Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cory Luebke (SP, Padres)

Cory Luebke (SP, Padres)

3.29 ERA, 139.2 IP, 154 K, 1.067 WHIP... 

That's all you need to know about Luebke's breakout season last year for the Padres.  The fact that his record was 6-10 is probably a sort of silver lining in that it may be the reason that his autos are still cheap (2007 Bowman Chrome Draft).

27 years old is a magical number amongst baseball enthusiasts.  It is widely regarded (and proven) as the year in which many players "break out" or have their prime season.  And even though Luebke (drafted 63rd overall in 2007) spent about four full seasons in the minors and only one full year in the majors, he is on every list of pitchers who are ready to have a monster season.

The most glaring stat for me, and quite mysterious, is how Luebke fared at home vs. on the road.  When I first started following Luebke, I wondered whether he was one of the many pitchers who was simply taking advantage of a pitcher's park (at PETCO).  Yet, his home ERA was 4.04, while his road ERA was a staggering 2.55.  I look for both numbers to revert to the mean this year (slightly above 3.00), which will mean a very productive season.

Luebke is a similar pitcher to Cole Hamels, a tall, lanky lefty with a plus fastball in the low to mid-90s, with a plus breaking ball.  He has a chance to quickly become the ace of the Padres staff.  Although sometimes hard to find, Luebke's base autos from 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft can be had for under $10.  I believe he is a very strong buy at this price.

RECOMMENDATION: STRONG BUY (07 BDPP Auto), Medium-term investment

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