Can the San Diego Padres turn their rotation into something resembling the Champion Washington Nationals?
This offseason shall give us a glimpse into the possibilities of what the San Diego Padres rotation could be. The 2020 rotation success will be the key to this all-important season for the
The 2019 baseball season is officially over after a dramatic World Series that saw the Washington Nationals win their franchise’s first title.
An underdog Nationals team used dominant starting pitching and clutch hitting to advance in the playoffs against historically good opponents.
Starting pitching was certainly the key ingredient for the Nationals successful run, with San Diego native and Aztec Alum Stephen Strasburg leading a staff that included 4 top-shelf starters.
Though not all the starters had the same consistency as Strasburg in the postseason, they all had dominant moments that helped them win when it mattered the most.
The San Diego Padres are looking at this winning formula from the Nationals and will do their best to follow suit.
Pitching typically speaks the loudest in playoff baseball, and the ownership and front office have constantly pointed at 2020 as the year they become contenders — they have a big question mark to answer in that regard.
San Diego’s offense has some major improvements to discuss as well, but have the talent to bounce back and compete on that side of the ball with their current set up.
The offense, however, was not just the main reason for the downward slide throughout an underwhelming 2019.
San Diego’s pitching staff had a very inconsistent season, with the starting pitching taking a major fall after the All-Star break.
Leading the staff was 23-year-old rookie Chris Paddack. The rookie broke on to the scene and fought through some likely fatigue-related lulls to finish with a 3.33 ERA, a 0.981 WHIP, and 153 strikeouts in 140.2 innings.
Impressive numbers for anyone, let alone a rookie getting used to the grind of a full MLB season.
The rest of the group, however, was underwhelming after having expectations to significantly improve.
For the Friars to reach their goals for 2020, major improvements must be made to their pitching rotation.
Obviously, with the homegrown Strasburg recently opting out of his contract with Washington to become a free agent, there is hope San Diego is able to add him to the roster with a major deal.
As great as that is, there is a strong chance the team doesn’t land an ace to place at the top of the rotation and will be relying on their current guys to take the next leap.
Young arms like Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, and Cal Quantrill will need to make significant leaps forward, while Paddack will need to live up to the expectations he set during his first campaign and become the leader of the staff.
That is a lot to ask of a group of guys all under 27 who have minimal major league experience, but is almost necessary for contention in 2020 with the current roster.
To put the urgency for improvement across the board into perspective, the Nationals had to sneak into a wild card spot in 2019 with four members of their starting staff owning sub-4.00 ERAs and 10-plus wins.
The Padres are not the Nationals, they do, however, need to see major improvements internally, including their ace who will have a heck of a time improving from his 2019 campaign.
Adding a free agent or finding a suitable trade would help that cause immensely, but improving internally is the more likely and necessary step heading into the upcoming season where they will be counting on a lot of current unknowns.
Let’s hope if this is the route taken, that the results can match the current champions of baseball.
For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres 2019-20, offseason, be sure to visit Friars on Base all season long.