The 2018 season has not gone well for the San Diego Padres, but there is movement in the minors as the next waves of talent start to crest at Petco Park. There is hope for the team, and it is coming really fast.
It’s tough being a Padres fan, especially if you only pay attention to the big league club without looking at what lies beneath, or ahead.
The farm system is absolutely stacked; everyone says so. We have been saying that for the better part of a year now ad nauseam.
Now that the calendar has turned to August and pieces have been moved, some spots have opened up.
The 40-man roster will become less crowded.
We have already seen the results of that. Brett Kennedy will finally make his major league debut on Wednesday after going 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 16 starts for El Paso. As a result, Cal Quantrill has been promoted to Triple-A El Paso, his first stint at the highest minor league level. Quantrill is the seventh-ranked prospect on EVT’s new Top 30 prospects list.
Quantrill made his first start for the Chihuahuas on Monday, throwing a solid six innings, allowing just two runs, striking out four, and perhaps most encouraging of all, zero walks.
Cal Quantrill in his first AAA start: 6 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Solid. #Padres
— Nick Lee (@NickLee51) August 7, 2018
Could there be a scenario where Quantrill is a September call-up? The Padres surely will be cautious with Quantrill, who already has thrown 123 innings, which is seven more innings than he tossed last year, which was a career high.
Quantrill is not the only top prospect who made a move upward.
Buddy Reed (#20) tore it up in Lake Elsinore with a .324 average, 12 home runs, 21 doubles, and a 146 wRC+. That earned him a trip up to Double-A San Antonio. However, in 21 games, he seems a bit overmatched. He is hitting .179 with a 24 wRC+. The bright side is he clearly is good enough to move up and maybe he just needs some time to find his footing in a brand new league and higher level.
Chris Paddack (#8), however, has needed no such adjustment period. It’s amazing to think that he went from being on the shelf from Tommy John surgery, never pitching above Low-A ball, to now being the best starter in a loaded San Antonio Missions rotation in Double-A. He started out in Lake Elsinore and just blew the competition away with a 2.24 ERA and a 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Since his call-up to Double-A, it has been much of the same with a 1.30 ERA and almost nine strikeouts per nine innings.
He has quickly turned into one of the best pitchers in the entire system, and maybe all of minor league baseball. He has skyrocketed to the 49th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.
Nick Margevicius dominated Single-A with the TinCaps earlier this year to the tune of a 3.07 ERA and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 13 starts in Fort Wayne. Like Buddy Reed, Margevicius has had a steep learning curve at a level higher in Lake Elsinore. In five starts in High-A, he has a 6.49 ERA and 4.89 FIP. Certainly, he will take some seasoning to get his feet on the ground with the Storm, but he is still one of the better lefties in the system.
Along with Quantrill, Jacob Nix (#14) made his Triple-A debut recently after starting the season on the disabled list, then making nine solid starts with Double-A San Antonio. Nix had a 2.05 ERA and 1.5 walks per nine innings with the Missions. He made his first start for El Paso last Saturday and hurled six shutout innings without a walk while striking out three. He and Quantrill can establish themselves as the new dominant starters in that Chihuahuas rotation and set themselves up for promotion really soon.
In fact, there is a recent rumor that Nix’s stay in El Paso could be a short one.
I'm hearing the Padres plan to promote right-hander Jacob Nix later this week. Seems likely he starts one of the team's three games against Philadelphia. Nix has a 1.84 Minors ERA this year and is the club's 14th-ranked prospect, per @MLBPipeline.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) August 8, 2018
Relief pitchers Andres Munoz (#26) and Dylan Coleman have also moved up in the system. Munoz jumped from Short Season Tri-City to San Antonio, and has proven he belongs, with a 1.50 ERA in 13 appearances. Coleman has now appeared on the Padres’ Top 30 prospects list by MLB Pipeline thanks to his strong start to 2018. After just five games with Tri-City, he was sent to Fort Wayne and has a microscopic ERA of 0.84 in eight games there.
The point is, there is movement, a disturbance in the Force if you will. The next wave hasn’t crashed yet, but it is certainly starting to swell just offshore.