LeBlanc has pitched very well since taking CY's spot in the rotation. Latos, outside of the scintillating start against San Francisco, has struggled. With Young almost ready to resume his place, the Padres have a tough call to make: who gets sent back to Portland?
Here's my thought: it's not as simple as giving Wade LeBlanc a ticket to Oregon. Based on performance so far this year, Latos might be a better choice.
Let's take the emotion out of it and look at this objectively.
1. Latos (4 starts): 20 1/3 IP, 14 R (all earned), 24 H, 6 BB, 13K, 5 HR. WHIP = 1.527, ERA = 6.20. Granted, half the runs he allowed happened last night.
2. LeBlanc (2 starts): 11 IP, 1 R (earned), 10 H, 4 BB, 10 K, 0 HR. WHIP = 1.273, ERA = 0.82.
LeBlanc, despite making two fewer starts and throwing 9 1/3 fewer innings, has only three fewer strikeouts, is allowing fewer baserunners, and has a miniscule ERA.
Since Earned Run Average is an inherently flawed metric, a deeper look is in order. Here are a little more advanced statistics, ones currently commonly accepted as being good measures of the quality of a pitcher (i.e., they take the defense out of the equation). The first two take into account Latos' start last night, the last two don't.
K/BB ratio: Latos 2.16, LeBlanc 2.5.
K/9: Latos 5.76, LeBlanc 8.18.
FIP: Latos 5.46, LeBlanc 2.30.
xFIP: Latos 3.99, LeBlanc 3.42.
You can keep looking at your convenience. By all the statistical measures I reviewed, however, at this moment in history Wade LeBlanc is pitching better than Mat Latos. I'm not saying we should give up on Latos, or that 4 years down the road he won't be the best starter on the team - we shouldn't, and he might. But today - for this team - LeBlanc is currently the better option.
And let's not forget how close the #5 starter competition was in spring training. Latos beat-out LeBlanc the last week of March, so it's not like Latos' making the team was a slam-dunk. These guys graded out virtually even, with Latos being just slightly better.
So who do the Padres send down? They ought to, in my opinion, seriously consider Latos. Now, LeBlanc's next start is at home against Milwaukee (Thursday night). If he lays an egg, then perhaps you keep working with Latos and send LeBlanc back down. But if LeBlanc shuts down the
I really need to hire a proofreader.
(why I started pondering this: I have Wade LeBlanc on my NL-only Rotisserie League fantasy team, and I was trying to decide if I should keep him or trade him.)