The depth in this group is absolutely ridiculous.
Of all the positions, the Padres have by far the most talent at the starting pitcher position.
People who complained about the team dealing Enyel De Los Santos for Freddy Galvis this winter probably had no idea of the talent the team has here. With plenty of teenagers still in the DSL and Arizona, there will be more talent on the way shortly. The Padres have built a quality minor league staff, and it is something to be proud of.
Here is a look at the top arms in the system currently:
1- Mackenzie Gore
The Padres used their selection in the 2017 draft to pick up Mackenzie Gore out of a high school in North Carolina. He has an amazing arm and has already impressed many within the organization. The left-handed hurler has an amazing assortment of secondary pitches already at the age of 18. His curve is a plus pitch, and the slider and change are not far behind those. Impressive for a pitcher that can throw in the mid 90’s. His motion and leg kick are exaggerated, but he has managed to repeat them time and time again. Control and command should not be an issue for this polished pitcher. He starts in Fort Wayne and could rise very quickly through the system.
2- Michel Baez
The 2017 season was Michel Baez’s coming out party. He went from someone who was left off most (not mine) top-30 prospects lists, to one of the Friars’ best talents. He features a high 90’s fastball, which he is unafraid to use. Baez consistently hits 97-98 on the radar gun and he isn’t the type of pitcher who has control issues. The right-handed pitcher pounds the zone with his fastball and also has a developing change and slider. He will likely start the year in Lake Elsinore once he returns from a minor injury in the spring, and could advance fairly quickly after that.
Health was a key for this young man and he successfully made it through the 2017 season without any issues to his surgically repaired elbow. Quantrill was able to utilize his off-speed pitches, and though he did have a few rough moments, he really impressed the Padres’ front office. Quantrill was brought along slowly in the spring as the team still wants to be cautious with the young right-hander. He was in major league camp in March and learned a lot from his time with the big leaguers. 2018 could be a big year for him, but the team will not rush him.
Signed for $11 million dollars during the 2016 international spending spree, Morejon comes with a very high ceiling. The lefty was successful in 2017 as he was promoted from Tri-City to Fort Wayne. He is very advanced for his age and possesses a high knowledge of how to pitch. He has excellent stuff, but is more than capable of pitching to contact and working deep into games. With a mid 90’s heater and two above-average breaking pitches, he should be a solid contributor at the major league level. He will start in Lake Elsinore this season and should perform well in the California League.
The left-handed pitcher out of Southeast Missouri State actually had better numbers in the Texas League than he did pitching for the Lake Elsinore Storm. Lucchesi was 6-4 with a 2.52 ERA in the California League, and then went 5-3 with a 1.79 ERA in San Antonio. His strikeout numbers went down while pitching for the Missions, but that was to be expected as he was battling more refined hitters. He looks to be the real deal and could be a decent mid-rotation starter when it is all said and done. He clearly has the durability and repertoire to remain a starter moving forward. He throws in the low to mid 90’s with an excellent slider/change. In his first two major league starts this spring, the man has been very impressive.
6- Anderson Espinoza
Unfortunately, he missed the whole 2017 season with arm issues. After some delay, the pitcher had the surgery in the summer and looks to be lost for the entire 2018 season. He will be 21 in the year 2019 when he should be fully healthy, so there is still time for him to be a very good major league player. Espinoza will have a long road, but his repertoire is excellent. The Padres will bring him back slowly, so a 2018 return seems highly unlikely. Look for him to come back full-strength in 2019.
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