With pitchers and catchers reporting today for Spring Training, this is the perfect time to kick off our Spring Training Position Battles series. In this series, we will take an in depth look at some of the positions that are up for grabs. We will analyze candidates at that position and track each player’s progress throughout the spring.
So without any further adieu, our first Spring Training Position Battle is the starting rotation.
August 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (37) throws during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Situation: Last year, the Padres were forced to turn to age old veterans and inexperienced rookies to fill out an injury plagued starting rotation, in which the Friars matched a franchise record with 15 starting pitchers used.
Only Edinson Volquez, the ace of the starting staff, and the reliable left-hander Clayton Richard were fortunate enough to avoid the disabled list. Because of all the injuries to the rotaion, Padres general manager Josh Byrnes stressed that adding starting pitching depth was priority No.1 this off-season.
New additions: The Padres didn’t make the big splash many fans have hoped as far as adding a big named starting pitcher. Nonetheless, Byrnes satisfied his need for starting pitching depth with the additions of: Tyson Ross, Wilfredo Boscan, Sean O’ Sullivan and veteran Freddy Garcia
Re-signed: The Padres re-signed Jason Marquis and brought back Tim Stauffer on a Minor League deal. Adys Portillo was added to the Padres’ 40-man roster in December to protect him from being claimed in the Rule 5 draft. Juan Pablo Ormas was also re-signed, although he most likely wont return until middle of year as he still rehabs from Tommy John surgery.
Positional outlook: As it stands right now, only Volquez and Richard are locks in the rotation, with Volquez being the ace and Richard being the No. 3 guy. That means three rotational spots are up for the taking. Eric Stults, Jason Marquis, Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Tyson Ross and Sean O’Sullivan and competing for the remaining three spots.
My guess is Portillo won’t crack the rotation until he’s absolutely needed because of injury. Donn Roach is a sleeper pick. Although I see Roach opening the season in the Minors he could definitely find his way on the Opening Day roster if he has a phenomenal spring.
This is the Spring Training Position Battles: Starting Rotation. Stay tuned next week for a new position battle. Let us know in the comment box below who you would like to see win the final three spots in the rotation.