Grading the 2019 San Diego Padres’ starting rotation.
The San Diego Padres finished the 2019 season with a record of 70-92.
One of the main issues was the consistency of the starting pitching rotation. The Padres had 16 different pitchers start games this year, and it resulted in the team ending the year with a 4.60 ERA, which ranked 18th in the MLB.
Here is a review on every starting pitcher who had double-digit starts on the season:
Joey Lucchesi: B-
Joey Lucchesi was the Padres’ workhorse this season, leading the team in starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts. His 4.18 ERA was third of the team’s starters, and while it is not the best, he was somewhat consistent throughout the year. Lucchesi was a solid starter throughout the season but performed better in the first half. If he can pitch in 2020 as he did in the first half of 2019, Lucchesi should be a lock in the rotation behind Paddack, Lamet, and Richards. His strong beginning and sustainability throughout the season earn Joey Lucchesi a B-.
Eric Lauer: C+
The 2019 Opening Day starter, Eric Lauer, was not the ideal #1 starter to start the season for the team. He underwhelmed much, finishing with subpar numbers and not looking like a piece that can make Padres fans feel great about for the future. His second-half performance was not good, holding an ERA of over 5.00 after the All-Star Break. His ERA also got pushed up by three rough starts in hitter-friendly Colorado, where he allowed eight, five, and four runs. He was able to stay healthy for most of the season, giving him the second-most starts on the team and an opportunity to showcase his talents to see if he is a part of the future rotation. Eric Lauer may be part of it next year, but his performance this year was underwhelming, giving him a C+.
Chris Paddack: A-
Chris Paddack was not supposed to be on the roster to start the season. On the eve of Opening Day, the two Padres veterans and (new) leaders Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado reportedly had a meeting with Owner Ron Fowler and convinced him to put Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr. on the roster. Although it loses a year of control for each, Fowler agreed. Any Padres fan will tell you this was one of the best decisions they have seen. Paddack began the season lights-out and was one of the best starting pitchers in the majors in the first half of the season. He finished the first half with superb numbers: a 2.84 ERA, 87 Ks, a 0.92 WHIP, and a .194 opponent batting average. Paddack gave the Padres the ace they were looking for. He hit a rough patch later in the season and struggled, as all rookies do, but he has given Padres fans hope for the future. A B+ could have been given, but I went with A- given the incredible first half Chris Paddack had.
Cal Quantrill: C+
Cal Quantrill’s rookie season was filled with growing pains. He had a few solid outings but also had many rough patches of starts throughout the season. In a three-game stretch from August to September, he allowed eight earned runs in all three. Many expect miserable stretches as a rookie, but these performances were awful. He had a good amount of starts where he looked like a possible rotation/long reliever for next season but did not show consistency very often, especially late in the season. He had some starts earlier in the season that warrant an average grade, so Cal Quantrill gets a C+ for the season.
Matt Strahm: C-
Matt Strahm was only a starting pitcher for the first half of the season, and in that time, he was two different pitchers. From April 7 to May 27, he had nine straight starts with three or less earned runs. He looked solid in those nine games. Six of his other starts had him yielding at least four earned runs, which ballooned his first-half ERA to 5.42. This poor stretch keeps me from giving Strahm a higher grade despite his strong start to the season, leading to Strahm receiving a C-.
Dinelson Lamet, who missed the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, returned on July 4 of the 2019 season. Lamet allowed four or fewer runs in all 14 starts on the season, ending with a 4.07 ERA, which was second of the team’s starters. He had very strong strikeout numbers, as he had four 10-strikeout games and struck out 105 batters in 73 innings. These performances have given Padres fans hope that Lamet can be a solid two or three starter for the team next season, leading to a B grade for Dinelson Lamet.
Nick Margevicius had an abysmal season for the Padres. In five of his first six starts, he allowed two or fewer earned runs. After that stretch, he unraveled, and his ERA pre-All Star Break jumped to 6.41. After the Break, Margevicius was sent to the bullpen. As a rookie who did not have high expectations coming into the season, he was placed in the rotation. His ERA, along with his 1.58 WHIP, gives Margevicius a D and will likely keep him out of the rotation, and maybe even cost him a roster spot next season.
The Padres starting rotation in 2019 would get a C- grade overall on the season. They were very inconsistent throughout the year and made it difficult for Padres fans to watch at some points. If they want to contend for an NL Wild Card come 2020, they will need to show consistency throughout the rotation. Veterans will need to step up, and maybe the team should sign one or two quality arms to improve the starting five.