Fixing the Organization’s Starting Pitching


The Triple-A Portland Beavers are so desperate for a fifth starter that they’ve done things like start Scott Munter, call up Double-A also-ran Nate Culp, and even yank Anthony Bass from High-A for a start.

Meanwhile, Josh Geer continues to get pounded in the fourth slot in the Portland rotation.

You’d think that sticking with Geer and turning to guys like Culp, Munter, and Bass for help indicates a paucity of options to call up from the lower minors to help out. And sure, there’s Simon Castro and Wynn Pelzer in Double-A, but maybe the Padres don’t want to mess with the development of two of their top pitching prospects. Fair enough.

But still, there’s no reason Munter or Geer needs to be starting. I have an alternate plan for promoting players that I think would leave all the starting spots in the Padres organization in good hands.

Let’s take a look.

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First off, we would need to find two guys who can take the slots of Geer and the current nebulous fifth starter’s spot held by Munter.

The first easy candidate to replace those two is Cory Luebke, considered by many to be the Padres’ top lefty starter prospect. He’s in his second partial season with San Antonio and has a 0.86 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. You can’t say the 25-year-old needs more time down there.

There are two other good candidates in Corey Kluber and Jeremy Hefner, but I’ll take Kluber, who has made 24 Double-A starts and has struck out 84 batters in 75 innings this year while making tremendous strides with his command. Like Luebke, Kluber is a bit old (24), for Double-A, so he really should be on an accelerated timetable.

Boom. Luebke and Kluber up, Geer released, another Triple-A player DL’ed or released, and the rotation is very good.

Then, of course, there’s the matter of fixing the Double-A rotation.

No problem. Bass has been stellar in High-A, and he struck out nine while allowing just two hits yesterday–he’s ready. Juan Oramas has made Cal League hitters look silly as well.

That would still leave Lake Elsinore with four starters, it seems, as they have Steve Garrison, Nick Schmidt, Jorge Reyes, and Erik Davis.

That means that you could promote one reliever–Nick Schumacher, probably–from Fort Wayne, as well as one starter.

There isn’t a completely clear-cut candidate here; it probably comes down to rushing Jose De Paula or calling on Nick Greenwood or Jerry Sullivan, who are both having good-not-great years. Still, having a mediocre fifth starter in Lake Elsinore is less to worry about than having a terrible fourth and no fifth starter in Portland.

Dexter Carter or Keyvius Sampson could come up from Eugene to fill the spot in Fort Wayne, and I’m sure someone from Arizona could come up to fill Eugene’s rotation slot (or Carter could, since he’s in the bullpen, if Sampson is promoted).

So, there you have it. There’s no reason Portland should be throwing such poor starters 40% of the time, and it’s an easily fixable problem given who’s on hand. Come on, player development department!