Monday, August 2, 2010

Luebke likely to reach majors this season

Courtesy Portland Beavers

Today's News and Notes were very light. Instead of waiting until tomorrow, here is more to read today.

As mentioned a few weeks back, former Buckeye pitcher and the 2007 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Cory Luebke was a prospect of heavy interest for those discussing trade talk with the San Diego Padres. As Saturday's MLB trade deadline passed, Luebke was still property of the Padres.

In today's San Diego Union-Tribune Kevin Gimmel writes as Luebke goes from possible trade bait to potential call-up.

By Kevin Gemmell
Monday, August 2, 2010

Cory Luebke was flattered, sort of.

His name had been thrown around the San Diego Padres organization a lot the past few weeks — both for his composure since being called up to Triple-A Portland — and for, well, the price he might have fetched as trade bait.

“If it happens, it happens,” he said after a start last week in Las Vegas. “But I really enjoy being a part of this organization and hopefully I’ll be around a long time.”

As it turns out, the trade deadline came and went Saturday without Luebke moving. Rather, it was three other pitchers, Nick Greenwood (Single-A Fort Wayne) and Corey Kluber (Double-A San Antonio ) in the Ryan Ludwick deal and Wynn Pelzer (San Antonio) in the Miguel Tejada trade.

Luebke could still be on the move through a waiver deal — though that’s unlikely since he is considered one of, if not the most, big league ready pitcher in the farm system. In fact, the 63rd overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft could be the pitcher San Diego adds to its roster for the playoff push.

“He’s absolutely the most polished,” said Mike Wickham, director of minor league operations.

The fact that Luebke is coveted by other teams is nice. After all, since joining the Padres in spring training as a nonroster invitee, the 6-foot-4 lefty has impressed at every level.

The most important change he’s made is learning to mix up the location of his fastball. By his own admission, he was one-dimensional, trying to jam his mid-to-low-90s heater inside all the time. As he advanced through the farm system, the hitters got better and what used to be a strength became an Achilles’ heel. The time at camp helped him work out those kinks. He’s also fully recovered from an oblique strain that kept him out of the rotation for a month and a half to start the season.

“He’s a lot more confident now in his pitches and his approach,” said Portland pitching coach Steve Webber. “He trusts his fastball.”

In 10 appearances (eight starts) at Double-A San Antonio, Luebke compiled a 5-1 record with a 2.40 ERA and 44 strikeouts to 12 walks. Since joining Portland, he’s 2-0 in four starts with a 3.81 ERA and 22 strikeouts to six walks. Opponents at Triple-A are hitting .216 against the former Ohio State Buckeye. “I think being around the major league guys and the major league staff really helped,” Luebke said. “You learn what it takes to get there.

Per Luebke is likely to reach the majors this year.

While the North County Times has a story where one high-ranking Padres official listed Luebke as the Padres top prospect.

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