Here is a look at five San Diego Padres pitching prospects who are currently flying under the radar a bit. The Padres have a deep system and, more often than not, players can slip between the cracks. These five men deserve recognition for their accomplishments.
There is no doubt that the strength of the San Diego Padres’ minor league system lies in the pitching.
MacKenzie Gore, Chris Paddack, Adrian Morejon, Logan Allen, Ryan Weathers, Luis Patino, Anderson Espinoza, Michel Baez, Cal Quantrill, Nick Margevicius, and Reggie Lawson provide a great nucleus of arms, but the amazing thing is they are just the beginning of the Padres’ depth in the area. There are dozens more relevant pitchers who could develop in time and be really decent players at the major league level.
If you are not excited about the future of the San Diego Padres, then you might want to check your pulse.
There are several teenagers, and a few older prospects, who deserve recognition for their efforts. Here is a look at five:
I have been singing the praise of this young man for a while. I wrote a piece about him in March. He is already hitting the low to mid 90’s with his fastball and could very well be the next Luis Patino-type talent to emerge seemingly out of nowhere for the Padres. He has excellent mechanics and is still only 17 years old (he will be 18 in April). It is pretty amazing that a player who should be a junior or senior in high school is pitching at the professional level, and doing it well. He went 1-4 last year in the AZL with a 4.38 ERA in nine games and 24.2 innings pitched. He struck out 29 in that time, but also walked 18, showing that he does need some refinement. He may have made the proper adjustments at the end of the year. In his last three starts of the year, he went 9.1 innings pitched, only allowing one earned run while striking out 18. The ceiling is high with the right-handed pitcher from Venezuela.
This left-handed pitcher is very impressive and shows great maturity on the mound. The Mexican hurler went 2-4 last year in the Dominican Republic. He recorded a 2.31 ERA and a 1.011 WHIP in 58 innings as a 17-year-old. He struck out 58 in that time and showed great command, walking only 11 batters in 13 games. Partida is now 18 years old and should pitch in the States somewhere next season. Look for him to eventually be in Tri-City if he shows health and command while pitching for the AZL teams in 2019. At 6-foot-1, he has decent size for his age and could get bigger and stronger in time. He is already showing a 90 mph-plus heater, which is fantastic given his ability to change speeds and pitch to contact.
Mexican left-handed pitcher Omar Cruz emerged in 2018 as a very decent prospect when he went 1-1 with a 1.91 ERA between Arizona and the Tri-City team. He struck out 59 batters in 42.1 innings pitched, showing the ability to finish off hitters. He does not have a high-velocity fastball, but spots his heater well to both sides of the plate. He has a great grasp on using his offspeed pitched correctly, and should advance in the game on that skill set alone. Cruz will not blow you away with his stuff, but he is still only 19 and could add velocity in time.
At 22, there is still time for Aaron Leasher to improve on his walk issues. When he throws strikes, he looks like a potential mid-rotation-type pitcher. The 6th-round pick from 2017 has really grown in his second year in pro ball. He made the Midwest All-Star team this year and showcased well in Lake Elsinore to end his season. Look for Leasher to repeat in the California League, but he could emerge in 2019 as he has shown a very lively arm.
19-year-old, Cuban, left-handed pitcher Ramon Perez is flying under the radar, but has performed well in his two years in the States. He went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.255 WHIP in 11 games and eight starts with the Tri-City Dust Devils. He has a bit of a crossfire motion to his delivery and struck out 45 batters in 40 innings in the Northwest League. Perez should start the year in Fort Wayne, where we will get an excellent idea of his worth. He was particularly effective against left-handed hitters holding them to a .158 batting average last year.