A look at the positives, negatives, and outlook of San Diego Padres’ pitcher Chris Paddack.
In 2020, there were only six starters that pitched over 58 innings and had a lower BB/9 than Chris Paddack‘s 1.83. Paddack’s new teammate and former Chicago Cub, Yu Darvish (1.66), happened to be one of the six who finished with a lower percentage.
“The Sheriff” pitched like a veteran in his rookie year, which earned him the nod to start Opening Day for the Padres in 2020.
In what looked to be the start of another great season, Paddack instead started to struggle. He opened the season with a solid performance against the Arizona Diamondbacks and then pitched well again less than two weeks later when he earned the win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The struggles started after that win against LA when Paddack gave up a combined 16 runs over the next four starts. His final five starts of the season, including one in the postseason, was much of the same. His strikeout numbers decreased, and he gave up a combined ten runs in the final four regular-season games.
Due to Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger’s injuries, Paddack started the first Padres’ playoff game in 14 years.
Paddack wouldn’t make it out of the third inning, giving up six earned runs off eight hits and one home run.
2020 wasn’t a great year for many, including The Sheriff. With his fierce competitive nature, general manager AJ Preller expects him to make the adjustments in 2021.
AJ Preller was asked what he wants to see from Chris Paddack moving forward: pic.twitter.com/Z0Zj0MQAen
— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) October 14, 2020
Paddack turned 25 years old on January 8. He is entering the prime of his career.
He has a competitive attitude and a winning mentality. He wants to strike out every batter he faces, but not only that, he wants to win.
Paddack’s changeup is one of the best in the majors. He throws it roughly 28 percent of the time.
Chris Paddack, Disappearing 85mph Changeup. 🤠👻 pic.twitter.com/b6fW173xBS
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 12, 2019
He has a chance to elevate his game with competitive rotation. His BB/9 improved from 1.98 in 2019 to 1.83 in 2020 and was among the Top 25 among starters last season in K/9 at 8.85.
Paddack is known to throw too many strikes.
He only has two comfortable pitches: Fastball and changeup. His curveball is still in the works.
In 2020, Batters made contact with the ball 83.5 percent of the time when they swung at pitches Paddack threw in the strike zone. Not only that, he doesn’t get many batters to swing at pitches outside the strike zone at a career 33.7 percent.
The command is there, but the movement is not. Paddack has proved that he can throw a strike whenever he wants, but it’s the inconsistency of ball placement that roughed him up this past season. Hitters were not afraid to swing at Paddack’s fastball, where he seemed to have lost control.
Paddack’s 2020 numbers are lower than his 2019 numbers in almost every category.
Another concerning statistic was the hard-hit rate amongst his fastballs last season. Opposing batters posted a 57.3 percent hard-hit rate and barreled it up 13.7 percent of the time.
The Sheriff will be one of the five in the starting rotation on opening day. The question is, will he be forced to pitch on day three due to the concern of Lamet, or will he be in the four-five slot.
Expect either Blake Snell or Yu Darvish to start on opening day for the Padres. If Lamet is healthy and ready to go, he could get the nod for Opening Day as well. With a full and healthy rotation (excluding Mike Clevinger), Paddack is the fourth-best starter on the roster currently.
My prediction for the 2021 Opening Day rotation is (Darvish – Snell – Lamet – Paddack – Lucceshi/Gore)
I believe Gore will get his chance this season, which could be problematic for Paddack if he did not improve on last season’s struggles.
On the bright side, Paddack loves to compete, and with this strong/competitive rotation, I expect Paddack to rise to the occasion.