Cory Luebke is working hard on earning that Ace title that some fans have been wanting to bestow on him since being picked in the first round in 2007. His 2011 was a pretty good time and in camp, he's working hard on some of his limiting factors that critics and analysts have brought up.
And what happens when you take off the limiting factors? Sky's the limit.
Jeff Sullivan does a comparison that may open the eyes of disbelievers:
Pitcher Strike% Contact% K% BB% GB% xFIP Pitcher A 65.8% 77.6% 25.8% 6.2% 40.7% 3.12 Pitcher B 65.5% 76.8% 27.2% 6.0% 42.2% 2.84 Pitcher C 65.9% 77.6% 27.3% 7.1% 35.1% 3.03
Forgive me for using this hackneyed technique. But as long as I'm using it, one of these pitchers is 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. One of these pitchers is 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner and 2011 American League Most Valuable PlayerJustin Verlander. And one of these pitchers is 2011 Cory Luebke as a starter. Which pitcher is which? Exactly!
So what are the criticisms? Luebke relies on his fastball a bit much. Last season, he was basically a two pitch pitcher, leaning on his fastball 64% of the time and his slider 26% of the time with a change-up sprinkled in. This season, he'll be adding a curve, but slowly... slowly...
"Right now, it’s my fourth-best pitch," Luebke said. "I’ve just got better things I can use when I get deeper in the counts. My thing is my fastball’s hard, my slider’s hard and my changeup’s hard. I just need that (off-speed) pitch to throw up there to get (hitters) off those things; to throw a little wrinkle in there."
Other criticism? Efficiency. Assuming that they keep Luebke on something of a count, he'll need to work through hitters quickly if he wants a shot at seeing the later innings. And one way to get more efficient? Different pitches to throw (as opposed to trying to fool a hitter on locating fastballs out of the strike zone).
"I think that it's something that I'll use more of this year," he said. "I rang up some pitch counts that got pretty high in the early innings and I want to be out there more to eat up some more innings. Maybe I can use [the changeup] to get a quick out here or there and save some pitches."
So Keys for the Season:
- Throw more junk to compliment the fastball
- Stay in games for as long as he can
- Become the Ace of the staff
- Get a good nickname
I'm think Cory "Top Story" Luebke. Go Padres.
#52 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres
Nemesis: The Ghost of Mat Latos
Mar 04, 1985