Harvesting Opinion is a regular feature on Seedlings to Stars which will appear every Monday. Each week, six of FanSided’s team blogs send S2S a question relating to their team’s minor league system, and we answer them in this space–each question gets one article devoted to answering it. In this way, we make sure we regularly get to discuss hot-button issues relating to the systems of every team, as these go on a five-week cycle.
Please note that any statistics used may be a day or two out of date, as we prepare our answers over the course of a week.
In this edition, we tackle a question sent to us from our San Diego Padres blog Chicken Friars.
What is your scouting report of the new Padres acquisitions from Texas – Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland?
Nathaniel says: I’m a big fan of both pitchers.
Both Erlin and Wieland are fastball/curveball/changeup pitchers. A quick look at their numbers tells you all you need to know about their command, and they both have balanced arsenals—none of their pitches grade as below-average.
Erlin is an undersized lefthander whose best pitch is an overhand curveball in the mid-to-upper-70’s. His fastball sits around 90 mph but plays up due to his command and deception, and his changeup is good enough to neutralize righthanded bats. His biggest issue is a lack of plane on his fastball (largely due to his short stature) which leads to a lot of balls in the air. Of course, that’s less of an issue in Petco Park, but don’t be surprised if Erlin gets touched up a bit in Triple-A—the Padres’ Tucson affiliate features fences that aren’t hard to clear.
Mechanically, Erlin has a solid, repeatable delivery with a slight hip turn that hides the ball nicely. Other than his size (6’0”, 175 lbs.), there shouldn’t be many concerns about injuries with him.
Wieland is a righthander who, unlike Erlin, brings more imposing size to the mound (6’3”, 185), allowing him to get better plane on his pitches. He pairs a low-90’s moving fastball with a big overhand curve and an average changeup. He’s another pitcher who has unbelievable command of the strike zone with all three offerings. Wieland has a fluid, easy delivery and a durable frame that should be well-suited for eating innings at the big league level. He throws very slightly across his body, but it’s not a major concern.
Overall, both pitchers profile very well for the Padres. After all, these are two guys who have combined for a 255/27 K/BB ratio this season. Given that neither has truly dominating stuff, the strikeout rates will likely drop in the majors, but since they allow very few walks and their home park will allow very few homers, it’s tough to see Erlin or Wieland becoming less than mid-rotation starters if they stay healthy.
Wally says: It’s hard to not like both Erlin and Wieland so as much as I’d like to disagree with Nathaniel here (I’m getting antsy) I just can’t do it. Both guys are going to positively impact the San Diego Padres rotation at some point. As good of a reliever as Mike Adams is, I still can’t believe the Rangers parted with both of these guys to get him. For my money, the Padres got the steal of the 2011 trade season in this deal.