Fantasy Baseball: Is San Diego Padres' Cory Luebke for Real?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IJuly 20, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 16:  Cory Luebke #52 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park on July 16, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Cory Luebke couldn’t have asked for a much better run in his four starts since joining the Padres’ rotation. He’s 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA, a 0.67 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 24 innings. Considering how well he pitched as a reliever, his success isn’t all that surprising.

In 39 innings over 29 relief appearances, Luebke was 1-2 with a 3.23 ERA, a 1.00 ERA and 43 strikeouts.

Luebke has been better this year as a starter. In a brief taste last year (three starts), Luebke allowed eight runs over 15.2 innings (4.60 ERA). He’s living up to the potential that made him the 63rd overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft following his 9-1, 2.07 ERA season for Ohio State.

Luebke had his ups and downs in the minors before putting it all together last year. He went 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA for Double-A San Antonio to start the year. He was not intimidated by the jump to Triple-A, as he went 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA for the Portland Beavers.

What is surprising is his strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio. After striking out 7.54 K/9 in the minors, he has improved to 9.71 in his 80.2 big league innings.

Luebke is likely to regress some in the second half simply because he set the bar so high in his four starts. His BABIP of .231 likely won’t hold. It’s been even better (.185) as a starter. That said, Luebke has been even better on the road (1-2, 1.82 ERA) that at home (2-1, 3.24 ERA) despite pitching in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park.

If you are hurting at pitcher, Luebke has the goods to help your rotation. If he’s available in your league, why not give him a try?

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