There are plenty of stud starting pitchers on the way, but the pitching staff is not limited to just them alone.
The San Antonio Missions had one of the most dominant bullpens in all of minor league baseball. The Chihuahuas also had some very productive arms surface in 2017.
The following pitchers will most likely get a chance to pitch for the Padres in 2018:
Though he pitched in Fort Wayne in 2017, this right-handed pitcher could make the fast-track to the majors. He looks like a closer/set-up man of the future for the team as he thrives in high-pressure situations. Rodriguez was acquired from the Blue Jays in 2016 for Melvin Upton, and took awhile to come into his own. He was initially used as a starter by the team, but was converted into the bullpen, where he took off. A 2018 showing seems unlikely, but he could get a September call-up. He will just be 21 next year, so there is no need to rush him.
At 27, he is not a young prospect by any means. He was selected in the 9th round out of University of San Francisco in 2013 and has thrown pretty well for the team. He has pitched solely out of the pen and recorded a 3.06 ERA in 306 innings. He throws strikes, but is not a strikeout pitcher. Cimber went 5-2 last year in 49 games with a 0.05 WHIP. That was between El Paso and San Antonio. The right-hander should be given an opportunity to win a job out of the spring. Whether or not he can take advantage of the chance is up to him.
This 23-year-old closer is very close to contributing. He throws smoke and has a nasty attitude – both vital requirements for a successful closer. Wingenter saved 20 games last year for San Antonio while recording a 2.45 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP. He struck out 64 batters in 47 innings for the Missions. He could start the season as the Chihuahuas’ closer, but is very close to getting a chance with the Padres. I would be shocked if he isn’t called up at some point in 2018.
If the team needs a different look from a right-handed pitcher, they have Eric Yardley. He throws from the side and is very tough on hitters. The 27-year-old is dominating in the winter league currently and could be a real contender for a bullpen spot in 2018. He threw for both Texas affiliates last year, going 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 70 innings pitched. He is not an exceptionally hard thrower, but it is all about his delivery and the deception he creates.
Right-handed hurler T.J. Weir had a successful 2017 season, which could propel him into a potential bullpen spot in San Diego. Weir was 6-2 between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, with a 2.09 ERA in 77 innings pitched. He struck out 79 in that time while recording a 1.086 WHIP. The 26-year-old was drafted in 2014 in the 14th round and will need to develop in order to earn a bullpen spot in 2018. He is a strong candidate for a possible September call-up.
The left-hander from Texas is close, and could get a spot in 2018 if he continues to show improved command. He has great size (6′ 9″) and a plus arm. His issue has been with walks, and that is to be expected with his size. If the team can get him to repeat his motion consistently, then he has a pretty nice ceiling. Wieck is 26 and is right around that age when it all starts to click. He struck out 61 batters last year in his 38 innings pitched, but did walk 23. At some point in 2018, you may see Wieck in a Padres uniform.