All Filler, No Killer

According to RotoChamp the Padres rotation will be as follows:
1. Jhoulys Chacin – 4.07 ERA
2. Clayton Richard – 4.14 ERA
3. Trevor Cahill – 4.14 ERA
4. Christian Friedrich – 4.14 ERA
5. Luis Perdomo – 4.77 ERA

Do you see the trend already? Yep, a rotation that all have ERAs over 4. I still remember *shudder* the Red Sox “Who’s the Ace?” era (error). It was bad, there was some wild belief that the rotation could drag the team to the 6th and let the bullpen take care of the rest. It did not work. Back to the Padres though, could this rotation perform without relying on a bullpen that’s drawing a lot of interest? Well, lets have a look.

padres-rotation-striekouts

Hmm, I don’t think we were expecting that (I certainly wasn’t), all the pitchers in this rotation made a rebound last year.

Wait, lets quickly check their innings pitched, I have a bad feeling about this. Maybe they all pitched more innings in 2016 compared to 2015?

2015 IP then 2016 IP
Chacin –     26 IP     143 IP
Richard –    42 IP    67 IP
Cahill –       17 IP     65 IP
Friedrich – 58 IP    129 IP
Perdomo –  N/A     146 IP

The worrying thing for me, is the fact Perdomo is just ahead of Chacin for innings pitched last year. This is a guy (Perdomo) who hadn’t made it beyond High-A prior to being selected by the Padres in the Rule 5 draft. So did their walks increase with a similar rate to strikeouts?

padres-rotation-walks

Well, that blows that theory, looks almost like the same chart.

The problem we have, is trying to compare their histories when they all have had such varied roles. Maybe FIP will help us?

padres-rotation-fip

Apart from Richard in 2013 these guys have been fairly consistent. Lets compare them to one of my favourite inconsistent and incredibly frustrating pitchers, that’s right, some of you may have noticed his little name greyed out on the last graph. It’s Clay Buchholz.

Padres Plus Buchholz FIP.png

The first thing I noticed was between 2012 and 2016, Buchholz’s FIP spells W, for “What the fu…”. My plan was to add Buchholz as another 4+ ERA guy, but I just couldn’t stop looking at his W.
But seriously, for 2016 this Padres rotation has a FIP avg of 4.31, with the league average being 4.19. It’s not looking good.

Lets take a look at the rotation again, but add some vital extras. Money and years left.

  1. Jhoulys Chacin – 4.07 ERA, $1,750,000 for 2017 and an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after that.
  2. Clayton Richard – 4.14 ERA, $1,750,000 for 2017 UFA after that.
  3. Trevor Cahill – 4.14 ERA, $1,750,000 for 2017 UFA after that.
  4. Christian Friedrich – 4.14 ERA, $1,790,000 for 2017 then Arb years 2 & 3 then UFA in 2020.
  5. Luis Perdomo – 4.77 ERA, $535,000 earliest Arb eligible 2019.

So, this rotation isn’t great. But lets look at the things it has going for it.

  • Three of the Five are gone after this year.
  • The other two are entering arbitration or earning $535,000 until 2019.
  • The future looks so much better.

Future you say? Well, on all the top prospects lists the Padres have featured three pitchers on all of them.

Plenty of prospects websites do a great job of covering prospects, I’m not going to try and scout here.

Rank. 21 (Keith Law and Baseball America)
Anderson Espinoza rhp ETA 2019
Trade from the Boston Red Sox for Drew Pomeranz

Keith Law, Baseball America and the majority of the scouting world are still high on Anderson Espinoza despite a 4.50 ERA in low-A. This higher than expected ERA could see him spending a little more time in the minors than first thought. That being said, he’s pitching 94-95mph with his four-seam, for a 19 year old (in MARCH), that’s impressive.

He’s expected to make the majors in 2019, which would be incredible considering he’s 19 IN MARCH.

Prospect Pipeline Video

Rank. 23 (Keith Law) & 96 (Baseball America)
Cal Quantrill rhp ETA 2018
Drafted 26th Round (794th Overall) by the Yankees in 2013 – Did not sign
Drafted 1st Round (8th Overall) in 2016

Keith Law is high on Quantrill, despite spending all of his final Stanford season on the sidelines recovering from Tommy John.

“Quantrill was electric all summer, pitching often at 94-97 mph with a grade-70 changeup and a solid slider, with his command wobbly as you’d expect from a guy less than 18 months off the surgeon’s table.”

Quantrill has really split Keith Law’s ranking and Baseball America, most certainly down to the Tommy John surgery, but he seemed to impress guys during his futures game at Petco in October last year. Expected in the Majors for 2018.

Prospect Pipeline Video

Rank. 80 (Keith Law) & 98 (Baseball America)
Adrian Morejon lhp ETA 2021
Signed as an international free agent in July 2016

Signed as an international free agent for $11m and due to the Padres already exceeding their international bonus pool they had to pay 100% tax on Morejon. So he actually cost $22m. But judging by the write ups around the standard prospects outlets, he was one of the most promising young Cuban pitchers available at the time. Morejon hasn’t pitched competitively since he was 16 (he’s now 19), so it will he will be a very interesting one to watch considering how much the Padres shelled out for him.

Keith Law doesn’t have much to say about Morejon, except he’s barely 6 feet tall, but is strong and have a durable wide frame. He throws 93-97mph and a four-pitch mix led by a hard knuckle-change. Expected to hit the Majors in 2021

FanGraphs Video

This year might be a year to forget for the Padres when we talk about their rotation. This clearly is Filler and No Killer. Padres fans could try to enjoy the highly-rated bullpen, and Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Bartolo (oops) smashing homers into the Bleachers. At least you won’t have to watch Kemp strolling round the outfield anymore.

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