The San Diego Padres have two of their plethora of young, talented hurlers still in camp with them. Whether they make the Opening Day roster remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure; these two can flat-out throw.
Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi have been speeding through the San Diego Padres’ minor-league system over the last two seasons. With only two weeks to go until Opening Day in San Diego, they’re both still in major-league camp.
Whether or not they stay there all the way up to, and through, first pitch on March 29th is anyone’s guess at this point. Most signs point to no on that, but there’s always a possibility they could.
So far in Peoria, Lauer, 22, and Lucchesi, 24, have been phenomenal. Besides how impressive their statistics are, they have simply looked amazing. The movement on their pitches and the confidence they both exude on the mound is very impressive to me.
How young pitchers handle themselves in Spring Training is half of what most coaches are looking for. I’m sure Andy Green‘s observation tactics aren’t much different.
Eric Lauer has thrown 6.2 innings this spring, and owns a 2.70 ERA with a 1.200 WHIP, with six strikeouts and two walks, against what baseball-reference.com refers to as Opponent Quality (with 10 being an MLB-level player and 1 being Rookie Level) a 7.9 OppQual rating.
Joey Lucchesi has a line of 0.00 earned runs over seven innings, also with six strikeouts and two walks, with a WHIP of 0.571 against a 6.9 OppQual.
I’m really not sure which is more impressive of the two. Both have faced either peers or better. Both have excelled while doing so. Both are still with the big club.
While Super-2 statuses may come into play as to determine when they’ll actually make their MLB-debuts, they’re certainly on their way to making those debuts this season.
San Diego Padres have known this was coming
Since 2016 when both of these players made their professional debuts, they have breezed through every level of MiLB the Padres’ front-office has asked them to face.
In 2016, with Tri-City (Low-A) and Fort Wayne (Single-A), Lucchesi was 0-2 in 42 innings of work, with an ERA of 1.29, a WHIP of 0.860, a SO/9 rating of 12-flat, and a K/BB ratio of a mind-blowing 56/3.
Ok, maybe this was an illusion. I’m sure the talent evaluators at every level of the Padres franchise were thinking the same thing. Then in 2017 he went out and improved on his numbers.
Beginning with Lake Elsinore (High-A), he went 6-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 78.2 innings. His 95/19 KK/B, 0.953 WHIP, and 10.9 K/9 were slight increases. But with the increase in talent from what he was facing the previous season, that was to be expected.
Lucchesi was having a great 2017 season when he was called up to Double-A San Antonio. In 60.1 innings, his 1.79 ERA, 0.994 WHIP, and 7.9 K/9 were all glaring green lights, signifying that his immediate success was no fluke.
Eric Lauer has taken a similarly impressive path to Peoria
Eric Lauer has taken an almost-identical path to the one Lucchesi took to get to Spring Training 2018 with the San Diego Padres.
His numbers from 2016 (1-1, 2.03 ERA, 32 strikeouts, nine walks in 31 innings) were a small sample size that all came against Single-A or lower competition.
In 2017, while his numbers did jump up a bit, again, facing better competition at Lake Elsinore and San Antonio was bound to reveal some weaknesses Thankfully for all parties involved (except for opposing hitters) they were still terrific. Lauer had a 6-8 record, with a 3.30 ERA, 132 strikeouts, and 32 walks in 122.2 innings.
With the MLB-ready crew of Dinelson Lamet and, to a lesser extent, Luis Perdomo, along with the up-and-comers making their way through the Padres’ farm system like MacKenzie Gore and Cal Quantrill (among many others), Lauer and Lucchesi developing at the rate they are is icing on the cake.
Whether or not these two make it to the San Diego Padres by the end of the month is not really important. What is important is that they will be here soon.