There are high expectations for the San Diego Padres’ pitching staff, from the major league roster to the bottom rungs of the minor leagues.
It is a good time to be a fan of the San Diego Padres.
Let’s examine what the minor league rotations will look like come opening day.
With the use of a handful of resources, the prospects will logically be placed among four minor league rotations. Keep in mind a lot can happen over the course of the next four weeks. The team could sign a free agent. Injuries are a factor. Anything can happen.
El Paso Chihuahuas
RHP Chris Paddack
Acquired from the Marlins in June 2016 for reliever Fernando Rodney, this young man overcame Tommy John surgery and looks poised to compete for a rotation spot this year. Possibly as early as opening day. His fastball and changeup are plus pitches and play even higher with plus command and control. His curveball will determine if he can be an “ace” or more of a middle of the rotation workhorse. “Mr. suited and booted” looks to build off last years campaign and land at Petco Park some point soon. He is already on the 40-man roster as well.
LHP Logan Allen
The 2018 Texas League Pitcher of the Year is poised for a huge year as he is probably the readiest of any of his teammates for the rigors of a full season of innings. He topped out at 148.2 innings pitched in 2018. He could well easily be in the 180+ inning range by the end of the season which would allow him to impact a competing big league team down the stretch if needed. His bulldog mentality and improving stuff portend a future middle of the rotation workhorse.
RHP Cal Quantrill
The former 2016 1st round pick will see if he can build on his most successful stint as a professional. He ended last year in El Paso and has a lot to prove to the organization. The 24-year-old will have to find a way to combat lefties who torched him to the tune of .305/.376/.468. With the speed of his pitching prospect brethren coming to a fever pitch, he needs to demonstrate the ability to harness his stuff and miss bats consistently to stay in the long-term plans.
LHP Ryan Bollinger
Bollinger, a 28-year-old minor league free agent is coming over from the Yankees’ organization where his most recent campaign finished at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He will look to find a role on the club and absorb some innings with a veteran presence in what looks to be a very young Triple-A rotation.
LHP Jerry Keel
The Palmdale, Calif. resident was a 9th round selection of the Padres in the 2015 draft and has steadily been climbing the ladder since. He will be expected to be an innings-eating grinder. From an imposing frame, listed at 6-foot-6 240 lbs., he doesn’t bring a power repertoire you’d expect but gets by with more guile and guts. He knows how to pitch and is a good organization guy.
Others to consider- RHP- Brett Kennedy
Amarillo Sod Poodles
LHP Adrian Morejon
The Cuban sensation has some of the best stuff and potential in all of the minor leagues. He is a lefty who sits at 94-96 mph and touches 98 mph with relative ease. He combines that with an 11-5 curveball that was graded as a plus during the second half of the season. He also throws two separate changeups, a traditional one, and a knuckle-change. The biggest challenge standing in his way of a big league career is durability. He has never pitched more than 63 innings in a season. Last year he only made two starts due to a tender elbow. He will hope to shake the injury woes and see if his stuff can pitch over 100-plus innings this year.
RHP Michel Baez
This 6-foot-8 enigma has the biggest range of valuations from scouting agencies. They range anywhere from the front of the rotation potential to possibly a backend reliever. Like most big-bodied pitchers, it comes down to the ability to repeat his mechanics consistently throughout an entire start. He’s also started off the season the last two years late due to lingering back issues. Consistency and health will go a long way to having a successful 2019 season for Baez.
RHP Reggie Lawson
A strong bodied 6-foot-4 205 lbs. right-hander, Lawson had a big year at Lake Elsinore in 2018 where he saw his stuff tick up. His fastball which now sits in the 93-96 mph range. He also has a burgeoning changeup that flashes plus ability and a developing slider that he displayed after instructs at the Don Welke On Deck Classic. This breaking pitch has replaced a loopy curveball as his put away pitch. Now the challenge will be if this new tool will help him take the next step against Double-A hitters.
RHP Pedro Avila
This 5-foot-11 thick-bodied pitcher is physically similar to former Padre’ and current Brewers’ pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. That is not where the comparisons end with both sitting in the 91-93 mph range with diving changeups. Now where Chacin utilizes an above average slider, Avila’s go to out pitch is a 74-77 mph curveball that rates as one of the best breaking balls in the entire organization. Seeing how his stuff plays against Double-A hitters will go a long way in justifying his addition to the 40 man roster this past winter.
LHP Nick Margevicius
This 2017 7th rounder continues to overcome naysayers with his left-handed profile that lacks power stuff. He has supreme control as evident by his minuscule 3.3% BB rate at High A while also striking out 24.2% of hitters faced. Striking out at least a batter per inning in every stop of the minor league ladder so far bodes well, but seeing how the stuff plays against Double-A competition will go a long way to gauge his future. He best profiles as a future long end reliever if the stuff doesn’t tick up in a crowded future Padres staff.
Others to consider- RHP- Jesse Scholtens, LHP Aaron Leasher
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