Who the hell is Wade LeBlanc?

Posted: May 23, 2010 by sandydmz in Baseball
Tags: , , , , ,

Today, I was thrilled to wake up to find that AFN (yes, we luckily get it since we live so close to the base) was broadcasting the San Diego versus Mariners game.  Even more to my surprise and joy was that none other than LeBlanc was pitching for the Padres.  I’ve been keeping him on my radar as one of the people that I hate to play ever since the beginning of the season, and as one of the under rated players getting paid next to nothing that’s gonna beat my Giants down…I’m still haunted by memories of Paul LoDuca being a $300,000 killer of our team.

Before today, the man had six starts this season, 5 of which were quality starts, number 6 failed by just 1/3 of an inning.  One of the only things that has killed me about him is that he can’t go deep into games.  His five quality starts are barely quality starts. I do have to say that pitchers who rely too heavily on their bullpen are a bit frustrating.  Other than that, the 25 year old, who’s only in his third season in the big leagues, somehow finds a way to keep runners from scoring…with the exception of today that is.  What ended in a 15-8 win for Seattle in what was really an embarrassing game for pitching in general, LeBlanc gave up 8 earned runs in just 3 innings.  This skyrocketed his pregame ERA of 1.5 all the way to 3.3.  This is clearly due to the fact that his lack of innings causes every run to hit him hard, nonetheless giving up 8 in no time flat.  I will give him that the first runner on was a lucky ball off third base that is just one of those things you can’t do anything about.  Also, his third baseman being unable to convert the out with the runner on third breaking on a ground ball, pretty sad show of fielding.  But LeBlanc walking two batters in a row to load the bases with no outs: absolutely not a good sign and I just can’t feel quite so bad for him.

Although he demonstrates an obvious need for discipline in his pitching, I still have a good feeling about him.  He’s only 25 and is really in his first real full season.  He’s already shown a huge improvement on keeping long balls to a minimum.  He allows quite a few runners on, but is able to keep them from scoring, but you can see in his short 2009 season, that although he kept batters to a .210 average and had a fairly decent WHIP of 1.17, he was averaging over 1 homerun per 9 innings pitched which was a clear contributor to his 3.69 ERA.  Once he has a bit more command on his pitches and consistency in his starts, I see him being a real threat and big time pitcher.  Endurance would also be a huge plus if he remains a starting pitcher, but if he can’t go deep into games, I’d definitely be curious to see how he would work as a relief pitcher.  I would love a middle reliever that can put in five good innings, but I am just not thrilled about a starter who maxes out at five or six.  I think he would be better as a middle reliever for now, but the Padres have a pretty excellent group of relievers and no need to add one more to the list.  I’ll keep an eye on him until he proves me completely insane for believing in him, but for now, I like how he looks and am really excited to see this guy’s future.

If not, it looks like his mini hoops career may be going somewhere.




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