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FutureStarrWho Are the Pitchers for the Padres in 2023?
Andy Green of the San Diego Padres has a formidable rotation and bullpen. While Yu Darvish and Blake Snell remain on their roster, it appears that many more will be competing for starting jobs in 2023.
Keep an eye on Taylor Rogers, who arrived at the ideal time and is already showing some promising signs of being a capable closer. He could be joined by others such as Luis Garcia.
On Wednesday evening during Game 2 of the NLCS, Snell pitched five scoreless innings to limit the Phillies to four runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six in an 8-5 victory. His efforts lifted his team out of a stalemate in the series and could now advance to potential Game 6.
Snell has been outstanding at the end of the regular season, finishing with an 8-10 record, 3.38 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 24 starts. He was especially strong in his final four outings, compiling a 0.72 ERA, 32:6 K:BB ratio and 0.64 WHIP in 25 innings over that span.
Snell, 29, struggled early in the game with four runs on a bloop single and fly ball into the sun that Juan Soto couldn't catch. Nevertheless, Snell recovered his form and held Philadelphia to their first run of the game in the fifth inning.
Snell also hit his changeup for a strike three times, which has been an inconsistent pitch this season. Snell finished with 14 swings and misses on 89 pitches, an improvement over his five-inning performance in game one of the series but still below his career average of strikes per at bat.
Mike Clevinger has had a rough season for the Padres, but he did put together two impressive performances during the playoffs. He started Games 2 and 3 of the NLDS and didn't allow a single run in those two starts.
He earned the victory in Game 4 of the NLCS, pitching well enough to secure a victory for his team. That was an important win for the Padres.
But he still needs to improve if he hopes to remain as a starter on the rotation in the future. In his first three starts this season, he has thrown less than six innings and allowed multiple home runs.
He's still a reliable option, with his last seven starts featuring an ERA of 1.12 and FIP of 3.39. Plus, he's struck out an impressive amount of batters. If this trend continues and he gets more starts this season, then he could easily be one of baseball's top pitchers.
Musgrove was part of the pitching core that knocked them out during their best-of-seven playoff series against the Phillies. His 6-0 record and 1.29 ERA across seven shutout innings helped San Diego eliminate a team that won 101 regular season games, sending them to the NLDS against the Dodgers.
On his return to the Padres for the postseason, the 2011 Grossmont High School graduate showed that he still had it in him. On Sunday night at Citi Field, he pitched seven scoreless innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts as they cruised to a 6-0 victory that sent them into the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Musgrove considers playing in San Diego during the playoffs to be one of the greatest opportunities of his Astros career, even though he won a Cy Young Award. It is an opportunity he never would've had otherwise.
Garcia had an outstanding playoff performance, culminating in a five-inning shutout during Houston's Division Series-clinching win against Seattle on Saturday. This demonstrated the depth of Houston's rotation and demonstrated why they should be targeting the World Series rather than just taking home a wild card.
Garcia spent his first two major league seasons primarily at second base. In '21, he moved back over to shortstop (committing 11 errors in 28 games and 219 2/3 innings), but has since been moved back to second base for this season.
He may have been better suited for playing short, but the move back to second base is a wise one for him. It will enable him to occupy a more secure defensive position - something especially crucial in this age group.
Though he may not be the same starter as last year, he's still likely to end up in the bullpen at some point this season. That could include pitching in the eighth inning when Nick Martinez is unavailable or even pitching the ninth.
On Friday, the Padres added veteran reliever Nabil Crismatt to their roster, providing them with additional bullpen depth. The former Mets pitching prospect is a solid veteran who is coming off a 3.76 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 81.1 innings this season.
Crismatt will make his major league debut this season and serve as the team's primary long relief pitcher, though he could eventually transition into a starting role. He had an impressive track record while pitching for the Mets' Triple-A affiliates, though he has struggled mightily in the bullpen.
On Wednesday night's regular-season finale against the Giants, Crismatt pitched well for the Padres in his return from injury. He struck out two of his final two batters and threw 11 of 13 pitches for strikes throughout the game.
He had notched a hold in three of his past five appearances and has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings over that span, as he attempts to move up the Padres' bullpen pecking order. Given his 2.94 ERA and 1.17 WHIP this season, there's good reason for him to get into contention for a postseason spot.
Morejon was once widely considered to be the top pitching prospect for the Padres. He signed out of Cuba with an incredible $11 million bonus during international free agency back in 2016.
The young southpaw has already proven that his fastball is worth the investment. Already hitting mid-90s, he shows the potential to keep developing it further.
He also boasts a curve that can miss bats and an improved changeup that should become useful. While Morejon is still some time away from making the big leagues, he's made impressive progress over the past year which could pay off for San Diego in the long run.
Last season, the 24-year-old experienced shoulder and elbow issues which hindered his development. To earn a place in the rotation this year, he must prove that he can stay on the mound. While he should make an impressive impact as middle relief pitcher this season, durability will remain an issue.
Munoz is a hard-throwing reliever who joined Seattle in August 2020 via the trade that sent Taylor Trammell, Ty France and Luis Torrens to San Diego. While this move proved risky for the Mariners at the time, they were rewarded with an exciting young reliever who has since become an important part of their bullpen.
This season, the 23-year-old recorded four saves, 22 holds and a 2.49 ERA in 64 appearances. After his impressive 2022 campaign, he will undergo foot surgery but should be ready to return to spring training with few limitations, according to Seattle president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto.
Last season, he made his postseason debut for the Padres and pitched a complete game in their wild-card opener against the Mets. While his performance was strong, his command was lacking and he walked too many batters.
Kirby Yates is one of the few pitchers to come out of Hawaii in MLB, and his dominating performance during the playoffs has made him a likely candidate for an extended contract with the Padres. Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the team has begun discussing terms with Yates' agents.
Since his return from Tommy John surgery in March 2021, the left-hander hasn't thrown more than seven innings. However, he's recorded two holds and posted a 5.14 ERA and 1.57 WHIP during that span. Unfortunately, earlier this month he suffered elbow inflammation which means he won't be available until later in the season.
Yates was an impressive force in 2019, leading the league in saves and finishing with 3.4 fWAR. His unorthodox pitching strategy allowed him to dominate, mixing a four-seam fastball with a splitter that fades and drops low.