Unfortunately for us Friars fans, we have been treated to quite a few rebuilding processes over the couple of decades. We have seen stars come and go for bigger pay-days, rosters overhauled, etc., and for the most part, these rebuilding endeavors were not very pleasant to have watched. Despite the negativity attached to the constant rebuilding efforts, there also can be some good that comes with them if one chooses to look hard enough. Probably the most positive way to look at a team trying to rebuild is the fact that there usually are numerous hungry prospects looking to leave their mark on the team, and wanting to show they figure into their respective team’s long-term plans. One of those aforementioned players is Anthony Bass, and Bass is quietly beginning to emerge as a possible long-term fixture in San Diego’s rotation.
Bass Becomes a Full-Time Starter with Padres
Despite the fact that Bass got some starting experience at the tail-end of the 2011 season, it appeared that Bass would to take the same route to the starting rotation as Cory Luebke did according to the Padres’ team website’s Beat Writer Corey Brock: Almost two-thirds of a season apprenticeship in the bullpen doing some long relief and spot-starting, and then moved to the bottom half of the rotation as his first full season progressed. It worked well in Luebke’s case, and until his injury, Luebke appeared to be the #1 guy on San Diego’s staff and a fixture at the top of the Padres’ rotation for years to come after taking his lumps, but gaining valuable experience last season. Bass however was not afforded the luxury of time like Luebke was, and was thrust into the starting rotation early this season. After both Tim Stauffer and Dustin Moseley went down with injuries, Bass moved from his middle/long relief role, and like Luebke has taken his lumps but not looked back since becoming a full-time starter.
While Bass’ 2012 statistics might not seem stellar at first glance, he has been doing some things well so far, and put together some nice outings as the year has gone on for the Padres. Over the course of his 47.0 Innings Pitched (7 starts 43.0 Innings) this season, Bass has gone 2-4, with a 2.87 ERA, 45 Strikeouts, and shown some flashes of how good he can ultimately be in his recent starts. In five of Bass’ last six starts he has Struck Out 7 or more batters, and even had a perfect game going into the late innings against the Giants before he ultimately gave up two runs to lose the decision. And the last time Bass took the mound against the Nationals, Bass went 8 strong Innings and gave up only 1 run and Struck Out 8 Washington batters.
The Positives for Bass in 2012
While many would not consider playing for the Padres an advantage for a young Pitcher, there are indeed some things Bass can benefit from as a member of this team in 2012. The first advantage working in Bass’ favor is of course Petco Park, and its Pitcher-friendly dimensions. Bass will get extensive chances learning how to pitch in his home ballpark and gain a better understanding of what works and what does not there. There is no better way to build confidence than stringing together some strong outings and keeping the ball in the yard.
Also helping Bass is the fact that other young starters like Mat Latos, Jake Peavy, and Chris Young have flourished under the tutelage of Padres’ Manager Bud Black, and Pitching Coaches Darren Balsley, and Darrel Akerfelds. Unless Coaching changes occur, Bass will continue his development and learn the nuances of Pitching from some of the better Pitching Coaches in the game of baseball. The more Bass can learn from these experienced guys the better. As Corey Brock discussed a couple of months ago, the Padres’ Coaching Staff has been hard at work since Spring Training, and they have helped Bass to improve in numerous areas such as his control, where he starts his windup, developing his off-speed pitches, etc.. Bass appears to be in good hands, and he could improve by leaps and bounds under his Coaches’ tutelage.
The one thing which helps Bass the most this season though will be the large amount of opportunities he has to shine. Now that Bass is firmly entrenched in the Padres’ starting five, every chance he has to take the hill and start this season is another resume builder and a chance to learn on the job by doing. Because the overall team expectations will be low, and San Diego is likely not going to be involved in the pennant race come August, the only thing Bass really has to focus on is pitching a solid game and improving every time he takes the mound.
With 120+ games left to go, Bass should theoretically receive another 25-30 starts over the course of the season if he stays healthy. There will undoubtedly be a few more growing pains along the way, and some starts could be like a few of Bass’ so far where he might get knocked around or put too many guys on base and get burned. Early career inconsistencies aside, there is a great deal to like about Bass and he should figure to be a fixture in the Padres’ starting rotation for a very long time. You still have to hand it to a guy, whose Starting Rotation E.T.A. was likely not scheduled until after the All-Star Break, who has stepped up for the team due to injuries and is currently “learning by doing.” I know that I will be watching closely as Bass develops over the course of this season, and hopefully soon the Padres might have themselves a young but experienced quality starting five with Bass somewhere in the mix.
Statistics Courtesy of: http://www.baseball-reference.com/