To the casual Padre fan, the name Adys Portillo is not significiant, however, if you are a follower of the Padres farm system, he is an interesting name. Portillo, who is now 20, was signed in 2008 for $2 million, still the largest bonus the Padres have ever given to an international free agent. The Padres signed Portillo out of Venezuela, and patience was expected to be exercised, as Portillo was just 16 when he signed.
Portillo has all of the tools that scouts love: He has the ability to throw his fastball at 100 MPH, but he sits in the mid-nineties, a power slider, and a 6’2 frame. However, control has been Portillo’s biggest issue, and Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein called Portillo’s progress “disturbingly slow.” Portillo had a miserable year in Low-A Fort Wayne in 2011, posting a 7.11 ERA in 82.1 innings. He also walked 55 batters in that span, in addition to allowing 89 hits. Some analysts even referred to 2012 being a “make or break” year for the young right-hander.
Fast forward to 2012, and Adys Portillo is turning into beast in 2012, as he has rampaged the Midwest League. So far on the young season, Portillo has 2-1 record, with a sparkling ERA of 1.41. In his start today with Fort Wayne, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, before giving up a double. It was the only hit he allowed all day, as he struck out 6, but only walked two. Portillo has allowed one earned run or less in six of his seven starts. While the walks are still a little too high, they are down considerably from where they have been. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is better than two to one, something Portillo has never done in his professional career.
While Portillo is still years away from pitching in San Diego, it is encouraging to see Portillo realize some of the potential that he has. The Padres poured a large sum of money into his right arm, and it would be awesome to see the Padres get a return on their investment. Portillo may not stick in the rotation long-term, but a 100 MPH fastball makes him an intriguing relief candidate in the bullpen. Portillo was ranked the Padres 18th best prospect by mlb.com at the beginning of the season, but with the year he is having, he could crack the top ten next year, and perhaps work his way into the Padres future plans.
Portillo is a name I have watched for years, and I am excited to see him showing such dominance. I am sure the Padres brass is excited as well, as they have 2 million reasons to hope for continued brilliance.