San Diego Padres: These Pitchers Deserve A Shot

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San Diego Padres
SAN DIEGO, CA – APRIL 17: San Diego Padres manager Andy Green comes onto the field during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on April 17, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chris Huffman and a number of pitchers in El Paso deserve a chance to show their stuff at the big league level.

We highlighted Chris Huffman last week, bringing attention to the young man’s minor league career up to this point. The James Madison University product is currently averaging more than six innings per start while posting a 2.52 earned run average.

This is his second season in El Paso, logging 32 innings with the team last season and proving to be a key piece in their playoff run.

While his strikeout rate has decreased from 7.44/9 innings to 5.76/9 innings, Huffman has shown an improvement in a number of other metrics.

His ERA (2.52), FIP (4.09), ground ball rate (44%), and opponent’s batting average (.222) are all lower than his numbers from last season in El Paso.

Huffman has been in the Padres’ system for five seasons, working his way up slowly through the ranks. He, more than likely, is not a full-time major league starting pitcher, however, Bryan Mitchell is struggling too much to watch.

Walker Lockett is another viable option.

In what was supposed to be the year Lockett made his major league debut, the former fourth-round pick spent most of 2017 on the disabled list with a back injury.

This season, Lockett has started five games, working a 4.11 FIP through 28 innings. His current 23% strikeout rate is one of the highest of his careers. Opposing batters are hitting .270 off of him, the lowest mark during his tenure in El Paso.

Predominantly a sinker/slider combination pitcher, Lockett is still regarded by national evaluators as a major league contributor thanks to his plus-fastball and ability to produce groundballs.

Is Brett Kennedy the best option for the San Diego Padres?

An 11th round pick of the Padres back in 2015, Brett Kennedy has quickly risen through the farm system with his exceptional control.

Like Huffman, Lockett, Eric Lauer, and Joey Lucchesi, the velocity won’t blow anyone away. It’s Kennedy’s ability to locate the ball and limit base runners that makes him effective.

In five starts for El Paso, Kennedy is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He’s averaging exactly one strikeout per inning and has walked just 10 hitters over 28 frames. He’s producing the highest groundball rate of his career while limiting hitters to a .196 batting average.

Kennedy’s slider has shown to be a swing and miss pitch while his fastball is aided by slight deception in his delivery. He could slot in well as a replacement to Jordan Lyles in the bullpen.

Next: Joey Lucchesi Continues To Be A Dominant Force

It is nice to see Andy Green step up and admit that Bryan Mitchell needs to show the organization something. Now that we are entering May, pitchers can’t really use the excuse that they are still “setting into the routine.” MLB is a show-me league and Bryan Mitchell needs to show us something, otherwise, there are plenty of options down on the farm to take his place.