Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 1/31/12
CKey Stats:Cory Luebke established himself as enough of a big league talent that San Diego was comfortable to trade away Mat Latos. Despite getting only 6 Wins on the year (he was in the bullpen until his first start on June 26th), he pitched better than his already good 3.29 ERA would lead you to beleive. He was able to build off of his cup of coffee in the majors in '10 by increasing his K% and decreasing his BB% leading to a 3.50 K/BB ratio, good enough for the 17th best ratio in the bigs (had he pitched the minimum amount of innings to qualify for the leader boards). Every single one of his modified ERA stats was lower than his actual ERA, and his FIP and SIERA even came in under 3.00.

Skeptics Say: PECOTA doesn't look upon Cory favorably projecting an 8-7 record to go along with a 4.43 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and a measly 86 K's. I'm not smart enough to understand how it works, but it's a very highly regarded projection system. RotoChamp however, has Luebke projected to closely match his numbers from last year, with an uptick in wins from 6 to 11. According to FanGraphs, his fastball not only gained half a mph but also increased it's value by about 6 times...a pretty significant jump. That, along with a moderate, but still impressive increase in the value of his slider don't convince me that he is going to have as bad a year as PECOTA thinks. One other cause for alarm? Opponents batted .206 off of him last season, while that's a great number, it seems tough to repeat given that 22% of the batted balls he gave up were line drives (for the record, the ground and fly balls were split identically at 38.8%)

Peer Comparison: The success that Luebke had starting had to have some sort of impact on the descision to trade Latos away. While Luebke won't be jumping into the number 1 spot in the rotation, it doesn't hurt to compare them and try to see what the Padres did. 

  Pitcher ERA FIP ERA-FIP K% BB% K:BB Luebke 3.29 2.93 .36 27.8 7.9 3.50 Latos 3.47 3.16 .31 23.2 7.8 2.98
I know there is more to measure than just what is laid out in the table above, but what really jumps out is the difference in strikeout percentage between these two pitchers. Latos is going into his 4th year in the majors, while Luebke is entering year three. Jeff Zimmerman developed some hitting aging curves, but also applied the same thought process to pitchers and strikeouts. Eno Sarris wrote about it here. Notice the data used refers to a debut, and not necessarily age. The basic idea is that most pitchers peak with their strikeout percentage in their debuts and then go downhill from there. With the higher K% starting out, it would seem Luebke is a safe bet to continue to get K's at a better rate than Latos. While you could go on the thought process that Latos also pitched better than his ERA indicates (which is true) you could argue that Luebke has more upside now. He had a better ERA FIP differential, a much higher K percentage and a comparable BB%. Factor in the home park for each pitcher now and it seems that Luebke could be the better pitcher going forward.

Team Outlook: The pitching staff is definitely the strength of this team. It's well known that their park is pitcher friendly, and given the make up of their offense, the Padres are going to need to keep the opposing offenses in check. Pitching on the road has always been a concern for Padres pitchers recently, but Luebke's splits from last season actually show he was better on the road than home.

What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline - #39 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com - #44 Starting Pitcher & #157 in the Top 250 Players; RotoChamp - #68 in the Top 300 Players; Mock Draft Central - #40 Starting Pitcher and #137 Overall

Projection: Wins will still be tough to come by, but there aren't any obvious reasons to think he is going to pitch worse than last season. 

11 W, 3.18 ERA, 170 K, 1.10 WHIP in 155 IP

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Irving unhappy with LeBron's style of play

Report: Mayweather's GF being harassed by McGregor fans

LaVar Ball pulls entire AAU team from floor, forfeits game

Pablo Sandoval apologizes for comments about Giants

LeBron James seems to respond to Kyrie Irving's trade request


Senator jokes that President Trump should nominate Tom Brady for ambassadorship

Report: Cubs interested in Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy

Marc-Andre Fleury took Stanley Cup on a road trip, protected it well

Cardinals say Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald won't play in Hall of Fame Game

Chiefs LB Tamba Hali goes on Twitter rant, seemingly wants out

O.J. Simpson still invited to attend Hall of Fame ceremonies

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Box Score 7/21: Stay cool this weekend sports fans

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker