San Diego Padres to call up top prospect Robbie Erlin?

San Diego Padres top pitching prospect Robbie Erlin delivers a pitch.
Robbie Erlin may be getting the call to join the San Diego Padres. (Shawn E. Davis/

According to, sources have shared that top left-handed pitching prospect Robbie Erlin will be promoted from triple-A Tucson at any time. There’s not official press release, but Friarhood does communicate with many players and has a pretty good track record.

So, who is Robbie Erlin?

Scouting Report: Robbie Erlin, now 22, is a 6′-0″/175-pound left-hander who was drafted in the third round in 2009. Erlin, who came over in the Mike Adams trade, does not have the prototypical size for an ace pitcher. However, he is very athletic and that helps him repeat his mechanics with ease. I wouldn’t classify him as a finesse pitcher by any means. While his four-seam fastball sits comfortably between 88-91 mph, his two-seamer has good running action and tilt to both sides of the plate. Another thing that works in his favor, being a “bad body”-type pitcher, is he is not a max-effort guy. The ball jumps out of his hand quickly, and, as they say, he has “easy gas.”

He is a control artist on the mound, pinpointing both sides of the plate effortlessly. He is also a bulldog competitor. To compliment his pinpoint control, two- and four-seam fastballs, Robbie Erlin has a 12-6-curvball that will buckle hitters’ knees with the best of them. His curvball is a wipeout plus pitch. His change-up doesn’t have the velocity divide you would ideally like to see from a fastball to change-up, but it is improving quickly — partly due to his stellar mechanics and exceptional arm motion. His advanced makeup, along with his exceptional control and repertoire, should give Robbie Erlin the chance to be be a solid middle-of-the-order pitcher and has enabled him to move through the minors fairly quickly.

In 2011, between three leagues (two with the Rangers in the Cal-League and the Texas League, and one in San Antonio with the Padres) he posted a 2.99 ERA in 147.1 IP, walking only 18 (1.0 BB/9) batters and striking out 154 (9.4 SO/9). Last year, he was slowed by an arm issue, or we may have seen him as a September call up. Last year, he went  3-3 with a with a 2.82 ERA in only 60.2 innings pitched (because of the arm issues) while striking out 80 batters between the Arizona League and the Padres double-A affiliate in San Antonio. This year he has posted a pedestrian 4.73 ERA while going 2-0 in three starts over 13.1 innings with 10 strikeouts in triple-A Tucson. It should be noted that Tucson is a hitters haven and the numbers should be looked at with a grain of salt. He’s not an overpowering pitcher, so it’s not surprising he has underwhelming numbers at the launching pad in Tucson.

The Padres continue to be decimated by injuries and have had atrocious pitching to start the 2013 campaign. Recently, Tyson Ross, the Padres number-five starter suffered a left shoulder subluxation, which means he partially dislocated his left shoulder (non throwing arm) in a swing he had on his first MLB hit off the wall in Los Angeles. Now, I don’t know if Ross will be moved to the 60-day DL or the Padres will simply reassign starter Thad Webber to triple-A Tucson, who was called upon for Ross, when Robbie Erlin joins the team.

The Padres did need to do something regardless because of the apparent pitching woes. The Padres are ranked second to last in baseball with a 4.7o team ERA. Only the Houston Astros have been worse in all of MLB. The Padres starting staff also is ranked second to last with a 5.87 ERA with opponents batting a robust .287. In contrast, Padres relievers rank 11th in baseball, with a respectable 3.10 ERA with opponents batting just .238. Suffice it to say, the Padres need to improve their starting pitching and top prospect Robbie Erlin should help a the struggling staff.


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