2015 third round pick Jacob Nix battled a groin injury throughout spring training, and that injury extended into the regular season.
He did not make his first start of the season until May 26th, and ended up starting ten games for the Storm before being promoted to Double-A San Antonio.
In those ten games, Nix registered a 4.32 ERA/3.94 FIP in 66 2/3 innings.
He struck out 51 batters while walking 10. His best outing was an two-hit, 11 K complete game shutout on June 28th.
He was promoted to the Missions in August, and actually ended up making his first career Triple-A start in Game 4 of the PCL Championship for the Chihuahuas.
Logan Allen was promoted in June to Lake Elsinore, and he is a guy to definitely get excited about. He was part of the Padres return in the Craig Kimbrel trade. At only 20 years old, the left-hander fired 56 2/3 innings for the Storm, striking out 57 while walking 18. He only gave up two home runs en route to a 3.97 ERA/3.31 FIP. Allen was able to stay healthy after a sore elbow sidelined him for some of 2016. People are already discussing him as being a potential breakout prospect in 2018. The trajectory for him is definitely pointing upwards.
- Corey Blueberg was rewarded with the Storm’s “Pitcher of the Year” award for his performance in 2017. All in all, Blueberg struck out 74 batters in 60 innings with a 2.85 ERA. He also saved 10 games and was named a Cal League All-Star. This was the second straight season in the Cal League for the 24-year-old. In June, Storm pitching coach Glendon Rusch called Blueberg’s wipeout slider “MLB ready” in an interview with the Union Tribune.
- 24-year-old Gerardo Reyes was part of the Padres’ return in the Wil Myers–Trea Turner trade, and he had a very nice year for the Storm. With a mid-90s fastball, Reyes struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings to go along with a 2.63 ERA. Reyes is short (5-11, 160 pounds), but he showed this year he has a chance to progress through the Padres’ system. For a more advanced look at Reyes, look here.
- Jose Castillo, another part of the return in said Wil Myers trade, impressed a whole lot of baseball people with his performance with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He built on that performance with the Storm with a 2.87 ERA and a 9.38 K/9 in 47 innings. The Padres organization rewarded Castillo with a promotion to Double-A San Antonio to end the year.
Position player wise, it was a quiet year for Lake Elsinore. The MVP of the team was probably Austin Allen, a left-handed-hitting catcher who had a massive year. He slashed .283/.353/.497 with 22 HR and 81 RBI in 121 games. His OPS was at .849 with a 127 wRC+. There are reports that Allen has some defensive issues, which, with him being 6’4″ and 225 pounds, is not too surprising. Regardless, the power is there and the bat is there. He should be San Antonio-bound in 2017.
Josh Naylor slashed .297/.361/.452 with 26 extra base hits in 72 first-half games. He was selected with fellow teammate Cal Quantrill to go to the Futures Game in Miami. Following that game, he was promoted to Double-A San Antonio. Naylor was only 19 years of age when the season started, so I suppose that it is OK that the raw power he displays in BP has not translated to games yet. To get where the Padres want him to be, though, the power has to start showing up sooner or later.
Toolsy Michael Gettys hit 17 home runs and stole 22 bases, but he struck out in over 37% of his at bats this season. He’s still 21 and perhaps the most polarizing of all the prospects in the Padres’ system. Some love him and think he can still put it all together, others think he is a non-prospect. This season was pretty discouraging, but the story with him stays the same. IF he can cut down on the strikeouts, he’s got a shot.
Rod Boykin is someone to keep an eye on in 2018. He put up a 142 wRC+ and OPS’d .905 in 43 games to end 2017 after being called up from Fort Wayne late in the season. Boykin’s a good athlete and only 22 years old. He did strike out 32.8% of the time, however.
Other names of note include Ty France, who opened the season with the Storm and performed well enough after 30 games to be promoted. Javier Guerra OPS’d .625 at Lake Elsinore, and was surprisingly promoted to San Antonio in July. Kyle Overstreet hit .321 in 53 games, and was sent back down to Fort Wayne due to catching needs. Chris Baker and Ruddy Giron both struggled.