Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starter Joe Wieland (43) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Wieland is in the majors right now, thanks to an injury to Padres starter Dustin Moseley. The 22-year-old right-hander was acquired by San Diego in last year's Mike Adam's trade with the Rangers, and he's considered one of the better pitching prospects in a system suddenly bursting with quality minor leaguers.
His major league debut didn't go very well, though, as Wieland lasted all of five innings while allowing six runs, partially due to the three homers he gave up. It was an inauspicious start, for sure, but there's reason to believe he can be a useful pitcher in the majors soon.
He's just 22, and has all of 7-2/3 innings pitched at Triple-A to his credit. Even Double-A was a short stint for him, as he just reached that level during the 2011 season, and only threw 70 frames between his time in both the Rangers and Padres organizations. The jump to the majors for some spot starting was going to be premature no matter what, given the limited time he's spent in the high minors, but San Diego thinks he has the talent to make it anyway.
The thing is, Wieland is more about location and pitch sequencing than he is about pure stuff, so the jump from quality minor-league hurler to capable major leaguer isn't going to happen overnight. It might take starts like his initial one to teach him what he can and can't get away with when facing the world's greatest hitters. And that means patience on your part, as well as the Padres.
Wieland isn't likely to be a huge help to you in NL-only formats right now, given he doesn't have a set rotation job, and because if he does stick around, he's got a lot of learning to do. He's got the talent to overcome those hiccups and eventually become a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but you might not want to be there when he's figuring things out.
Once he does get the hang of this whole pitching in the majors thing, though, then you'll be looking at a pitcher who, while not missing a ton of bats, should be able to keep runners off of the bases thanks to his quality walk rates, in a park built to enhance pitcher performance. Even if you don't want him right now, keep an eye on his progress in 2012, both in the majors and in the minors, as he's the kind of pitcher who will be able to help you in the future.