In a 2010 season full of Padres feel-good stories, the biggest was the emergence of Mat Latos. Latos got tons of national notoriety as the face of those over-achieving Padres, and with good reason - he was flat-out filthy over the summer.
2011 has been nowhere as much fun for the Padres, but there have been feel-good stories anyway. Jesus Guzman's resurrection. Aaron Harang's comeback. Cameron Maybin's maturation. And another young arm has emerged in the Padre rotation - Cory Luebke. Luebke has not gotten the media attention Latos did last year, but he's been pretty darn good too.
I took a look at Luebke's starts in 2011 and compared them to what I consider as Latos' best stretch in 2010, 22 June to 27 August. Each comprises 11 starts and 1090 pitches (actually Luebke has thrown 1092 pitches in his 11 2011 starts). As you might expect, Latos' numbers are better, but look at how well Luebke measures up.
Latos: 70.2 IP, 79K, 21BB, 1.27 ERA, .188/.249/.270, 0.9829 WHIP, .254 BABIP
Luebke: 66.1 IP, 69K, 14BB, 2.71 ERA, .201/.248/.335, 0.9682 WHIP, .251 BABIP
So why no hosannahs for Luebke? Likely because the Padres are currently 11 games under .500 at the moment, and Luebke spent most of the first 3 months of 2011 coming out of the bullpen. Also, I suspect that in spite of the inroads advanced statistical metrics have made in recent years, people were/are still seduced by won/loss record. Latos entered last September 14-5 and a dark horse Cy Young candidate. Luebke is currently 5-6, 4-4 as a starter, and no one is talking about him as a Cy Young candidate.
He is going to be, however.
Looking for an answer to Lincecum and Cain? You've found it in Latos and Luebke. The Padres have two potential aces in their rotation right now, and neither is 27 yet.
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