchers of all levels of experience going for the final two. Last season, top prospect Casey Kelly made it to the big league level for a few games. Going into this spring, will he and another young pitcher be able to fill those spots?
Casey Kelly had an up and down year at best in 2012 but he did finish the season on the major league roster. That might give him a leg up on the competition. Considering how many options there are for those spots, it is doubtful that the job will be handed to him in any way. That is fine with Kelly however. He harbors no delusions that he will be handed anything and fully intends to fight his way to winning one of the spots.
Kelly and the others might get a tough bit of competition from Robbie Erlin. The left hander has a career ERA in the minor leagues of 2.64 in 56 starts across various levels. His double-A numbers weren’t worst at all. He went 9-3 with a 3.29 ERA and 159 strikeouts over two seasons. Whether he is fully prepared for the big leagues is a question but he could at the very least get a look. His chances are longer than Kelly’s but the distant possibility that two rookie pitchers could win those spots is intriguing for sure.