Padres’ left-handed pitcher Joey Cantillo is poised to make 2020 a great season.
San Diego Padres’ left-handed pitching prospect Joey Cantillo is hungry for a successful 2020 after an astonishing 2019 season in Fort Wayne.
Cantillo has quickly risen the ranks in the loaded Padres’ farm system, as he is now the team’s 16th ranked prospect. Since being drafted in 2017 by the organization, the pitcher hasn’t had the most traditional path.
Sixteen seems to be a common number when it comes to Cantillo. The San Diego Padres 16th ranked prospect happened to be San Diego’s 16th round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft.
The native of Hawaii remembers the day he was drafted vividly, and it still motivates him every day. “I was happy to be drafted and everything, but I fell further than I thought,” Cantillo said. He uses this memory as a reminder to prove scouts, doubters, and the other teams that passed on him wrong. “In the weight room, it was always something I kept in the back of my head,” Cantillo explains about his workouts. In 2019, the lefty proved those people wrong. His 1.93 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 98 innings led the TinCaps by a significant margin.
Despite the great 2019, Cantillo wants to accomplish more in 2020. “I have to prove myself. Never be complacent and stuff like that,” Cantillo said. He knows that he needs to have a healthy mindset to separate himself from the other pitching prospects within the farm system. “We got a lot of dudes. I think the biggest thing heading into my third offseason is to get bigger and stronger,” Cantillo said about the winter.
The Padres have big names in the farm system such as MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, and Ryan Weathers. The lefty knows who those guys are, and he also realizes what has to be done to remain successful. “As long as I can continue to do what I’ve been doing these last couple of years… I can throw that fastball harder like everyone’s talking about because it does play higher than what it is now. Whether it’s 88 or 92 (mph), it’s a good fastball. I need to establish those offspeed pitches better, and that curveball can play off of the fastball and changeup,” Cantillo states about his craft.
Joey Cantillo found his passion for baseball from watching the greats. Being that he is from Hawaii and his dad is originally from New York, the pitcher grew up supporting and watching the New York Yankees. “Watching the greats play, Jeter and A-Rod. I loved watching greatness and superstars and watching what they did. From a young age, I just started to watch baseball with my dad, and then I started to play, and I fell in love with the game,” Cantillo recalls about his love of the game. Being able to watch and appreciate greatness has allowed the Hawaiian pitcher to aspire to be like the players he idolized.
Being from the island state, the pitcher draws inspiration from fellow Hawaiian and San Diego Padres’ pitcher Kirby Yates. Cantillo got the opportunity to meet Yates during the Padres 2019 Spring Training in Peoria, and Cantillo has a ton of respect for him. “He’s worked his way up. I have so much respect for guys like that who continue to grind their way up. He has earned what he’s got. That’s the same thing that I’m trying to do,” Cantillo said. Being a potential teammate with Yates would be “sick,” according to Joey Cantillo, and that fact adds extra motivation to reach San Diego. Cantillo always says- “Hawaii against the world.”
Expect Joey Cantillo to begin the 2020 season in Lake Elsinore. He finished his 2019 campaign in the California League after a solid season in Fort Wayne. If he has a similar 2020 season, don’t be shocked when you see Cantillo’s name at the higher level and close to Petco Park.