Let’s take a look at the current rotation for the San Diego Padres.
There is a lot of speculation going around town on whether or not the San Diego Padres will add players to their rotation for the upcoming season.
At the moment, eight men are vying for a starting spot in the rotation for the beginning of the 2022 season. The Padres presently have options, but you still get a sense that the team wishes to upgrade in the area. A.J. Preller and his knowledgable staff are always searching for new ways to improve the team and obtain their ultimate goal of a World Series title.
The Padres may have several men capable of starting each game, but there are also a few question marks.
Injuries to this group and youth within the mix lead to the concerns the upper management has heading into the new season. The modern game evolved to a point where a franchise needs depth in the rotation—the more, the merrier. The winter is the time to fortify your staff. A.J. Preller and his group are surely eyeing possible additions.
If the Padres want to go deep into the playoffs, they need options. Here is an early glimpse at the 2022 San Diego Padres rotation.
Locks for rotation
Blake Snell 1.3 WAR in 2021
If the Padres plan on competing in 2022, they will need Blake Snell to be consistent and pitch to his ability. During a stretch in 2021, Snell was flat-out dominant. The southpaw was unhittable in August of last season, going 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA and a 0.845 WHIP in six starts and 36 innings pitched. The left-handed pitcher threw well in September as well but went down with a strain late in the year to his mid-section. At 29, Snell is in the prime of his career and capable of getting better than we have seen so far in his career. At this point, the former AL Cy Young Award-winner may be considered the ace as his repertoire is dominant when he is on. That is the big question, though. Can he achieve consistency?
Yu Darvish 1.3 WAR in 2021
Darvish is more consistent than Snell, but there were stretches when he struggled with command and injuries in 2021. The veteran pitcher is 35 and in the twilight of his career, but you get a sense he is capable of one more big season. The strikeouts are still there, and so is his velocity on the fastball. Darvish is a five-time All-Star and could be considered the ace of the staff. Darvish made 30 starts last season despite battling nagging hip and back issues. If he can remain healthy in 2022, the Padres will surely get 10-12 wins, and nearly 200 innings pitched. The Padres need innings eaters, and Darvish is arguably the best bet for that to happen.
Joe Musgrove 3.5 WAR in 2021
The hometown hero established himself in the community and within the Padres’ staff. Musgrove proved to be the most productive pitcher in the whole staff in 2021, and at 29, some think he is only scratching the surface of his abilities. Musgrove made every start last season and proved to be extremely durable. The right-handed pitcher threw the first no-hitter in franchise history and was immediately adored by the fanbase. Musgrove will be counted on to eat innings during the 2022 season. The coming season will be Musgrove’s free-agent year, and he has all the motivation in the world to get better. Expect huge things in 2022 from Joe Musgrove.
Dinelson Lamet 0.2 WAR in 2021
Lamet has one of the best arms in the game of baseball. His slider is a weapon that baffles hitters consistently. His elbow is balky presently, and that is a huge concern. The UCL is damaged, and Lamet never went under the knife. There are huge red flags with Lamet, who could realistically go down at any moment. The Padres may choose to showcase him in the bullpen as they did in 2021. The ability is there for Lamet to be a Cy Young candidate, but his best pitch puts so much strain on his elbow. The Dominican pitcher has value, but it remains to be seen how the Padres will use him moving forward.
Mike Clevinger DNP in 2021
“Sunshine” is throwing bullpen sessions and is well on his way to contributing in 2022. The question is- how much can the Padres count on from the right-handed pitcher? Coming off his second Tommy John surgery, Clevinger will be monitored closely by Padres management. The expectation is that he will be ready in April and May, but the team should ease him into action. There will be some kind of innings limitation on the pitcher, and the Padres will surely want something from him come September and into the playoffs. Clevinger could be a huge part of the next season, or he could never throw another pitch for the Padres. That is the grim reality. Hopefully, the sun will shine again in San Diego.
Chris Paddack – 0.8 WAR in 2021
Last season was horrific for Paddack, who struggled with consistency throughout the year. There were glimpses of quality stuff from Paddack, but for the most part- he was bad. The location of his fastball suffered the whole year as he missed in the zone and was hit hard. The change-up also lost some of the swing-and-miss action it once displayed. Paddack has time to turn it around, but he went down late in the year with an elbow issue. Reports are that the elbow is still banged up, and he will enter the 2022 season with that huge concern from management. Chris Paddack is quite the enigma, and these new injury concerns put even more speculation on what his value is as a pitcher.
Youth on the horizon
Ryan Weathers -0.3 WAR in 2021
At a time in 2021, Weathers flashed the stuff of a frontline pitcher. He was striking batters out and showing an aggressive style of pitching. It all fell apart for the rookie pitcher around the time of a leg injury, so most believe that was a big factor. Weathers was productive in 2021 despite the numbers. The lefty took his lumps, but most pitchers learn a lot from that kind of thrashing. Weathers will probably be given the opportunity to start again for the Padres, but he showed value as a reliever also. The versatile young pitcher is 22 and has a very high floor. What will his ceiling be when it is all said and done. That is the real question?
MacKenzie Gore Minor Leagues in 2021
Gore is a complete mystery. Most would have figured he would have made his major league debut by now, especially after Gore went 9-2 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.832 WHIP in 101 innings during the 2019 season. The lefty battled mechanical issues in 2020 and regressed a little last year in the minors. There isn’t a clear idea of what Gore is dealing with, but you must figure that he will pitch for the Padres at some point in 2022. Will Gore be the dominant pitcher that most predicted from him? Or will he battle to stay in the majors? We will see in 2022.
*WAR totals courtesy baseballreference.com