An early highlight of the Padres’ farm system is the pitching at Low-A Fort Wayne.
The TinCaps have a collective 3.86 ERA, which is strong if unspectacular, especially considering that the Midwest League is notoriously pitcher-friendly, particularly early in the year with cold weather.
However, other stats are more impressive than the ERA. The TinCaps have struck out 35 batters in 35 innings for an impressive 9 K/9. The staff has also walked just 10 batters and allowed only one home run.
Two pitchers, Rafeal Arias and Matt Irsfeld, have combined to allow five walks and five runs while getting just five outs (no K’s). When you take out their performances, the staff looks even better, particularly with a 35/5 K/BB ratio.
The most impressive pitcher thus far has been righty Jerry Sullivan, a 3rd round draft pick out of Oral Roberts last year. Sullivan struck out nine batters in five innings in his first start, walking just one. The righty boasts three solid pitches and could be a future mid-rotation rock for the Padres, or possibly a dynamic reliever.
Dexter Carter, the best pitcher on the team (in my humble opinion), got off to a decent start, K’ing 3 and walking one in five innings. He allowed two runs.
Other highlights include lefty Michael Watt (6 K, 1 ER, 1 BB in 6 IP), young ex-Mexican Leaguer lefty Juan Oramas (5 K, 0 BB in 3 IP), and lefty Nick Greenwood (6 shutout innings, 5 K).
It looks like some of the system’s younger pitchers are off to a solid start, and could be raising their stock with continued dominance. The Padres system is somewhat short on impact pitchers at the higher levels, so an infusion of talent from Fort Wayne on up would be more than welcome.