First Half (35-35): 3rd in Cal League South Division
Second Half (29-41): 5th in Cal League South Division
The Lake Elsinore Storm entered 2017 with high hopes for their starting rotation.
Although top prospect Anderson Espinoza was shut down just a few days prior to the Padres Opening Day (and eventually had TJ surgery), the starting rotation was by far the best part of the team in 2017.
That is going to be the main focus of the recap.
- Lucchesi dazzled with his “funky” delivery, mixing and matching speeds en route to a 2.52 ERA and a 3.79 FIP in fourteen starts. He struck out 95 batters in 78 2/3 innings. (side note: check and see how much his delivery models Clayton Kershaw. s/o to @TooMuchMortons on Twitter for pointing it out)
- Cal Quantrill wasn’t exactly unhittable in the Cal League, but he was still very effective. He struck out 76 batters in 73 2/3 innings with the Storm in 2017, registering a 3.67 ERA and a 3.87 FIP. It is important to remember that this was Quantrill’s first full season of pitching since 2014, so numbers aren’t the primary focus here. He managed to stay healthy the whole season, which was the #1 priority. His work with the Storm was rewarded with an appearance in the 2017 MLB Futures Game.
- There were some injury and velocity concerns with Eric Lauer coming out of spring training, but his performance with the Storm was fantastic. He struck out 84 hitters in 67 2/3 innings in Lake Elsinore with a 2.79 ERA/3.17 FIP. He was promoted in early July.
Another 2016 draft pick, Jesse Scholtens, spent the majority of his season in Lake Elsinore. Following six starts in Fort Wayne, Scholtens pitched in 19 games (18 starts) for the Storm. He put up a 3.98 ERA in 110 2/3 innings, striking out 81. Scholtens, a ninth-round pick who signed out of college, relies a lot on location to be successful. The stuff is not overpowering; but as evidenced by his numbers in the hitter-friendly California League, he knows how to pitch.
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