The Padres are going to need a fifth starter soon, and lefty Wade LeBlanc entered the year as the favorite to be the first starter called up from Triple-A.
His ERA (7.20) may indicate he’s lost that spot, but with a 15/1 K/BB ratio in 15 innings, it’s clear LeBlanc has his stuff working.
The soft-tossing lefty has allowed eight runs on 13 hits (one homer), but that’s largely a result of bad luck.
Last year, LeBlanc struck out 95 in 121 innings in Triple-A, so his strikeout rate is well ahead of his 2009 pace.
The more I see LeBlanc, the more I believe he can succeed in the majors in spite of his 82-87 mph fastball. He’s got a great changeup and a good enough breaking ball, and he has solid enough control to be a good fifth starter. Petco also will support his flyballing ways well.
I think LeBlanc should be able to hold down a major league rotation spot, and he makes more sense in the rotation long term than Clayton Richard. Richard has less of a changeup and a bigger platoon split (by far), so he fits best as a lefty specialist long-term, whereas LeBlanc should take the ball every fifth day.
LeBlanc, 25, should see the majors later this week. Ignore the ERA; he’s the best starter for the Beavers right now.