Just a few weeks into the season, we see what the Padres have been doing so far. Andy Green gets ejected, Padres get shutout in three straight games to start the season, San Diego scores 29 runs in two games in Denver, then lose 3 of 4 to the Phillies on the road. Melvin Upton Jr. hits a walk-off homer in extra innings, and the Padres have taken two from the Pirates. We know that much.
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Let’s take a look at the men behind the scenes, the ones who will hopefully be wearing a Padres uniform and playing home games at Petco Park before too long. Let’s dive in and look at the class Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm.
The Storm sit at 8-6, good for third in the California League South early in the season. Single-A is usually the team where people don’t know a ton of the players, but in a few years they sure will.
There are two names on the team we all should know. One, Brandon Morrow. The same Brandon Morrow who was in the Padres rotation last season before his injury that sidelined him for the rest of the 2015 season. Morrow pitched in five games for the big league club before going down in early May with that injury. Morrow was actually one of the best on the staff at the time, posting a 2-0 record to go with a very respectable 2.75 ERA. The right-hander pitched a total of 33 innings giving up 29 hits and striking out 23 batters.
The flow was great for Morrow before injury struck. A.J. Preller gave Morrow another shot in 2016, realizing the talent he has when healthy. Morrow is working his way back to the big league team and will hopefully be back before June rolls around. S far in Lake Elsinore, Morrow has started two games and is 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA. That’s not the best, but given Morrow is working his way back from season-ending shoulder surgery it is explainable.
The other name we should all know? Javier Guerra. The 20-year-old shortstop from Panama who has already been labeled as the Padres “shortstop of the future”. Guerra came over in that blockbuster deal in the offseason that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to Boston for four prospects – Guerra being one of them. Guerra is extremely raw, but also crazy talented. To start 2016, Guerra has just a .178 average with a homer and five runs batted in, but don’t let that worry you.
In 2015, Guerra exploded in class-A ball. The (at the time) teenager posted a .279 batting average with 15 bombs and 68 RBIs in over 100 games played. As a teenager. With more at-bats, with more time, Guerra can certainly be the shortstop at Petco Park for years to come.
The highest batting average in the young season for the Storm belongs to second baseman Luis Urias. Urias is just 19 years of age and won’t turn 20 until the calendar flips to June. The youngster is hitting .327 in the first two weeks of the season, and only has two punch-outs in nearly 50 at-bats. Those are good splits, and the future looks really bright for the kid from Mexico.
The Storm are just 14 games into this young season, so as the season rolls along, we will take a look at the progress of these young players.