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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Dinelson Lamet / Padres
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

Padres are hoping Dinelson Lamet can stay healthy this year

The big question mark in this rotation is Dinelson Lamet.

So far, it’s been nothing but good news concerning the right-hander, who continues to ramp up down in Arizona. He hasn’t appeared yet in a Cactus League game, but tossed a pair of frames in a simulated game this week – marking the first time he’s done so this spring.

Lamet finished fourth in National League Cy Young voting last season but a late-season injury cost him come postseason time. He rode his sinker-fastball-slider repertoire to a 2.09 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 2020 – and if he’s healthy and at his best this year, he’ll be the guy that takes the Padres’ rotation over-the-top.

Last season, he relied on his slider in new ways and it unlocked something for the right-hander. Opponents hit just .080 against it and the emergence of that offering led to his ranking in the top six percent of the league with a strikeout rate north of 34 percent.

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If he’s not healthy, then the Padres will look to Adrian Morejon to open the season. That seems to be the plan for Opening Week, at least, as San Diego isn’t taking any chances when it comes to Lamet. But upon his return, Morejon can slot in as a much-needed swingman out of the pen.