San Diego Padres: Grading rotation staples on 2017 progress

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 17: Jhoulys Chacin
SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 17: Jhoulys Chacin /

How has the San Diego Padres starting pitching rotation fared so far this season compared to expectations? Our mid August grade book is out.

Four starting pitchers have separated themselves from the rest and have become staples in the San Diego rotation in 2017. This doesn’t mean they’re starters of the future necessarily, but merely that they are what fans are used to seeing take the mound since they have started consistently throughout the campaign.

The rotation has faced its struggles, but has also experienced some pleasant surprises. The following are letter grades which we have assigned to the four staples of the rotation: Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard, Luis Perdomo, and Dinelson Lamet. The grades are based on performance compared to expectations, so strong stats do not necessarily convert to high grades and vice versa.

Jhoulys Chacin: A

11-8, 3.98 ERA 

There is a lot to be said for consistency, which is exactly what Chacin brings. Even though the right-hander began the season as the opening day starter, expectations weren’t that high. The Padres didn’t invest much in him, just a one-year, $1.75 million contract. Chacin was only supposed to be a contributor to the rotation, not the ace. And since he has acted like an ace at times and leads the club in virtually every pitching statistic, he earns himself a nice grade for his efforts in 2017.

Clayton Richard: D

6-12, 4.77 ERA

Yikes is about all we can say when it comes to Richard. Yes, the 33-year-old has had some flashes, like his first start at Dodger Stadium, or his most recent complete game victory over the Phillies. But Richard has been inconsistent, and that may be a generous way of putting it. Signed to the same one-year, $1.75 million contract, expectations were a bit higher for Richard than any other starter coming in to the year. He was a returning player, and the spring training favorite to be named the ace. There’s no reason to give up on Richard, but his miserable record and inflated ERA make his 2017 campaign a less than successful one.

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Luis Perdomo: B

6-8, 4.93 ERA

Perdomo was the one member of the rotation who brought uncertainty coming into 2017. Now, he’s one of the only ones the staff can rely on. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Perdomo by any means, but the right-hander has earned the trust of his team. Starting 22 games, he has been reliable and relatively consistent. Every month, Perdomo’s ERA has been above 4, but he has also started no fewer than three games a month and hasn’t pitched less than 16 innings. While Perdomo isn’t ace material, he is also no longer the major unknown of the rotation. And inning eater and a starter with potential is how to describe the 24-year-old.

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Dinelson Lamet: A

7-5, 4.84 ERA

It is exciting to see Lamet beginning to figure it out. He isn’t a household name, maybe not even for San Diego fans just yet. But the 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic has turned his opportunity quite possibly into a career. When first inserted into the rotation in May, Lamet was not used to the majors. His stats were below average, but not all that surprising given his low expectations. Following the all-star break, Lamet has a 3.69 ERA in seven starts 39 innings. He’s going deeper into games and staying composed in difficult moments. And, most importantly, Lamet has a winning record, something that only one other member of the rotation shares.