Who Will Be The Fifth Starter For The Padres?
By John Hiatt
So we all know the Padres have at least right now, a three-headed monster at starting pitcher for the first three rotation spots with Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy, and with newly-signed Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson either one could take the 4th spot in the rotation. With that said, what are the Padres options for the 5th spot in the rotation?
Let’s look into that shall we? The Padres have several options for the 5th spot, these are pitchers Robbie Erlin, the aforementioned Johnson and Morrow, Casey Kelly, and Cory Luebke, who is coming back from two injury-plagued seasons. Alex Torres might even get a long look come spring training.
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How can these starters help the Swinging Friars? Well, Josh Johnson when he is not hurt, has proven to be one of the best pitchers in the game, as he has been named a 2-time All-Star, and has had very impressive numbers throughout his career. For his career, Johnson has gone 58-45 with a 3.40 ERA in 170 games. With those types of numbers, Josh can definitely help the Padres pitching staff.
How about Brandon Morrow? He could definitely help the Padres as well, for his career he has gone 42-43 with a 4.28 ERA pitching in 231 games, these numbers are subpar compared to his ability. With just those names in the mix, it will be a fight for one spot, but how about the rest of the pitchers the Friars have?
Let’s have a look at Robbie Erlin‘s numbers. He has gone 7-8 in his MLB career with a 4.58 ERA in 24 games in his career which is okay, but Robbie can certainly help the Padres out if he is given more time to prove himself, as he has shown his potential in the starts he has made for the team.
Next up Casey Kelly, son of former big league infielder Pat Kelly, and who has only pitched in only 6 games in his MLB career, with a 2-3 record with a 6.31 ERA. However, he has turned in some solid starts for the Padres so he could also be an option for the 5th slot in the rotation.
What about one of the best pitchers in the Padres rotation even though he has been out for the past two seasons? Cory Luebke has gone 10-12 in his MLB career, with a 3.25 ERA in 55 games and starting 25 of those, he is probably the best option in my opinion to get the 5th slot if he can come back and replicate what he did a few years ago.
So what about the new name we have been hearing in the mix, reliever Alex Torres? He has a 7-4 career record with a 2.55 ERA, however he has never started a game. He has shown the stuff to be considered, but has to be a long shot at best to crack this rotation with the Padres’ other options.
Last but certainly not least a starter last season that raised some eyebrows, he was pretty impressive, his name: Odrisamer Despaigne who is 4-7 with a 3.36 ERA, but he was really impressive last season, and almost had the Padres first no hitter. I could see him being a serious contender for the 5th starter slot.
So with all of these names thrown into the 5th starter list as options for the Padres, it seems that it will be a huge battle in Padres Spring Training camp to see just which one of these players will get the 5th spot in the Padres rotation. I for one am very interested to see who is going to take that 5th spot in the rotation, with all of these names in the mix for that spot. It’s going to be an interesting Spring Training Friar Faithful!