Here’s a pair of Padres pitchers (always a good demographic to target) that could give your pitching staff a boost…
Aaron Harang | SP | Padres | Ownership: 29% Yahoo!, 16.3% ESPN
A foot injury robbed Harang of a month’s worth of playing time, but he returned over the weekend to throw six no-hit innings against the Dodgers. You may have heard about that game. His velocity was fine (unsurprising since it wasn’t an arm injury) and and he did generate ten swings and misses out of 95 pitches, striking out six. It was a typical start for Harang, though I wouldn’t expect him to repeat a .000 BABIP in future outings. His strikeout rate (6.38 K/9) hasn’t returned to 2007 (8.47 K/9) or even 2009 (7.87 K/9) levels yet, and at 33 years old it’s fair to think that level of performance is gone forever. Harang survives by limiting walks (2.83 uIBB/9) and by letting his outfield defense work for him (just 41.2% grounders, Padres’ outfield has a +2.2 UZR/150), which isn’t a bad strategy in Petco Park. ZiPS projects a similar peripherals but a 4.35 ERA the rest of the way, and I could easily see him outperform that in his home park. If he gets traded to a team with a less forgiving playing field, all bets are off. Either way, he’s a solid back-end option for your fantasy team until such a trade happens. Harang will start the first game after the All-Star break on Thursday, against the Giants in Petco Park. After that he’ll start at the Marlins then at the Phillies.
Cory Luebke | SP, RP | Padres | Ownership: 28%, 32.2% ESPN
The Padres moved Luebke into the rotation a few weeks ago after he dominated out of the bullpen (43 K and 15 BB in 39 IP), and he’s rewarded them by allowing just two earned runs in three starts. His 10.29 K/9 for the season is inflated by his time as a reliever, but he’s whiffed 21 batters in 16 IP as a starter so far, walking just three. That doesn’t really jive with his minor league track record (7.5 K/9 in 430.2 minor league innings), and ZiPS sees Luebke’s strikeout rate dropping to 7.02 K/9 the rest of the season. There’s a decent amount of upside here, almost like a 2011 version of 2010 Tim Stauffer, who moved out of the pen and was lights out down the stretch last summer. ZiPS pegs Luebke for a 4.14 ERA the rest of the season, though like Harang I could definitely see him outperforming that with some help from Petco. Unlike his big right-handed teammate, this southpaw is not in danger of being traded from his home ballpark. Luebke will start Saturday against San Fran, but he’ll miss the Marlins and instead pitch at the Phillies then at home against the Diamondbacks the next two times out.