Padres Editorial: Should The Padres Bring Back Eric Stults?

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The Padres come into 2015 with some questions regarding their starting rotation. Can Andrew Cashner hold up? Can Tyson Ross do what he did last season? What is Ian Kennedy? Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow have injury histories. Casey Kelly and Cory Luebke are rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.  Why not bring Eric Stults back for a look?

Was Stults great last year? No. When you lose 17 games that’s a rough year. No doubt about it. I’m not talking about a one-year deal or anything like that. I’m talking about a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. But there were some numbers that suggest last season’s bad year was a tad inflated.

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First of all, 12.5% of fly balls off Stults were home runs, compared to 6.9% the year before. That’s a tad inflated. Stults had been good at keeping the walks down, but this past season it went to 2.3 per 9. That’s way too high. If he can get those back down, he can be an effective pitcher again.

Stults, like most of the Padres, didn’t get a lot of run support. In fact, he had the lowest in all of baseball last season at 2.53 per game. It’s hard to win games when you only get two runs of support. You have to dominate the other team, and Stults isn’t that kind of pitcher. He’s gonna need the offense’s help and with what should be a better offense than the one last year, his numbers can improve.

Usually when pitchers get older, their velocity takes a dip. For Stults, it was actually the opposite.

Per Fangraphs, Stults velocity on his fastball, slider, curve and changeup all increased from 2013 to 2014. 35 year olds don’t usually get that. Now maybe that increase of velocity was putting a lot of effort in since he had no run support, which let to a higher walk and home run rate. Maybe he got stronger and fixed a mechanical flaw. Whatever the reason an increase in velo is okay.

Stults is a back end of the rotation guy you don’t have to invest a lot into. Unlike Johan Santana, who the Padres have interest in, Stults actually pitched last season. He also pitched the year before that too and threw 203.2 innings. I don’t think they have to invest a lot into him, but there’s no reason why he can’t be brought back in and given a look in Spring Training.

Next: Padres Extend Invites For Spring Training

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