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2010 vs 2011 = Even
Predicting the starting rotation from last year against the potential in 2011 is not an easy task.
San Diego's starting pitching came from nowhere to rank fifth in MLB in ERA at 3.73, but gone are Jon Garland and oft-injured Chris Young.
While the numbers last year look great, the bottom line is that the Padres were heavily-reliant on young arms like Mat Latos (pictured) and Clayton Richard. Latos is becoming more known around the league, and with good reason.
From May 1 to September 1, Latos racked up a cumulative ERA under 2 and was only the second pitcher in MLB history to allow two runs or less in 15 consecutive starts. Among those starts was a near perfect game in San Francisco in May, in which the Giants only hit was a bang-bang play at first base.
Latos is not the Padres' only young arm who has been impressive, and looks to be even more so this season. Lefty Clayton Richard, who was acquired in 2009 in the Jake Peavy deal with the White Sox, has been largely effective in the San Diego rotation. Richard went 14-9 with 20 quality starts and a 3.75 ERA in 2010 and looks to improve upon those numbers this season.
Tim Stauffer is a wild card in the rotation this season, coming off a productive season in which he made 25 relief appearances along with seven starts. As a whole in 2010, Stauffer's final numbers were 6-5 and 1.85 ERA in 82.2 innings. A small sample size, but enough to believe that he could be a consistent starter in the middle of the Padre rotation.
San Diego local Aaron Harang was signed in the off season from Cincinnati and, although his ERA in 2010 ballooned over five, he is expected to gain a spot in the rotation, probably in the fourth spot.
Youngsters Wade LeBlanc and Cory Leubke seem to be the leading candidates to battle for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.
For what the Padres lost in Garland and Young, they might have made up for in the continued development of three very solid young starters.