What will the 2020 rotation look like for the San Diego Padres?
The San Diego Padres have depth in virtually every area of the team, but they have arguably the most amount of talent in the starting pitching department. A.J. Preller and his baseball management team have stock-piled dozens of young arms.
In 2019, the Padres trotted out several rookie and first-year pitchers. In the coming year, a few pitchers are returning from injury and with more experience- the staff is ready to eat up innings for the Padres.
Here is a look at the 2020 rotation and what it looks like presently.
Locked in as the ace of the staff presently is this veteran. He is admired by his rotation-mates and has filthy stuff on the mound. Richards should be able to pitch at or near the 200 innings mark in 2020. He will also be in a contract year and motivated to be very good on the mound.
The Sheriff is a stud. You have seen a growth in this young pitcher, and the Padres are undoubtedly excited to see what he brings in the coming season. He still might be monitored slightly with his innings and pitch counts in 2020, but there is plenty to look forward to when it comes to his sophomore season.
This Dominican pitcher has a weapon with his slider. It could be one of the best pitches in the game. Lamet, like Richards, is returning from Tommy John surgery. The Padres seem poised to give him plenty of innings in 2020 and Lamet could break out if health permits.
There is a lot to like about Lucchesi and his athleticism on the mound. His funky motion and churve are unique and can be difficult to hit in this day and age of clean mechanics and 95+ mph fastballs. Lucchesi has proved to be durable, as he will eclipse 155+ innings this season for San Diego. He is starting to throw more strikes and mixing in a four-seam fastball now that could help him stay in the rotation.
With a propensity to dominate the Los Angeles Dodgers, Eric Lauer is an interesting case to remain in the rotation. He has improved his command and throws a different assortment of breaking pitches. The Padres seem to want him to focus more on location rather than changing speeds. Lauer’s velocity can get up to 95 at times, but will also top out at 92 in some starts. If he can maintain the mid 90’s velocity, he may take his game to the next level.
In a span of 27 innings pitched in June and July, Quantrill only allowed seven earned runs and struck out 30 batters. He showed a lot during that period but was nailed in his next handful of starts. There is upside with Quantrill, but he must show consistency to really be a factor in the 2020 season. There is the feeling that you have not seen the best from this former #1 pick.
Worthy of consideration
The #1 left-handed pitching prospect in all of the minor leagues is close. There is some thought that he could make the team out of the spring as Chris Paddack did in 2019, but he will need to prove to the Padres that he can handle the limelight. Gore will only be 21 years old next year, but he has shown plus makeup and composure.
The 2019 season saw Baez used solely out of the bullpen. He has the stuff to pitch in the rotation, but he would need to be stretched out to be truly useful for the Padres in the rotation in 2020. The right-hander in the rotation is a longshot, but Baez is 24, and his future with the team has yet to be set in stone.
Shoulder and arm issues have been a common theme for this young left-handed pitcher. He may not have the endurance to factor in the rotation but could be penciled in as a member of the relief core. Morejon is still only 20 and has a very high upside. The Cuban would need to be very dominant in the spring to earn a rotation spot to start the 2020 season.
This right-hander was allowed to start late this season. Bolanos is showing a high-velocity fastball and a very nice mix of offspeed pitches but is still very raw. He may be given a chance to compete early in the spring but would need a lot to happen to earn a spot at the beginning of 2020.
People counted out this left-hander, but he broke camp with the Padres in 2019 and pitched well in his first handful of starts. The league caught up to Margevicius, and his trademark control got shaky towards the end of his first run with the team. He could still be a factor in the bullpen as a long reliever. Margevicius is a student of the game, and this is not the last you have seen from him.
The fact he looks so dominant out of the bullpen might be what limits Strahm from rotation talk again. The velocity is back on his fastball, and he is not allowing as many homers out of the pen. The Padres will likely keep Strahm in the bullpen, but his name will always be discussed as a possible rotation member.