Padres: Previewing the team’s 2021 starting rotation

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /
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Yu Darvish / Padres
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

The success of the 2021 San Diego Padres rests almost entirely in the hands of its new-look starting rotation.

Headlined by newcomers Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove, this starting five has the potential to be the best in baseball this year. The guys at the back end are hardly slouches, either, with Chris Paddack and Adrian Morejon rounding things out while Dinelson Lamet works back from injury this spring.

What’s even crazier is the team’s big midseason splash from a year ago, Mike Clevinger, isn’t part of the picture in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Imagine what that rotation could look like.

But let’s get to it and take a look at what you can expect from this starting five.

Padres have a legitimate Cy Young contender in Yu Darvish

The mismanagement of the Chicago Cubs could pay huge dividends for the Padres this year. Acquired this winter for a package of far-off prospects, the big right-hander is coming off one of the best seasons of his career.

In 2020, he finished second to Trevor Bauer in NL Cy Young voting after leading the league with eight wins and a 2.23 FIP. Armed with the most extensive arsenal in the league, Darvish can deploy up to 11 pitches – and the Padres are perfectly content letting him continue to attack hitters in unorthodox ways.

Just as capable of overpowering with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball as he is freezing hitters with a knee-buckling breaking ball, Darvish could very well find himself in the Cy Young hunt again this season.

  • Steamer Projection: 14-8, 189 IP, 3.27 FIP, 11.32 K/9, 2.69 BB/9