San Diego Padres President of Baseball Operations and General Manager A.J. Preller made a couple of additions to the starting rotation in the offseason. One was Seth Lugo, who hadn’t been a consistent starter since 2018, and the other was Michael Wacha, who has had some injury issues in the past.
Despite the question marks, both moves had potential in the long run. Wacha could end up staying healthy the whole year and be more productive than Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea were last year. Lugo could end up being this year’s version of Nick Martinez if he ends up moving to the bullpen at the end of the season.
We don’t know what’s going to happen in the long run with those guys but for now, the results are great.
Lugo, who gets the start tonight against the Kansas City Royals, has five quality starts this season. In only two of his seven starts has he allowed three or more runs. The 33-year-old has four times as many strikeouts (36) as walks (9).
Wacha just delivered what will probably be his best start of the season. The 31-year-old carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, striking out a career-high eleven Royals batters. He isn’t someone who is going to blow opponents away with velocity but his changeup has been a real weapon for him. Last night, for example, he got Kansas City to swing and miss at 40% of his changeups.
“He’s not throwing 98 miles an hour out there,” Bob Melvin told the media last night. “And he’s striking out 11 guys...He pitches a little bit differently than you see some guys nowadays, but obviously very effective. And if you look at the line, you would think he was a power pitcher throwing upper 90s.”
There was a point in Wacha’s outing last night where it seemed like the Royals were expecting the changeup, which allowed his fastball to seem like it was an upper 90s pitch.
As for Wacha’s total work this year, he like Lugo has been making more quality starts than not. His 4.06 ERA doesn’t really show how he good he’s been. He had a back-to-back poor starts in April where he allowed 12 runs combined but he has allowed four fewer runs in his six other starts combined.
Him and Lugo might not be the sexiest names but they’ve kept the Padres in most of their outings when there were some questioning if they’d be able to do so. Who knows if they’ll fall off as the season progresses but I think it’s safe to say that Peter Seidler isn’t regretting giving them $15 million combined this season based on what he’s seen.