The San Diego Padres are building towards the future. With all the recent draft picks, international signings and young acquired players via trade, the Padres have a well-reported bright future. The year 2019 seems to be the season everyone has picked out for the magic to begin.
That may be when the recent youth starts to reach the major leagues, but there are some quality players just about to hit San Diego now. Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje are all about ready to begin their major league careers. Adding them to names like Travis Jankowski, Wil Myers, Ryan Schimpf and Yangervis Solarte make for an exciting potential offense. The Padres will continue to score runs. That should not be an issue
The issue is the fact the Padres have very little starting pitchers that are in the upper minor league levels. There are a few prospects progressing this season, but the majority of the starting pitching prospects are in A-Ball. Cal Quantrill and Eric Lauer will help eventually but neither will be ready to start the season next year in the Padres rotation. Beyond those two recently drafted pitchers, the majority of the young pitchers are at least two seasons away from pitching at Petco Park. So what does the team do in the mean time?
A.J. Preller needs starting pitching. That is well known. But where can he find potential starters for the 2017 season? The young offense will be decent, but the Padres need some workhorses manning the top of the rotation to keep the bullpen fresh. The following is a list of internal options, potential free agents and possible trade targets. A.J. Preller is going to have a bust winter, he has only begun to shape this team the way he sees fit.
CURRENT INTERNAL OPTIONS
His 2016 season has been an absolute disappointment. He made one start on opening day and promptly went on the D.L. with shoulder stiffness. No surgery was performed and instead he just rested which still leaves a bit of concern about his overall health. For the 2017 season he will once again be viewed as the ace of the staff. It will be his contract year so Ross will certainly be motivated to perform at a high level. Tyson is a huge enigma as the team really does not know what to expect moving forward. His September starts could give us a clue on his health and potential production. Watch closely.
From Rule-5 selection, to potential starter of the future. Perdomo has shown the ability to learn at the major league level and make adjustments. With that type of mind-set he should continue to grow as a pitcher and fulfill all his potential. He has great upside as the ball just moves all over the place out of his hand. He has had wild streaks, which is to be expected, but once he learns the craft of pitching he could be a very productive pitcher for the Padres. His innings limit should be close and the Padres need to pay attention to that. He will likely start the 2017 season in the rotation as he has emerged.
With the acquisition of Carter Capps the Padres have the opportunity to move Brandon Maurer into a starting role. Capps has a funky delivery and a remarkable strikeout percentage. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery currently but is ahead of schedule and there are some reports he might be ready to throw by the spring. That is excited news for the Padres as Maurer does have the ability and arsenal to pitch in the rotation. Will the team try to make the move again with Maurer? Only time will tell.
This lefty was claimed early in the year from the Marlins and has taken off under the tutelage of Darren Balsley. He has cut his walk percentage and his K’s have skyrocketed. He looks to have turned the corner and has started in the past for the Marlins. With Ryan Buchter and Buddy Baumann in the bullpen, the Padres could certainly turn Hand into a starter. Who knows, he could end up being the 2017 version of Drew Pomeranz. Stay tuned.
This lefty is frustrating to watch pitch. He can look great one start only to get roughed up badly in the next start. It is tough to say what his future is with the Padres organization. These last few starts of 2016 will be important for him. He is not a free agent until 2020, so the 27-year-old is under team control for the long run. Freidrich could be turned into a reliever in 2017 but that all depends on if the Padres can find better rotation options.
The 24-year-old right handed pitcher burst onto the scene in 2016 and was very productive early for the Padres. He had never really pitched as a starter so I guess it was to be expected that an elbow injury ended his season after seven major league starts. He went 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA in those 34 innings. He should be back at full strength in 2017 and could contend for a rotation spot if he shows the same pinpoint control he displayed in April.
Attained in the Andrew Cashner deal from the Marlins, Cosart has an excellent arm but has never lived up to the hype. He has a mid 90’s fastball but has never even closely resembled a strike-out pitcher. Cosart has mostly always started in professional baseball and 2017 might be his last chance to excel in that role. Darren Balsley will have his hands full with Cosart but if it doesn’t work out, he has a lively enough arm to pitch out of the bullpen.
This right handed pitcher was acquired from the White Sox in the James Shields trade. He was lit up in his four starts as a Padre to the tune of a 9.15 ERA. He then went down with an elbow injury and will not return this season. Johnson has had some success at the minor league level, but has gotten beat up in the majors. He, like Cosart will be in an excellent opportunity to succeed. If he can’t win a job in 2017 on the Padres, he probably will never have success at the major league level. Johnson is another possible relief option.
One of two potential young pitchers in the minor league system that can help the Padres is Dinelson Lamet. The 24-year-old Dominican right handed pitcher is a late bloomer who has really stepped up this season. He was signed by the Padres in 2014 at the age of 22 and features a mid 90’s fastball and a tight slider. He is 12-7 with a 2.96 ERA in 25 starts and 134 innings pitched. He has struck out 138 in that time and owns a 1.22 WHIP on the year. He could advance into the rotation with a productive spring. Keep an eye on him.
This right handed pitcher started the year in Lake Elsinore and now is currently pitching for the Chihuahuas in El Paso. He, like Lamet has taken his game to a whole new level this season. He is 9-6 with a 4.17 ERA in 23 starts and 118 innings pitched. Kelly was drafted back in 2011 and had repeated the A-Ball level several times. He has an outside chance to be called up this September as the team will likely want to see what they have in this 23-year-old pitcher.
That is really it. There are no other internal options at the moment. Of course when spring comes there are plenty of lesser tiered pitchers and projects that can be had rather inexpensively. The Padres will be trolling the waters everywhere in an attempt to find arms for the near future. Let’s take a look at some possible free agent options for the team.
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