Padres introducing new pitching lab couldn’t come at a better time

The Padres need a long-term solution to their pitching staff and they just made a great first step.
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

To the shock of no one, the San Diego Padres losing Blake Snell, Seth Lugo, and Michael Wacha to free agency this offseason has created some rotation issues heading into 2024. San Diego has done a reasonably good job of rebuilding the bullpen, but the starting staff certainly needs some immediate help. However, one thing that's absolutely certain is that if the Padres are truly committed to shrinking their payroll, finding long-term sustainability of the entire pitching staff is going to have to be a priority.

The Padres do have some help coming from the minor leagues, but several of their top pitching prospects are still a few years away and some of the guys at the upper levels could use some extra seasoning before they are ready for the big stage. Finding some short-term solutions would be fine for now, but the Padres need to put these guys in their talent pipeline in the best position to succeed.

Fortunately, it looks like the team is making some strong strides to make that happen. In conjunction with Point Loma Nazarene University, the Padres have opened a pitching lab that will focus on biomechanics and other aspects of pitching that should, in theory, really help San Diego get the most out of their arms going forward.

San Diego's new state-of-the-art pitching lab is a massive long-term boost

The idea behind this new pitching lab is simple. Having trained professionals that understand biomechanics and how the body moves and generates force should allow the Padres to get valuable information on not only the adjustments their current players should make to improve, but help further understand the types of pitchers they should be bringing aboard.

The type of work being done here isn't new to the game of baseball. Front offices have long looked hard at different types of deliveries and whether or not a guy's mechanics could make them injury-prone. In more recent years, a number of teams have invested more into the study of biomechanics to not only target the big issues with pitchers, but to make smaller adjustments to throwing mechanics to get incremental gains that can lead to increased velocity, improved command, and reduce fatigue. At the end of the day, the goal remains the same: to keep pitchers on the field and to help them succeed.

Where the Padres' approach is most unique, though, is with how much they are clearly investing in this lab and the partnership with actual biomechanics researchers. San Diego has been working with PLNU for several years now, but this is a major step forward in that partnership and is proof that the organization is a fan of the work they have done thus far.

Given that the Padres' pitching staff last season (a big chunk of whom are now gone) tied for major league lead in ERA at 3.73, it is hard to argue with the results. The only question is whether they can keep it up or even improve as time goes on with this new lab fully established.

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