Position Battle: Fifth Starter

Position Battle: Fifth Starter

Coming into spring training there were a lot of question marks in the starting rotation.  Joey Luchessi and Eric Lauer came into camp as the clear favorites to be in the rotation after their performance last season. The starting five has taken shape as Chris Paddack has really impressed and has shown he is ready to take on major league hitters. Matt Strahm was lights out in the bullpen last season and has been particularly effective in spring training, as he has gotten stretched out to a starter’s workload. That leaves one coveted spot for a starter on the Opening Day Roster.

Usual Suspects:

The possible starters:

-Robbie Erlin (ML) 12 Starts, 27 Relief, 109 IP/4.21 ERA/3.31 FIP/1.138 WHIP

-Logan Allen (AA/AAA) 24 Starts, 1 Relief, 148.2 IP/2.54 ERA/1.038 WHIP

-Cal Quantrill (AA/AAA) 28 Starts, 148 IP/4.80 ERA/1.466 WHIP

-Bryan Mitchell (ML) 11 Starts, 5 Relief, 73 IP/5.42 ERA/6.11 FIP/1.753 WHIP

-Jacob Nix (ML) 9 Starts, 42.1 IP/7.02 ERA/5.83FIP/1.535 WHIP

-Luis Perdomo (ML) 10 Starts, 2 Relief, 44.2 IP/7.05 ERA/4.26 FIP/1.881 WHIP

-Brett Kennedy (ML) 6 Starts, 26.2 IP/6.75 ERA/6.31 FIP/1.8 WHIP



-Jacob Nix: After an uneven cameo in the majors at the end of last season, Nix had a decent shot at securing a role as a starter to open the season with a strong spring. On March 19th Nix was diagnosed with a low-grade UCL sprain reported by AJ Cassavell. He is slated to cease throwing for 6-8 prior to another evaluation.

-Brett Kennedy: After a strong start in the minors in 2018 he was rewarded with a handful of starts with the big league club. While he failed to impress, a solid performance could have landed Kennedy at the back end of the rotation or a swing man role. Instead a lat strain will keep the young hurler out for at least a month and he will need additional time to ramp back up to full strength.

Poor performance

-Luis Perdomo: The Rule V draftee in 2016 has been exceedingly ineffective in limited innings this spring. 7.2 IP/12.91 ERA/2.217 WHIP, Perdomo has not been given a starter’s workload and may end up being optioned to the minors.

-Bryan Mitchell: A couple effective starts late in 2018 resuscitated the faint hope that Mitchell could become a useful big leaguer but a mediocre spring 13 IP/4.85 ERA/1.462 WHIP has left him on the outside looking in. March 18th AJ Casavell reported Mitchell would not crack the starting rotation. He may not even make the opening day roster at this point although he is out of minor league options, which could force the club to keep him as a bullpen arm.


2019 Projections

Erlin 94 IP/4.09 ERA/4.04 FIP/1.2 WAR

Allen 140 IP/4.41 ERA/4.53 FIP/1.0 WAR

Quantrill 37 IP/4.84 ERA/4.86 FIP/.1 WAR

-Robbie Erlin: Currently the longest tenured player on the club, Erlin was far more effective in the bullpen last season. As a senior member of the staff Erlin will get a long look to earn the fifth starter spot and will make the club as a swingman even if he is left out of the starting five.

-Logan Allen: Acquired from the Red Sox in the trade for Craig Kimbrell, Allen was seen by most to be the fourth piece of that trade but has the potential to be the best of the bunch. Texas League Pitcher of the Year, Allen has climbed through the minors with a four pitch mix and a bulldog mentality on the mound.

-Cal Quantrill: The 2016 first round draft pick has yet to live up to his prospect pedigree. Many evaluators saw his stuff take a step back last season but he still features three above average pitches. This will be an important developmental season for Quantrill as other pitching prospects are passing him on the depth chart.

The Decision

My prediction is Logan Allen gets the nod for the last spot. While both he and Quantrill struggles in their last outing Allen has a more polished resume. Cal Quantrill struggled last season with the exception of a late season renaissance with El Paso. Quantrill was reassigned to minor league camp earlier during spring training and does not have a spot on the 40 man roster. Robbie Erlin’s performance may deserve the spot especially with a few rough outings by Quantrill and Allen but Bill Center reported he will start the year as the long man on March 23rd.

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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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