Feeling concerned over the loss of former Padres’ closer Brad Hand?
Don’t be. Yes, he was a great pitcher and really came into his own as a Padre, but the team has options in replacing him. They really do.
You have to remember that Brad Hand came to the team as a waiver wire pickup from the Marlins. Players can step up at any time in the bullpen. A.J. Preller and his staff will surely be on the lookout for undervalued arms. The Padres have historically also had no issues finding a serviceable closer. The team will be alright.
To further prove this point, let’s explore some of the options the team currently has in the bullpen.
The names on this list are intriguing, as some provide huge upside to the team eventually while others are already performing at the major league level now.
The last important thing to remember is that the Padres have dozens upon dozens of starting pitching prospects in the minors. Not all will remain starters as they progress through the system. A few of these mid-rotation type starters could prove to be useful, high-leverage relievers when it is all said and done.
This power arm is not a rookie as he spent the entire 2017 season with the team. Diaz was hurt at the end of the year, but has come back strong in 2018. The team has been stretching him out thus far in the minor leagues. If Diaz fails to develop a third pitch successfully or wears down late in his starts, he could be transitioned to a high-leverage reliever. He could be a familiar face in San Diego very soon. His future has yet to really be determined.
The converted catcher has no issue with velocity, as he can touch triple digits with his heater. The fastball also has excellent movement to it. His main issue was a lack of consistency with a second pitch. Major league hitters can hit any velocity successfully when seeing it consecutively. Stock has gotten better with his slider and is throwing it from the same arm slot now. If he can continue to repeat his mechanics with that pitch, he could have a decent major league career as a reliever. He is currently with the Padres and should be given a long look in 2018.
The hard throwing right handed pitcher has struggled a bit in 2018. He still has a triple-digit fastball coming from his 6-foot-7 frame, which is certainly imposing. Wingenter has struggled with mechanics a bit, probably due to his size. The slider is a work in progress, but he has shown some ability with it. Expect Wingenter to get a chance very soon with the Padres, as he has made all the necessary stops in the minors.
This right handed pitcher could be a steal for the team in the 2018 draft. He has a very nice fastball that tops out at around 98 mph. Coleman is capable of throwing a decent slider, but lacks consistency with his mechanics. The lack of overall command has troubled this young pitcher throughout his pitching career, but professional help may assist him in that regard. He is a big body (6-foot-6) and has proven to be very durable. Coleman looks to probably be a decent relief option for the team eventually. Don’t expect to see him in 2018.
At 6-foot-9, Brad Wieck is really imposing on the mound. He throws his fastball in the mid to upper 90’s and has a bit of a funky delivery to the plate. He is not a fun at bat for opposing batters, but has struggled from time to time with mechanics and pounding the zone. The Padres want him to attack hitters, but repeating his delivery with his frame is a difficult task. He is in line to be in the group of next relievers called up when needed. Wieck is on the 40-man and should be in San Diego relatively soon. His major league debut should take place at some point in 2018 if he keeps on track with his mechanics and mindset.
This fire balling right hander pitcher has started slow in 2018, but is now throwing well in Double-A. He made national news last winter as he hit 102 on the radar guns in the Arizona Fall League. Munoz’s fastball is amazing as he gets incredible movement on it as well as high-octane velocity. He has made strides with his hard slider. If he can throw that pitch for strikes, the Padres have a dominant closer for years to come. Currently mowing down hitters in San Antonio after an injury scare this spring, Munoz is probably close to being major league ready.
This power pitcher has plenty of upside. Rodriguez was acquired from the Blue Jays for Melvin Upton Jr. and took off in the Padres farm system. He has a mid 90’s fastball that he can ramp up to 97-98 when needed. He has issues with his secondary as his slider and change are a work in progress. The right handed pitcher has a lightning quick arm and sometimes gets out of whack with his mechanics. He projects as a definite reliever in the future. He was injured this spring and does not look to be an option for 2018 just yet.
Yardley is a sidearmer like Adam Cimber. He does not get as much speed on his pitches as Cimber, but he is a bit “funky” with his mechanics and knuckle scrapping motion. The hurler got a taste of major league life early this spring, but was sent back down to the minor late in camp. If the Padres need a bit of funk from the relief core, then Yardley is your man.
Another name that is not really recognized is this right handed pitcher. He is a converted outfielder, who was signed as a minor league free agent this winter from the Cardinals. He has a power arm, but is struggling with both mechanics and a feel for a breaking pitch. He is still only 24, so there is some upside there.
He was DFA’d earlier this year and was unclaimed. The soft tossing lefty with a funky delivery could be serviceable down the road. He already has major league service time. McGrath will now blow you away with his stuff, but he could prove to be a valuable commodity if used correctly out of the pen.
This right hander throws hard and will probably eventually make his way to the top of the system and to the major leagues again. He is currently on the D.L. in El Paso, but has some major league experience with the Mariners and Red Sox. He was signed in November as a minor league free agent.
Brewer was just promoted to the Padres this week. He usually throws strikes and is looking to make a favorable impression on the coaching staff now. Brewer was signed this winter from the Yankees organization and could prove to be useful for the team in 2018.
The Padres have options to help make up for the loss of Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. Some of these guys on this list will be terrible. Some might not even make it to the major leagues. However, a few of these men could be very valuable commodities for the Padres as they turn into a team of relevancy. Brad Hand is gone. It is sad. But there is a future and it is bright. Even when it comes to the bullpen.