Five Unheralded Left-Handed Pitching Prospects in the Padres System

Omar Cruz (Credit: MiLB)

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(Aaron Leasher) Credit: Journal Gazette

There are several players in the Padres farm system who get a ton of recognition. Here is a look at five left-handed pitchers who aren’t in the top 30 for the San Diego Padres just yet, but they could be soon if they continue to develop in a positive manner.

10 total players within MLB’s top 100 overall prospects, has many in San Diego very excited.

The Padres have a very bright future. There is no debating that.

Presently, the roster of the Padres consists of young credible major league talent. Men who will mix very well with all these prospects developing. The waves of talent arriving at Petco are more than just a cliché. It is a way of life for the San Diego Padres. With the #6 pick in the June draft and penalty-free come July on the international market, the Padres will add to their talent with even more ridiculously high-ceiling players in the coming months. It is a great time to be a fan of the San Diego Padres.

With such a burgeoning farm system, it is impossible to keep tabs on everyone. The top 30 within the system get plenty of press, but it is time to show some love for some of the younger, more unheralded prospects who could crack the top 30 lists in time.

Here is a look at five young lefties who could emerge in the system in the next year or so.

Joey Cantillo– 19 years old- 6’4″/225 lbs  (Kailua, Hawaii)

Drafted in the 16th round in 2017, this native Hawaiian has a very nice floor in the game of baseball. He has improved his command with the help of the Padres minor league pitching coordinators, and with that enjoyed a very nice 2018 season. His deceptive left-handed motion is very tough to repeat, but he has definitely made improvements on staying consistent. Cantillo went 2-3 last year with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.061 WHIP in 49 innings pitched. He struck out 63 in that time while walking 15. He struggled in his only start with the TinCaps but should have no issues starting the year in the Midwest League.

Omar Cruz– 20 years old- 6’0″/170 lbs  (Hermosillo, Mexico)

Despite being only six-foot tall, Cruz gets excellent velocity on his pitches. His fastball has decent movement and he spots it well to both sides of the plate. There are some command issues that need to be resolved, but there is no reason not to believe that he will be productive in the upper minor league level. He went 1-1 last year in 42 innings pitched between the AZL and Tri-City. He struck out 59 in that time, but walked 22 and recorded a 1.323 WHIP. His 1.91 ERA shows that he works his way out of jams very well and could excel with improved mechanics. Cruz will likely start in Fort Wayne, depending on how he looks early this spring.

Credit: Journal Gazette

Osvaldo Hernandez– 20 years old- 6’0″/181 lbs  (Havana, Cuba)

This left-handed pitcher out of Cuba enjoyed a great 2018 season, recording a 1.81 ERA and a 1.195 WHIP in 109.2 innings pitched for the TinCaps. He walked 27 batters in that time while striking out 94 batters showing very positive control for a teenager. Of all these pitchers, Hernandez has arguably the best fastball which he gets up to the mid-’90s. He also has a very nice changeup that makes his fastball even more effective. The lefty can also throw a slider and a curveball. He has great mechanics and makeup while on the mound. He should have no issues starting the 2019 season in the California League with the Storm.

Aaron Leasher– 22 years old- 6’3″/208 lbs  (Mount Pleasant, Michigan)

The Padres selected Leasher in the 6th round of the 2017 draft out of Morehead State. He turned in a productive 2017 season (1-3 4.29 ERA/1.542 WHIP) but really blossomed this past year with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Leasher was 5-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 97 innings pitched and made the Midwest League All-Star team. He ended his season in Lake Elsinore, going 1-2 with a 4.29 ERA in 21 innings pitched. He has a little bit of a control issue, but the lefty has shown a great deal in his time with the Padres. He will probably start the season in the California League but could end 2019 in Texas.

Ramon Perez– 19 years old- 6’1″/190 lbs  (Baracoa, Cuba)

The island of Cuba has given the Padres several young prospects. Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon get the majority of the press, but this left-hander is very impressive on the mound. He has a low 90’s fastball that he spots well, but his curveball is already a plus pitch. He needs to work on the changeup, but he has shown an ability to learn and refine his mechanics. Perez went 2-1 last year in Tri-City while recording 2.48 ERA and a 1.225 WHIP. He struck out 45 batters in 40 innings pitched for the Dust Devils. The left-hander should start in Fort Wayne but will need to show something in the spring.

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