7- Eric Lauer
The left-hander out of Kent State progressed very nicely in his first full year of professional baseball. Lauer was able to get past some rough starts in Double-A to finish the season off with six consecutive starts, allowing only one earned run or fewer. His strikeout numbers plummeted in Texas, but he was able to maintain his impeccable control while pitching for the Missions. He has great poise on the mound and commands the strike zone traditionally. He could make a run at a rotation spot at some point in 2018 if everything breaks right. Lauer has a very high floor. He will pitch in the majors at some point in his career. The lefty is starting in El Paso and will be one of the first pitchers called up when the team needs reinforcements.
8- Logan Allen
With all the intangibles to succeed, this left-handed pitcher is certainly going to make further strides in 2018. Allen was promoted midway through the season and was able to sustain success in the more hitter-friendly California League. He went 2-5 in Lake Elsinore while recording a 3.97 ERA there. He was working on a split-change this season which increased his strikeout totals. The left-handed hurler reached 125 innings pitched on the season and looks poised to once again throw 120-plus innings for the Padres in 2018. Logan will start in San Antonio this April and is a very nice prospect who is flying under the radar.
9- Jacob Nix
This right-hander had an impressive year as far as development. The numbers do not reflect his growth, but he was able to pitch in three different levels and started the Padres On Deck game on Saturday, September 30. Nix has one of the best curveballs in the system. The pitch has great depth and has emerged as a strikeout pitch. His fastball has been clocked as high as 97 and he has a productive change. The third pitch does need some work though. He has proven to be quite durable and should start the season in San Antonio. Nix is a character in the club house and enjoys keeping his teammates loose. He was a little banged up this spring, but should be able to gain his health relatively soon.
10- Chris Paddack
An elbow injury sidelined Paddack after he was acquired last season from the Marlins for Fernando Rodney. The right-handed pitcher has arguably the best changeup in the system and can also spot his 92-94 mph fastball on each corner of the plate. Paddack also features a curve which looked better in 2016 before he went down with his elbow issue. He has excellent size (6′ 4″) for a pitcher and his mechanics are not horrible. The Padres have full reason to believe that Paddack will be back at full strength in 2018. He will be monitored though, as the team will want to make sure the elbow is fine. Expect Paddack to start in Fort Wayne when he is up to it. He is presently in Arizona and pitching in extended.
Watching this man throw is fun. He has a mid 90’s fastball and a decent breaking pitch. At an early age he has shown great durability and the craving to get better. Lawson wants to learn and grow as a pitcher, and that is half the battle out there. He might lack some refinement presently, but you should not count this right-handed pitcher out. If he can fill out his frame and add some strength, he has the ability to be special. Presently, he tires out fairly early and his control can get shaky from time to time. Lawson will start in Lake Elsinore and could be a pitcher to keep an eye on. He has a lot of ability and could figure it all out this season.
This big Texan was selected out of high school in 2016 with the 85th overall selection. He was coming off of Tommy John surgery during his senior year and only fell that low due to the medical concern. Thompson has a plus arm and excellent size (6′ 7″). He was brought along slowly in 2017, only recording 27 innings pitched. His arm worries are not totally over, but at 19, there is plenty of time for him to get his health on track. Once his arm is 100 percent, expect Thompson to rise quickly through the system as he has a plus curve and serviceable change to go along with his mid-90’s fastball. He will start in Fort Wayne and could be sent to the California League soon after. Health and a successful return is what is more important for him and the Padres.
This right-handed pitcher, obtained from the Nationals for Derek Norris, has been great since joining the Padres’ system. He has a plus curve and gets plenty of swings and misses on it. He also has excellent command of his fastball, which he locates to all quadrants of the zone. Avila is still only 20, and is only now coming into his own as a pitcher. Expect him to continue to start, and if he can find a serviceable third pitch, his development will continue. He will start in the California League and be right behind the group that is presently in San Antonio. If Avila can keep displaying pinpoint control with his fastball, he could make an even bigger jump in 2018.
Keep an eye on this young man as he could be the next version of Joey Luchessi. Like Luchessi, Margevicius wasn’t highly regarded, but he simply gets the job done. He has an outstanding change, and the lefty knows how to use it. He is a pitcher instead of a thrower and spots his low 90’s fastball well to both sides of the plate. The pitcher out of Rider University only walked eight last season in 48 innings. That was very impressive for a youngster in his first taste of pro ball. Starting in Fort Wayne, Margevicius should be able to advance quickly.
This Colombian pitcher is someone to get really excited about. He was so impressive in the DSL (2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts) that he was promoted to the AZL, where he went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in nine games and eight starts. This year, Chris Kemp spoke about Patino and declared him as the next big thing. Patino usually sits 91-93 with his fastball, but has the ability to get it up to the mid-90’s when needed. Look for him to take a big step forward in 2018.
The sink that this young man gets on his pitches is impressive. He has a solid arm and is only starting to come into his own on the mound. Henry could be a fast-riser on this list if he is able to repeat his delivery and harness his motion with his slider. His low to mid-90’s fastball is a weapon as he spots his two-seamer to both sides of the plate. The slider is a solid pitch now, however Henry needs to perfect his change to neutralize lefties. He is not a strikeout pitcher presently as he gets quick outs. He could develop into a power pitcher in time as he fills out his frame. Henry will start in Fort Wayne this 2018 season.