Padres add RHP Stephen Kolek via Rule 5 Draft

Credit: Texas A&M Athletics

Credit: MiLB

The Padres selected Stephen Kolek in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft from the Mariners. 

Reminiscent of the 2017 San Diego Padres, the team selected Stephen Kolek in the Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.

The Padres need pitching and took a chance on the 26-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Seattle Mariners.

The Texas A&M product pitched for the M’s Triple-A team this past season, recording a 4.23 ERA in 61.2 innings pitched.

Kolek is the younger brother of Tyler Kolek, a Marlins top-5 draft pick. He was originally drafted by the Dodgers but spent the last three seasons in the Mariners farm system. The Padres used their 15th pick in the draft to select Kolek. The team must stockpile young arms for the 2024 season.

In 2023, Kolek went 6-2 with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP in 49 games and 69.1 innings pitched. He struck out 76 in that time and walked 32 batters.

The young pitcher enjoyed a bump in velocity after moving to the bullpen in 2023. Kolek has moved from the rotation to the bullpen throughout his career in pro ball. Last season, his fastball jumped up to 98 mph with Tacoma. It typically sits in the 94-95 mph range. Kolek has shown the ability to sink the ball more recently. His groundball rate climbed to 57% in 2023, which is very good.

Currently, Kolek is pitching in the Dominican Winter Leagues where he owns a 0.00 ERA in his first four appearances.

The Padres will likely use Kolek in the bullpen, though a starting job is not out of the question.

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His secondary offerings are decent as Kolek throws a hard slider teamed with a slower breaking ball. The three-pitch arsenal plays. The Padres’ pitching coach, Ruben Niebla, will likely work with the pitcher and refine his stuff. The Padres will need to keep Kolek on their roster for the whole season in order to retain his rights.

This move will be typical for the Padres as they search for young, cost-controlled pitchers for the next several seasons.

Stephen Kolek will be displayed this spring in Peoria. There is a great chance he will make the team out of the spring and provide middle relief for the Padres in 2024.

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