Three San Diego Padres pitchers participated in the 2019 MLB Futures Game. Here is how they did.
MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, and Adrian Morejon were all named to the National League roster for the MLB Futures Game that took place in Cleveland as part of the kickoff of the All-Star break. This trio represents three of the Padres top four prospects as listed by MLB, and they all currently rank in the MLB top 100 prospects.
MacKenzie Gore and his high leg kick came into the game to pitch for the National League in the second inning. He started the inning by facing Angel’s top prospect Jo Adell who, at number four, sits right behind Gore on the top 100 prospects list. Gore had trouble hitting his spots in the first at-bat and issued a four-pitch walk to Adell. In the middle of the next at-bat, Gore used an excellent looking pickoff move to get Adell caught with too big of a lead off first who was chased down and eventually tagged out near second. On the next pitch, Gore induced a line out to Carter Kieboom at short off the bat of Mariner’s number one prospect Jarred Kelenick. Evan White, another member of the Mariner’s organization, then lined out to Taylor Trammell in left to end a scoreless inning for the Padres lefty after just eleven pitches.
Gore recovered well after the first few pitches to Adell and flashed the same poise that he’s shown on the mound all season as he’s absolutely dominated at Lake Elsinore. Gore currently sports a minuscule 1.02 ERA at High-A in 79.1 innings pitched on the season. He’s shown similar command of the strike zone to what Chris Paddack did last year in the minors by striking out 110 batters so far in 2019 against just 20 walks. Gore has rebounded exceptionally from getting roughed up at Fort Wayne last year, and he appears to have put the blister issues that plagued him for much of 2018 behind him.
Adrian Morejon, another young lefty in the stacked Padres system, came into the game in the sixth inning with the National League up 2-0 late. He was able to induce two quick out as Jarren Duran, an outfielder in the Red Sox system, grounded out and Rays catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez popped out. The American League prospects threatened to score as Twins prospect Royce Lewis and Athletic’s infielder Jorge Mateo hit back-to-back singles. They’d eventually reach third and second, respectively, on a wild pitch by Morejon before 2017’s top Cuban signee and Chicago White Sox prospect Luis Robert flew out to center to end the inning.
Morejon has had a rough season so far as he’s continued to battle injuries and the Padres continue to tweak the way he’s being used, potentially signaling an eventual full-time conversion to become a reliever. Morejon has thrown just 32 innings in his fourteen starts this season as his workload has been limited and his pitch counts have often skyrocketed early in the game. Once a universally highly touted prospect, he’s been passed up by several newer and faster-rising arms in the system. His strikeouts are up nearly one per nine innings since last year but so are his walks and it’s becoming clearer that his best chance at a future with the Padres at the major league level may come as a valuable lefty out of the bullpen.
Luis Patino did not make an appearance in the game until the seventh as the inning was initially started by Rockies number sixteen prospect Ben Bowden who surrendered a two-run game-tying shot to left field by Rangers prospect Sam Huff with one out in the inning. Isaac Paredes then doubled and advanced to third on a single by Duran. With still just one out and runners on the corners, Patino came into the game in an attempt to keep the game tied and send it into the eighth. Patino managed to strikeout Hernandez as Duran stole second on the third strike. With two outs, Patino faced another big challenge as Royce Lewis came back up to the plate. Lewis struck out on a high fastball and Patino strutted to the dugout after successfully sending the game to extras.
Patino came back out to pitch the eighth and final inning. In the Futures Game, the game is only scheduled to go seven innings, but in the event of a tie after seven, an eighth-inning will be played with the batter who was the last out in the seventh inning starting as a runner at second for each team. If the game is still tied after eight innings, the game ends in a tie. The NL prospects failed to score in the top of the eighth, so Patino’s job was to keep the runner at second from scoring and preserving the tie. Lewis was the runner on second and on a full count, Patino managed to get Mateo to fly out to center for the first out of the inning. Robert then stepped into the box, and after falling behind 0-1 flew out to deep center but not deep enough for Lewis to be able to tag up and advance to third. With two outs, Adell came up to the plate with a chance to deliver the win for the AL but struck out on a 98 MPH fastball to end the game in a 2-2 tie.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 8, 2019
Through 61.1 innings with Lake Elsinore this season, Patino has come back down to Earth a bit after his dominant 2018 as he’s pitched to a 3.38 ERA so far on the year with a 1.207 WHIP, but he remains a very solid pitching prospect. His relationship with MacKenzie Gore has continued to grow as the two advanced to high A together this season and both continue to help each other better their game. The two young prospects are part of an embarrassment of riches in the Padres minor league system, and Gore at least has an outside shot at making the rotation out of spring training next season. Overall, Padres pitchers looked solid in Cleveland and were key contributors for manager Dennis Martinez and the National League prospects.
MacKenzie Gore- 1 IP, BB (11 pitches, 4 strikes)
Adrian Morejon- 1 IP, 2 H, WP (9 pitches, 6 strikes)
Luis Patino- 1.2 IP, 3 K (24 pitches, 16 strikes)