Padres reportedly interested in RHP Seth Lugo

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

Several baseball reporters have linked the San Diego Padres to 33-year-old right-handed pitcher Seth Lugo. With limited options remaining for starting pitching, this is not a surprise.

Lugo, exclusively a reliever for the New York Mets in each of the last two years, has made it clear that he wants to start in 2023. Starting is not new to Lugo, who primarily started in 2017, with starts sprinkled in 2016, 2018, and 2020 in New York.

His one season starting did not merit a ton of success, posting a 4.71 ERA in 18 starts across 101 innings. His only worse statistical season was in 2020, when nearly half of his outings were starts.

Despite the lackluster starting, Lugo anchored the New York bullpen. The lifelong Met has 237 relief appearances and tallied 300 innings from 2014 to 2022, and boasts an impressive 2.91 ERA. His 4.35 ERA in 38 career starts is nowhere near as impressive.

The last two seasons were impressive for Lugo, pitching 111.1 innings with a 3.56 ERA and 1.222 WHIP while striking out 124 batters.

Lugo features a five-pitch arsenal that includes two fastballs, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup that he throws once in a blue moon.

His curveball was his most used and effective pitch in 2022, being thrown 33.5% of the time, the highest of his career. Over half of his pitches were fastballs, both of which averaged 94.4 MPH, with four-seamers being thrown 29% of the time and sinkers thrown on 22% of pitches.

The slider at 89 mph consistently let down Lugo in the past, with the lone exception being his most recent starting year in 2020. With its -1.3 run value, according to FanGraphs, it was his only negative pitch in 2022.

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Although Lugo’s track record as a starter is not great, his pitch repertoire can certainly play as a starter. Coming off two strong seasons as a reliever, Lugo wants to transition to the starting rotation.

San Diego is already committing a rotation spot to stand out reliever from last year, Nick Martinez, so they clearly would not be phased by having a relief pitcher make that transition. Now, they may not want to make that commitment to 2 of its starters, so that may put them out of the mix for Lugo. Either way, he is a name to watch for the Padres as general manager A.J. Preller looks to complete his roster.

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