Here is a look at the starting pitchers throughout the San Diego Padres’ minor league system.
The San Diego Padres have a ridiculous amount of pitching depth right now down on the farm.
Beyond Gore and Patino, the team has several tiers of pitchers who could easily emerge in time for the franchise. Adrian Morejon, Ronald Bolanos, and Michel Baez all made their debut last year, and several more could during the 2020 season.
Cream of the Crop
MacKenzie Gore– High Single-A/Double-A (9-2) 1.69 ERA/0.832 WHIP- 101 IP/28 BB/135 K
The best left-handed prospect in the game of baseball is very close to major league service time. With four above-average pitches, a funky yet repeatable motion, and a tremendous work ethic, Gore will be special. The native of North Carolina just wants to dominant hitters each day and has the moxie of an ace. The 20-year-old should make his major league debut in 2020 for the Padres. The only question is- when?
Luis Patino– High Single-A/Double-A (6-8) 2.57 ERA/1.130 WHIP- 94.2 IP/38 BB/123 K
Energetic and eager is how you would describe this Colombian pitcher. With a nasty fastball and slider combination, Patino is proving to be another ace-like pitcher coming out of the Padres system. The 20-year-old also spins up a developing curve and is showing a lot of progress with his changeup as well. In time, he could very well have a four-pitch arsenal that rivals Gore. It seems a little early to rush him, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Patino at Petco in 2020.
Adrian Morejon– Double-A (0-4) 4.25 ERA/1.222 WHIP- 36 IP/15 BB/ 44 K
This Cuban left-hander made his debut in 2019 and showed well in his first taste of the majors. Though regarded as a starting pitcher, he did not last longer than two innings the whole year, making a total of 18 starts. We only saw 44 total innings from this pitcher, so it is a little difficult to get a gauge of his overall value. Were the Padres playing it safe with their young pitcher, or was there something that was not made public? Morejon should provide more clarity to that question in 2020. Expect the Padres to stretch him out.
Michel Baez– MLB (1-1) 3.03 ERA/1.315 WHIP- 29.2 IP/14 BB/28 K
The large right-handed pitcher had traditionally been a starter throughout his career, but he was used out of the bullpen in 2020. Baez made his debut for the Padres are pitched extremely well. The Cuban native is blessed with two decent offspeed pitches to go along with a fastball continually clocked in the mid-’90s. His future may still be in the rotation as he has a terrific ceiling.
Ryan Weathers– High Single-A (3-7) 3.84 ERA/1.240 WHIP- 96 IP/18 BB/90 K
Weathers showed an intensity in 2019 that was well-regarded by the Padres. If he can continue to pitch that way this coming season, then he could blossom into far more than a mid-rotation starter. The former first-round pick throws strikes and has a great feel for his offspeed pitches. Weathers will surely start the year in Lake Elsinore and could stay there the whole year based on his age and the fact the system is loaded in front of him.
Reggie Lawson– Double-A (3-1) 5.20 ERA/1.482 WHIP- 27.2 IP/13 BB/36 K
Despite an elbow injury (that did not require surgery), Lawson looked great at the end of the 2019 season. His fastball velocity increased slightly as he threw well in the AFL and at the Don Welke Classic in October. All signs point to him having a productive 2020 for the Padres. The right-handed will begin the year in Amarillo and could conceivably make his major league debut at some point this coming season.
Joey Cantillo– Low Single-A/High Single-A (10-4) 2.26 ERA/0.931 WHIP- 111.2 IP/34 BB/144 K
With a slight increase in velocity, Cantillo is turning into a terrific prospect. The left-handed pitcher works very hard and is described as someone with a chip on their shoulder. The Hawaiian native and 16th-round pick throws strikes and is blessed with an above-average changeup. 2020 will be another opportunity to see if Cantillo’s growth is for real. Expect him to start the year in Lake Elsinore.
Ronald Bolanos– Double-A (13-7) 3.66 ERA/1.235 WHIP- 130.1 IP/53 BB/142 K
Bolanos has quite the differential on his pitch speeds. The Cuban native is capable of throwing in the high 90s with his fastball. While at the same time, he will toss up a slow curve in the upper 60’s. If he can continue to find a consistent arm slot and develop his mechanics more, Bolanos has the arm to be a major leaguer for a long time. If starting does not work, he may find himself in the bullpen.
Omar Cruz– Short-Season/Low Single-A (2-3) 2.73 ERA/1.161 WHIP- 56 IP/19 BB/76 K
With a knack for missing bats, this Mexican pitcher is moving up the system at a decent pace. Cruz is not blessed with a high-velocity fastball, but he gets the job done. In almost 100 minor league innings, he has allowed one home run. Batters describe his fastball as unusual as he hides the ball well during his motion. Despite the fact he is not a huge pitcher, there is a decent floor with this young pitcher who could eventually grow into a role as a reliever.
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