Cory Luebke is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He is expected back later on this summer, perhaps July — wait a minute! Am I recommending an injured pitcher? Maybe I should tell people to spend their first five picks on pitchers in their drafts, too. But take a look at Luebke’s numbers before the surgery.
|Major League Stats||IP||H||K||ERA|
In his major-league career, which includes four games in 2010, Luebke has averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. That’s a very nice number, especially for a young left-hander. Well, I guess 28 isn’t really that young. But being a southpaw that can strike guys out at a nice clip, he’s a very intriguing buy.
The latest update on him from Stephania Bell of ESPN on March 29:
“Cory Luebke, LHP, San Diego Padres: TJ surgery and flexor tendon repair, May 23, 2012. Experienced some pain in his reconstructed elbow this spring, forcing a temporary shutdown. This is not unusual but it reinforces the notion that these recoveries cannot be rushed; his timetable suggests a return around midseason but that could always fluctuate, as could his performance in the early stages.”
Now, you know that guys coming back from Tommy John have some setbacks and typically take some time to make it back. His injury timing is very similar to what Josh Johnson of the then-Florida Marlins went through. Johnson returned midway through the 2008 season and ended up making 14 starts. He went 87 innings that year and posted a 3.61 ERA. He rang up 77 batters in those 87 frames. In 2009, the year following the comeback, Johnson started 33 games. He went 209 innings and recorded a 3.23 ERA while striking out 191 batters.
I am not predicting that Luebke can post the exact same numbers, but for a guy who a lot of fantasy leaguers may forget about, he could be a sneaky pickup for you. You could add him in the next few months and see how the year ends up. If he looks great towards the end of the season you may have a keeper for next year. If things don’t go that well for him this year, you could, at worst, have a late-round sleeper next year who may fall into your lap.
Either way, I really like Luebke’s future in sunny San Diego. Perhaps he will hang out with Ron Burgundy while he’s making his comeback.
Brent Meyer is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Brent in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of brentameyer.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!