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) /
4 of 5
Chris Paddack / Padres
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

Padres need Chris Paddack to return to form this season

When he’s at his best, Chris Paddack is a commanding presence on the mound. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite that last year and went from Opening Day starter to being skipped in the rotation come October.

But after an offseason focused around analytics and data, the right-hander is ready to prove that his 2019 performance was no fluke and is far more representative of what he’s capable of as opposed to last year, when he struggled to a 5.02 FIP in a dozen starts.

If you dig in and try and figure out where it all went wrong, nothing really jumps off the page. His pitch mix was almost identical year-over-year, but all of the sudden, hitters were teeing off on his fastball – which was previously a big-time swing-and-miss pitch.

Working with the organization, Paddack identified a lack of vertical movement on it – which kept it flat and made it easier for hitters to square up. He spent the winter working on addressing this, which should make the pitch move across multiple planes like it did two years ago. If he’s successful, the right-hander could be a key part of this rotation again in 2021.

  • Steamer Projection: 9-7, 125 IP, 3.88 FIP, 9.44 K/9, 2.36 BB/9