Across Five Springs: Opening Day Pitchers

Across Five Springs: Opening Day Pitchers

AJ Preller took the helm of the Padres in late 2014 while the club was coming off a less than inspiring season. Known for his scouting prowess and nearly ludicrous work ethic, Preller had been the force behind a strong Texas international signing program. The hope was that he would be able to turn a well-regarded farm system into a playoff contender. This is a series looking at the past five seasons Opening Day rosters.

2015 Opening Day Starter: James Shields

As the offseason was getting late and a number of high profile names were already signed the Padres were hoping to land an impact starter to bolster a robust offseason that brought a plurality of MLB stars to Petco Park. “Big Game James” signed for a 4 year 75 million dollar contract. At that time it was the largest free agent contract in club history. This would go down as the best worst signing because he was traded for Erik Johnson and a unheralded prospect named Fernando Tatis Jr.

2016 Opening Day Starter: Tyson Ross

Acquired from the A’s in 2012 Tyson Ross was one of the best pitchers for the Friars from 2013-2015 earning him the inaugural start in 2016. After appearing on opening day Tyson Ross missed the entire 2016 campaign with a shoulder injury and later underwent surgery for the mysterious and infamous Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Ross never came back from his injury with the same stuff or results following his injury but has managed to latch onto a big league club every season.

2017 Opening Day Starter: Jhoulys Chacin

Chacin was a low cost signing to eat some innings for the Padres since they started their full-scale rebuild. Despite a lackluster supporting cast Chacin put up a solid 3.89 ERA across 32 starts and 180.1 IP.  He parlayed his performance in San Diego into a two-year deal with Milwaukee.

2018 Opening Day Starter: Clayton Richard

Richard was on his second stint with the Padres in 2018 mostly providing veteran leadership and eating innings. His opening day start marks the weakest starting rotation of the rebuild. He ended up with a 5.33 ERA in 158.2 IP and sent to the Blue Jays in was a salary dump trade during the offseason.

2019 Opening Day Starter: Eric Lauer

Lauer was a bit of surprise to start the 2019 season although the rotation was certainly short on experience. The rotation did not have many proven options to make the start and in fact the Padres only had four starters on the official opening day roster. (Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, Chris Paddack, and Matt Strahm) Lauer performed just shy of a league average pitcher (95 ERA+) but had fits pitching in Colorado which hurt his bottom line statistics. Eric Lauer was sent to the Brewers along with infielder Luis Urias in exchange for Trent Grisham and Zach Davies.

2020 Opening Day Starter

The start of the season is in flux due to the CORVID-19 pandemic restrictions with early reports hoping to see baseball start in May. It is highly unlikely that 2020 will be a full 162 games, which could benefit Dinelson Lamet coming back from TJ and Garrett Richards lack of durability. Chris Paddack seems to have a leg up in the competition for the Opening Day nod due to his strong rookie season and his innings platform. Lamet has the pure stuff to push for the honor of Opening Day starter but a high BB/9 in the majors and recent injury history could see him in the two or three spot. Richards has an outside shot at the inaugural start in a shortened season as the most experienced arm on the staff but his injury history likely pushes him down the depth chart.

TKF contributor Chris Yumen. Follow on Twitter @CySouthbay

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I have been following the Padres since my first game in 1996. I grew up in the South Bay and graduated from a local university. I have since moved to the Northeast for work but my passion for My Padres remain. Look forward to watching the Pads as perennial playoff contenders.

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