It’s Time for Padres to Bring up Eric Lauer and Others

Credit: MiLB

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Credit: MiLB

The San Diego Padres are still a ways away from being title contenders, and the team still has a growing phase to complete.

The growing pains have certainly been evident so far in the 2018 season. Eric Hosmer, who signed the biggest contract in franchise history in March, is adjusting to a new team and a new league. Dinelson Lamet is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery in May. Luis Perdomo is struggling to become the serviceable pitcher the team had hoped when he was selected in the Rule 5 draft. Austin Hedges, despite working on his swing in the offseason, hasn’t shown any offensive improvement.

While the noise from the fan base has been mostly groans, some glimpses into the future have been present. Joey Lucchesi was called up to replace Lamet in the rotation. He has been terrific. Franchy Cordero is hitting the ball hard. Jose Pirela has been the team’s most consistent hitter so far, and last season hasn’t looked like a fluke. Christian Villanueva leads the team in home runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. The Padres haven’t seen this kind of production from a third baseman in years.

This team didn’t enter the 2018 season with hopes, or even a plan, to qualify for the postseason. That playoff run is still a little while away. However, the Padres should consider shaping their roster for those playoff runs now, rather than later. A.J. Preller and Co. should start assessing who is dead weight, who can benefit from time in the minors before returning to the club, and decide which players in the minors are ready for the majors now.

Luis Perdomo was sent down to Triple-A El Paso, the club announced on April 19. His most recent start, against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, was abysmal. He allowed seven earned runs over three innings. What’s worse, the Dodgers were knocking the cover off the ball while he was on the mound.

Andy Green had plenty to say about Perdomo after his first start of the season. He gave up five runs over four innings, and walked four, in a 7-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He responded to what Green had to say in his next start, holding the World Champion Houston Astros to just one run in five innings.

Any confidence Perdomo may have had is likely gone after his performance against the Dodgers. Before being selected in the Rule V draft, Perdomo had never pitched above Single-A. It would benefit him to spend some time at Double-A, or even Triple-A, where he can work to improve his craft. Perdomo has the talent to perform in the majors, but that talent needs to be developed.

With Perdomo’s demotion, the Padres announced that Kirby Yates was activated from the disabled list, and is now back on the 25-man roster. Yates is the only addition announced. No players have been called up from the minors.

Kevin Acee, who covers the Padres for the San Diego Union-Tribune, tweeted earlier on April 19 that there is “widespread belief in the organization” that it’s time to see what Eric Lauer can do in the majors. Lauer is the No. 13 prospect in the Padres’ farm system. He’s made three starts so far in 2018 for Triple-A El Paso, allowing three earned runs over 18 innings. If the organization really believes that it’s time to see what Lauer can do in the majors, they should bring him up now and not wait until later.

As for the offense, the Padres could likely begin to address the lack of production from some of their position players. Hedges is tied for the team lead in strikeouts. Carlos Asuaje is hitting just .219. With Jose Pirela performing well at the plate, and Wil Myers returning soon from the DL, the team should consider making Pirela the everyday starter at second base.

Hunter Renfroe is another player who could be on a short leash. With Myers out of the lineup, Renfroe has had a real opportunity to show why he belongs on this team. He hasn’t done that. With Myers returning to a crowded outfield, at-bats will become more competitive.

As more players become ready to receive the call to the majors, the Padres will have to make more roster decisions. It’s better to start doing it now, and have the roster set when it’s time to make that postseason run.

2 thoughts on “It’s Time for Padres to Bring up Eric Lauer and Others

  1. Well written article but I continue to wonder why so many amateur and even professional writers speak about this organization and its ability to “contend” or have a “playoff run” as a foregone conclusion. The team is mediocre on a good day and has made zero moves to improve its starting pitching staff which boasts between 1-3 pitchers who possibly belong on any other pitching staff.

    The idea of “prospects” emerging is great but has a massive issue: player development. The Pads have been historically terrible at developing players and the last five or so years have been no different.

    Indeed the club is loaded with prospects… but look the noun “prospect” in any dictionary- it doesn’t mean “succeed” or”definite” or “will”. With the Pads’ inability to develop players from the minor league level, it also means that trouble is coming for more of these young players than average projections for the league would suggest. If you need a gauge, simply look at current conditions: Where are the draft picks since AJ’s tenure began several years ago?

    Because the Cubs and “Stros tanked and fielded a championship team does not mean we will. We still lack an identity in the minor league system and it’s already showing on the offensive side of the ball in the likes of Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, Cory Spangenberg, Travis Jankowski…. et al. This team lacks a framework to win and while the marketing forces have been at work telling us that they’re “building”, my question is, building what?

    1. Okay. I’ll bite.

      This team will contend. You said it yourself, this is not just a local thing. Writers all over the nation recognize the talent that is currently developing in the system. The 2018 team is mediocre. What were you expecting? Why would the team with the majority of its talent being teenagers in the minors invest in a win-now mentality? That makes absolutely no sense and is exactly what this team used to do (I.E. Piazza, Cameron, Maddux, Edmonds, Lankford… etc) Where did that get the team?

      You are correct that prospects are just that. Prospects. There is no guarantee. But the law of average and common sense says that if you flood your system with high-ceiling talent, some will prevail. You speak of player development from the past, but this is not the same regime. This minor league program and system has been in effect for 3 years and are already seeing the benefits of it (Lucchesi, Lauer, Maton, etc…)… Give them a chance. Geez

      Hedges, Renfroe, Janowski and Spangy were not drafted by Preller or his baseball ops department, so mentioning them is a moot point…. Strike three. You are out.

      Look, I’ve been here 40 plus years. I understand the hesitancy. But complaining over every move and bringing up issues from past regimes isn’t productive. Sit back and watch this team get better with time. They will. And when they get to be a good team they will have long lasting success. That’s what we have all craved and needed. That is what the plan is. The plan takes patience. Thank you for the support to the site. I sincerely do feel your “Padres Pain”.

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