The Padres’ 2011 Rotation

Clayton Richard, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, Jon Garland and Kevin Correia have been baseball's most dependable rotation and, arguably, its best. So far in 2010, those five pitchers have combined to start all but two of the Padres' 117 games and the group is second in the majors with a 3.46 ERA (the Cardinals' 3.35 mark is best of all). Looking ahead to next year, here's a closer look at the team's 2011 rotation.

The youngsters – Latos, Richard and LeBlanc – will be back and they'll be cheap, since they are not even arbitration-eligible. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Padres offer Latos an extension before the 2011 season, but he'll be around regardless as long as he's healthy. Latos, Richard and LeBlanc should comprise three fifths of the team's rotation in 2011.

We can't assume that the rest of the rotation will return, though. Correia is a free agent and Garland will also hit the open market unless he and the Padres exercise his $6.75MM mutual option. The Padres have an $8.5MM option for Chris Young's services, but there are probably more prudent ways of committing that kind of money.

The Padres could attempt to fill the rotation out with some of their minor league depth. Former Oriole Radhames Liz is striking out nearly a batter per inning at Triple A Portland, where he has a 4.87 ERA. Will Inman, a 23-year-old right-hander, has pitched well in 11 Triple A starts and Cesar Ramos and Cesar Carrillo also provide organizational depth at Portland. Jeremy Hefner, 24, is pitching well at AA. Before the season, Baseball America suggested that Hefner could become a back-of-the-rotation starter.

And then there are the top prospects. Simon Castro, a 22-year-old right-hander, has made a successful leap to AA this year, posting a 2.83 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 21 starts. Baseball America ranked Castro second among Padres prospects before the season, explaining that he "has the stuff and durability to profile at least as a No. 3 starter." Castro has pitched well this year, so he could be ready for the majors at some point in 2011. 

Cory Luebke, another highly-touted prospect, has strikingly similar numbers to the ones Castro has posted. In 100 innings, Luebke, a lefty, has posted a 3.06 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. Before the season, Baseball America ranked Luebke sixth among Padres prospects and said his "stuff and size give him a ceiling as a No. 3 starter." Luebke's strong 2010 campaign suggests that, like Castro, he could start for the Padres at some point soon.

Castro and Luebke are highly-regarded prospects and both seem likely to succeed in the big leagues. But the Padres, who have plenty of payroll flexibility in 2011, will probably not count on that duo right away, so it would be a surprise if GM Jed Hoyer did not pursue free agent pitchers.

Garland, who pitched 7.0 more scoreless innings tonight, has had an excellent season for San Diego and the club could look to bring back some combination of Garland, Correia and Young. Whether the Padres pursue those pitchers or others, they seem likely to spend on free agent arms this winter. The organization has a number of promising minor league starters who will likely contribute in 2011, but the Padres just don't seem likely to rely on such an inexperienced group to start the season.

Thanks to's Corey Brock and Cot's Baseball Contracts.

72 Responses to The Padres’ 2011 Rotation Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Jon Garland, Clayton Richard, Mat Latos, Simon Castro should be set in stone.

  2. Tim Valencia 5 years ago

    I would be fine with that. I also would like to see Stauffer get a shot and even though people hate him i don’t see Leblanc pitching himself out of a rotation spot from now to the end oft he year.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      No one said he will pitch himself out of the rotation, but the thing is, he doesn’t have great stuff, very hittable stuff and even though his change up is fantastic, it’s hard to have a starting pitcher go several seasons throwing a 85 mph fastball with a plus change up and a decent curveball.

      Stauffer has been lights out in the pen but maybe if they giveM Webb a shot, Stauffer can get moved back to the pen.

      • Tim Valencia 5 years ago

        I really have to disagree with you. You don’t survive in the 2nd best staff in the league without having quality stuff. You can get by on smoke and mirrors for a few starts but not an entire year. Leblanc doesn’t have overpowering stuff true. But he does have swing and miss stuff that is more than adequate for a 4-5 starter. I think the problem is because he isn’t flashy he isn’t seen as a long term option because it isn’t impressive.

        • The staff ERA is good because the Padres have the best (#1) defense in baseball and Latos is a beast.EVERYONE ELSE has been below average.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          The comment below me also explains my point, but let me just explain LeBlanc for a second.

          He didn’t make his Major League Debut this season, but this is really the first time hitters across the NL are seeing him, so obviously he has a better advantage now than if he was in the Bigs for 3 years. So like John Ely, once the hitters get used to you, you will get hit around and you have to make adjustments. I don’t think he has the ability to challenge hitters any differently than he’s doing now. Clayton Kershaw for example is a whole different story. He does pitch in a pitchers ballpark but I really don’t like LeBlanc as a starter in the Padres rotation for years to come. And I wouldn’t say he has great swing and miss stuff even though he has more swing and miss stuff than over powering stuff.

          • Tim Valencia 5 years ago

            Leblanc has been in the league longer than Ely and Ely probably has better stuff. Leblanc isn’t surviving on being an unknown all he is doing now is locating his fastball and letting the defense doing their job. As much as pains me to say this i don’t see Leblanc dropping off as much as i could see Latos dropping off, much for the same reasons you listed Leblanc dropping. I still stand by my statement of people not liking Leblanc because of his lack of flashy ability

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I just think he is easier to hit which will cause hitters to get a better read on him.

          • Tim Valencia 5 years ago

            its not his delivery that is trouble to pick up. he is just a good pitcher with solid not spectacular stuff. Once again i dont understand whats not to like, its not smoke and mirrors, its location

        • Guest 5 years ago

          It’s the god damn park! plus the defense…Garland, Richard and LeBlanc are performing like nothing more than 5th (maybe 4th) starters when they play on the road, and their ERA at home makes them look like 2nd or third startersLatos on the other hand is about the same either way, as is Correia…
          So, I think LeBlanc could be a 4th or 5th starter, yes, especially if he stays in San Diego. His road ERA is still better than overpaid should-be 4th starters like AJ Burnett or Javier Vazquez (although the AL East is obviously a tougher division, and Leblanc probably couldn’t handle it… I just wanted to criticize Burnett and Vazquez)

          Home ERA: 2.19
          Away ERA: 2.40

          Home ERA: 2.49
          Away ERA: 4.09

          Home ERA: 2.59
          Away ERA: 4.58

          Home ERA: 4.62
          Away ERA: 4.64

          Home ERA: 3.24
          Away ERA: 4.38

          • Tim Valencia 5 years ago

            Those splits arent terrible. Does the park affect how the pitchers play? yes. Is it the defining aspect of whther they are good or not? not at all. Pitchers play better at home
            Wainright 1.22 Home
            2.76 away
            josh Johnson 1.48 home
            3.52 away
            j garcia 1.94 home
            3.41 away

          • Players are typically 10% better at home to start…plus, their away starts don’t include the starts that they would have in Petco. ERA+ is a better judge and anyone saying Clayton Richard and Garland has been a #5 is simply not paying attention

          • Just an FYI that those stats don’t tell the entire story:

            Garland ERA+ 111
            Richard ERA+ 95
            Correia ERA+ 78
            Leblanc ERA+ 104

            A lot of teams (read literally ANY) in baseball would LOVE to have #5 starters which are 10% better than average.

            Other than Correia, everyone else should be back.

      • GasLampGuru 5 years ago

        I don’t think Stauffer will get a shot at the rotation. I think his role in the pen is valuable and clearly defined. It may even expand to set-up duties if the Padres decide to trade Gregerson or Adams for a bat. Likewise, Webb’s mechanical changes make him better suited to the pen.

      • YODA777 5 years ago

        LeBlanc throws harder then 85mph. I have seen him throw as high as 90mph on a few occasions this year.

  3. They’re average as a group.
    You can’t take ERA without adjusting for park, you should know that.
    Their rotation has been below average this year.
    Latos has been great, the rest have been below average.

    • Mario Saavedra 5 years ago

      They may not be the best of the league, but to say that the rotation has been below average is a ridiculous statement. Even in Petco, those are great numbers.

      • Petco + best defense in baseball = good ERA, no matter who’s pitching.

        • Mario Saavedra 5 years ago

          I disagree. the pitching has been well above average this year, all factored in. How is a 3.25 ERA (Garland) bad in any terms? Clayton Richard, Leblanc also have sub 4.00 ERA, and Correia, while shaky, has kept the team on the games, (except for 1 awful month). Even if the defense has been great, the offense has been brutal, and they all (bar Leblanc) have a winning record, so they have kept the ballclub on the games. I think you could not have asked for more of this young group of starters (except Correia of course).

          • Garland: 1.49 K/BB
            LeBlanc: 2.09
            Richard: 2.04
            Correia: 1.85

            And none of them get enough ground balls to make up for it.
            You can’t count on ERA ever, but especially not in the most extreme run environments like Petco, and when they have the #1 defensive mark in baseball.

          • Mario Saavedra 5 years ago

            Defense is the way this team plays, so making the pitchers “worse” for having strong defense is not a valid argument. They do have below average offense as well, which has cost this team some wins, should that be factored in as well?. Put 5 average starters on this team and subtract that group. I can assure you the padres would not be better than they are right now.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Thank you. Exactly. That is just the way the team is. And they win.

          • I agree up to Correia whom has been garbage before the last few starts. A lot of that can be family problems though

    • What do you want, a rotation of aces? Latos has been superb, while Garland & Richard have been good and efficient. The Padres have played to their strengths well (pitching and defense) which has allowed LeBlanc and Correia to be average. So many people want to find an excuse for why this team is playing so well, yet your excuses hold no weight. Pitching and defense win championships, Pad’s added enough offense to get it down. Learn to live with it buddy.

      • Garland has been bad, Correia has been awful, LeBlanc and Correia are almost average, but not quite.The position players are better than the rotation.
        Actually, the HITTING is above average while the rotation is below.
        The #1 bullpen and the #1 defense is the key, not the below-average rotation.

        • What stats are you looking at? Garland is bad? I’m not sure you are familiar with Garland, but he is an efficient innings eater with a 11-8 record. Granted he has 8 losses, but he also has 11 wins. I am sure there are plenty of teams out there that would pay a lot of money for those 11 wins and 3.41 era. Garland is not the ace of the staff and was not supposed to be. C. Richard is young but still boast an 11-5 record with a 3.8 era, so like I said…. good and efficient. A lot of things are coming together for this team and the pitching rotation is one of them and one of the reason’s San Diego has a 5 game lead in the West. How do you argue that?

          • If you honestly think pitcher win records mean ANYTHING or should be used in ANY argument at all, I have nothing more to argue with you.

          • AirmanSD 5 years ago

            I think you are right in that that ERA isnt the best way to prove that a pitcher has been good or not. And its true that the Padres pitchers have taken advantage of PETCO, but that is what the Padres designed this team for and you cant fault the players for listening to the gameplan. If you go by the advanced stats only Latos has been truly above average this year, but Richard and Garland have been close to league average, and Leblanc/Correia have been below average. Leblanc is a fine 5th starter, and Correia could be replaced, but Garland is doing exactly what the Padres want him to do, chew up innings giving them league average production. They have bullpen has been otherworldly, and they have more relievers in the minors. But the starters have done their jobs, and are consistent, that is the point, they keep them game close and give the Padres a chance every night. Its not about numbers always, sometimes it is about results, and so far you can’t really complain, for the future I am sure that one of Correia/Garland will be brought back for the innings eater role, LeBlanc in the 5th spot, and Latos and Richard somewhere in the mix, with Castro and Luebke also getting a look, but the Padres may add another arm (via FA or trade, depending on outlook of Adrian negotiations). Solid if unspectacular, but its works.

          • Sam_Lee 5 years ago

            If you honestly think pitcher wins records mean nothing, you need to start over. You keep lecturing everyone with absolutes based on assumptions. You’re not really arguing, you’re regurgitating cliches and demanding that everyone accept them.

          • longtimepadrefan 5 years ago

            You are an idiot.

          • You have to understand the Padres philosophy on pitching before just throwing out k/bb stats. The Padres emphasize pitching to contact because of their defense. These pitchers stats on k/bb would be different if they pitched different. The fact is they are doing what is asked of them which is working. ERA is not as overrated as many stat geeks beleive. In this case the Padres great ERA has everything to do with execution. The pitchers are executing the game plan. I would say these pitchers are all above average at playing baseball. Calling them below average is a result of your slanted view on what is considered a good pitcher.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Come on man. Seriously?

          • Park-neutral or park-adjusted statistics.
            San Diego offense: 9.5 runs above average
            San Diego defense: 52.5 runs above average
            San Diego bullpen: 46.7 runs above average
            San Diego rotation: 10.2 runs BELOW average

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            But my point is why do all of these stats matter? If the padres TEAM is getting the job done than that’s that.

          • The Padres are a GREAT team. But to say they might have the best rotation is flat out wrong, that’s the point I’m making because that’s what the article implies.
            Latos is a keeper, everyone else is whatever.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            No. Part of every teams great rotation relies on the whole team. A win is a win.

            Their rotation is fantastic and if you say they have a great pen but not rotation doesn’t that rely on defense too?

        • Garland has been bad some years in the past, but you’re simply not paying attention if you think he’s been bad this year. ERA+ 110 which adjusts for parks and defense….10% better than average is not “bad”

    • oscarrobles 5 years ago

      Hahahah, oh wow.

    • Tim Valencia 5 years ago

      I have to disagree with you as well. Can you support your statements with any facts?
      Is the staffs ERA lower at home than away? yes a 3.6 vs a 2.8 i don’t think that shows them as average. In fact, hypothetically speaking if the padres played all their games on the road and had the same ERA they would rank still in the top 10
      How else do you attribute other stats the padres are killing it in?
      #1 in strikeouts (with Latos not having more than 9 in any start?)
      #3 in saves (with the saves leader)
      #1 in BAA
      Also since you say our park plays such a huge difference then why are a third of the shutouts we have on the road?.
      I know no one really knows much about the Padres but try and back up your bias with some proof

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Well I know someone who knows a lot about the Padres…His name is Tim Valencia!

        But seriously, all you have to do is watch this team play. There game is speed defense, and pitching. No reason to fault their rotation because their defense helps them out a ton. The bullpen has been outstanding and have helped their starters and have helped the team win but isn’t that what they are supposed to do? They play the game right and make it extrodinarily awesome to watch them play.

        • Padres relievers: 3.78 K/BB, 48.2% groundballs, 0.72 HR/9
          Padres starters: 2.08 K/BB, 46.2% groundballs, 0.92 HR/9

          Relievers are amazing, starters are average.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I think what you are saying, relievers are incredible, starters are great.

          • Tim Valencia 5 years ago

            no what he is saying is the padres are great the relievers are incredible and the rotation is outstanding

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Well said and you are absolutley right.

          • moonraker45 5 years ago

            How in the world is that average?

          • Exactly….average. Garland, Richard and Leblanc have been about average, or a slight bit better. Latos has been great and Correia terrible. Let’s not say the middle group has been #5 starters though because most haven’t ever seen them pitch

      • moonraker45 5 years ago

        great post sir.

    • ERA+ is an actual statistic you know….just downgrading everyone as much as you want doesn’t work either.

      Garland has actually been quite good this year.

  4. rickjr13 5 years ago

    And with that comment, Jon Garland pitches 7 strong, shutout innings away from Petco against the lowly Cubbies. They do play half of their games on the road where they are 35-25, can’t adjust for the park to much.

  5. What happened to Poreda?

  6. sashaj 5 years ago

    Latos has a road ERA in the 2s, the rest of the rotation have road ERAs in the 4s. Not great, but not too bad either. They are still performing better than a lot of teams away from home—second in team era away from PETCO. I wouldn’t call them overrated.

    • Their defense comes with them when they leave Petco, too.

      • AirmanSD 5 years ago

        I agree with that he padres benefit from the advantages of PETCO park, but its still hard to place that kind of value simply in defense. UZR +/- and runs saved all have their problems. But its not fair to say the Padres pitchers are doing well solely due things outside of their control. The Padres starting staff has the 10th best in MLB xFIP so they are not solely relying on the defense and park, its helps buts its not the sole cause of their success.

  7. FxFrenikk 5 years ago

    Anyone who pitches in SD’s park will have an ERA boost

    • doesn’t matter, you build you’re team for your ball park. yankees get power hitters, red sox get righty flyball hitters. you dont build a team without taking into account what type of stadium you have.

      • bw831 5 years ago

        ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. finally, someone correctly pointed out that the padres are built for their park and their defense. their pitchers are doing a good job. they keep them in games by pitching to the strengths of their defense. i really don’t think its all that complicated. RH hitters can still hit bombs to LF … so LeBlanc throws a changeup and gets hitters out in front and HRs turn into doubles or flyballs. Just my .02.

        • Finally, someone with some sense. This is exactly the point. The Padres have a great rotation for “their” game plan.

  8. chemistry,desire, appetite to win …..I the love dodgers, in the fourth place do.

  9. Come on Eric, I get what you’re saying that ERA is overrated specially in Garland’s case who DOES NOT deserve that ERA he’s carrying, but to say that him and Leblanc are bad and Correia is awful is a little exaggerated. (I will agree with Correia Though, a 4.50 ERA for a Petco Park Pitcher is too much imo.) And the article isn’t implying that the Pad’s rotation is the best, it’s implying that it is the most consitent.

  10. 5150bosox 5 years ago

    Harang(san diego state) will sign w/ the padres next year, you heard it here first along w/ another middle tier starter. Free agent pitchers now want to come to SD if the money is ok, Garland and Correia will not be back.

    • If Garland leaves, I agree they sign 2 starters. If you’re a FA starter looking for a 1 year make good deal, why would you even think of signing anywhere else?

  11. young, cheap quality pitching. how can you go wrong?

  12. agro23 5 years ago

    Garland and the Padres have a mutual option. Expect it to be exercised. Correia may not be back though. More important than the composition of the Padres rotation is making sure that Torrealba comes back (another mutual option) because he is the catalyst.The Padres 2011 rotation will be: Garland, Latos, (surprising free agent), Richard, and LeBlanc. Luebke will attempt to crack the rotation during Spring Training. Castro will pitch in Portland.Now, the 2012 rotation, that’s the stuff. Latos, Castro, Luebke, Richard and an innings eating free agent. Cheap and nasty.

  13. Padres_Fan_2010 5 years ago

    maybe sign Brandon Webb?

  14. Padres_Fan_2010 5 years ago

    maybe sign Brandon Webb?

  15. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    I think Luebke isn’t much closer than Castro and Castro is better and has better stuff.

  16. alex bentley 5 years ago

    good call there bud

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