Chris Paddack (22)
Recemtly acquired Chris Paddack has been on fire this season. He was picked up from the Miami Marlins for Fernando Rodney and has picked up right where he left off as a Marlins farm hand. In his first two Padres start at Fort Wayne he has a 1.00 ERA in nine innings in which he has struck out 15 and walked one. This after going 2-0 for the Marlins in six starts with a 0.95 ERA. He now has 63 strike outs in 37 innings pitched this year. Paddack has a low to mid 90’s fastball which could tick up in velocity as he gets bigger. His best pitch is a plus change up in which he continues to baffle batters with. Paddack has great control to boot and could show up in the Padres rotation around mid 2017. He is still extremely young but like all on this list prior to him, he has tremendous upside.
Enyel De Los Santos (22)
Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the Joaquin Benoit was this young talented right-hander. I had the opportunity to see his first start at Lake Elsinore in person last month. De Los Santos has a great fastball and likes to challenge batters with it. As he matures he will learn the time and place to do so. Right not at Lake Elsinore he is getting roughed up a bit. He has allowed seven home runs in his six starts to go with a 6.92 ERA. He is a few years from being rotation ready but his stuff is great. Like all prospects he could bloom into something very special. The fact he is 20 and pitching in high-A ball is a good thing. He will likely have to repeat the level again next season, but could move quickly after he figures things out.
Jean Cosme (22)
Remarkably the Padres acquired this young talent from the Baltimore Orioles for Odrisamer Despaigne. The Padres had cut Despaigne and to get a young talent like Cosme in return for him is a miracle. I do not know what the Orioles were thinking but I’ll take it. I spoke to Padres minor league catcher Ryan Miller about Cosme earlier this season. He caught him during the Spring and told me he has excellent spin on his fastball. He also said it was fun to catch Cosme. He is 6′ 2″ and 155 lbs and will increase velocity as he gets bigger and stronger. The right hander is 7-4 with a 3.03 ERA and has a 1.19 WHIP. He knows how to pitch and has been very effective in doing so. Another talented young arm in this Padres farm system and I haven’t even got to the Padres draft picks from this past June’s draft. How can you not get excited about the future of this pitching staff?
Cal Quantrill (23)
The Padres surprise first pick in this season’s draft was the Stanford product. The Padres had multiple workouts with the young man prior to the draft and knew exactly what they were getting into with him. The right handed pitcher had Tommy John surgery in late 2014 and is just about 100 percent recovered. He is with the AZL Padres and currently getting his work in. Quantrill has great upside and unlike the previous pitchers has some experience. Being a collegiate pitcher dictates that he should only take two years to fully develop at the most. With that being said Quantrill could easily be in the rotation by late 2017 or so. That all depends on his health, but the Padres will surely take their time with this young man.
Eric Lauer (23)
The Padres third selection in this years draft could be on the fast track to the major leagues. Most scouts on draft day named Laurer as the pitcher who was closest to being major league ready. He had a 0.69 ERA at Kent State last season as a junior. The lowest ERA in the NCAA since 1979 for a starting pitcher. The lefty has four pitches and the ability to locate all in the strike zone. He tops out at around 94 MPH with decent tilt and his slider is described as above average. He is athletic on the mound and has a very smooth repeatable delivery. He should beat Quantrill to the majors and could be in the rotation at some point next season.
Reggie Lawson (21)
This 18-year-old has a dynamic fastball but it is not clear if he is rotation material or a bullpen piece. His secondary pitches need to improve if he wants a shot at a rotation spot. He throws a curve ball right now but it is far too slow and hittable. He has an excellent frame and is already throwing 95 MPH at the age of 18, so the Padres have a nice talented young pitcher here. Lawson has an outside chance at cracking the rotation in 2019, but with the list of pitchers ahead of him, he might be brought along as a reliever or closer. It’s nice to have depth. With that you actually have options with young players. The future is bright with this rotation. I can’t say it enough.
Mason Thompson (21)
Last on this list is Texas fireballer Mason Thompson. He injured his elbow his junior year and underwent Tommy John surgery. At the time he was throwing in the mid 90’s as a junior in high school. The Padres showed no fear in drafting this young man as they recognize his upside. Before the injury Thompson would have probably been a top 10 selection in this years draft. The Padres are looking for value and he definitely provides that for A.J. Preller and the Padres. At 6′ 7″ he has great size and also has some decent secondary pitches. He has the stuff to be a starter, but that all depends on his health. Thompson could emerge into an ace if everything breaks right. He has a long road before then, but the right handed pitcher has a tremendous ceiling.
Hansel Rodriguez (22)
This young man was plucked from the Toronto Blue Jays farm system for Melvin Upton Jr. He has a great arm and like most youngsters is very raw. Out of all the prospects he has the most question marks surrounding him. His secondary pitches are non-existent at the moment. He really needs to fix that or he will have a hard time advancing in the system. A.J. Preller likes what he sees in this young man, so you have to believe he can still grow as a pitcher.
It’s head-scratching how talented this Padres staff can be very soon. I hope you enjoyed this preview of the potential staff. If you think the next two years are going to be lost for the Padres, then you have another thing coming. I’ll address that issue in time. Stay tuned for that.