Richards and Lamet
Signing before last season to a 2 year $15.5 million contract, Richards was 14 months post Tommy John surgery when he stepped onto the mound for the Padres last September.
Pitching 8.2 innings over three games started, Richards showed he still owned the stuff that made him the ace of the Los Angeles Angels staff before injury forced him off the mound.
The 31-year-old veteran pitched to a 3.15 ERA over five seasons with the Angels, including injury shortened years that saw him treat his UCL tear with stem cells instead of surgery.
Finally relenting to the knife in 2018, Richards was cut loose from the Angels and signed by the Padres in hopes of a bounce back in 2020.
Possessing a 95-96 MPH fastball with a wicked slider and effective curveball, Richards has every quality needed to serve as the ace of the staff if he can attain his previous status.
Not surprisingly he was hit pretty hard in those 8.2 innings but the Padres staff saw everything they needed to see to dream on what Richards could mean to the team in 2020.
Lamet is my pick for this year’s breakout star. The 27-year-old came back last season after 15 months recovering from Tommy John surgery. He pitched 73 innings with a 4.07 ERA and was rather unlucky in some of his outings.
He also dominated in others with his mid-to-high 90’s fastball, two devastating sliders, a biting curve, improved change-up and a sinker. A true six-pitch pitcher, Lamet’s only issue is whether he can command his pitches through the game.
According to the glowing article by Sheryl Ring in beyondtheboxscore.com, Lamet has everything an ace needs to dominate. Her comparisons to Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer not withstanding, Lamet has the makings of a dominant front of the rotation starter.
Can he attain that projection in 2020? We’re going to find out.