Two of the more exciting San Diego Padres prospects of 2018 have concluded their 2018 seasons.
Chris Paddack wasn’t supposed to be this good, this early after Tommy John surgery. Luis Patino had the stuff but wasn’t well known beyond the small circle of those who follow the San Diego Padres minor league system. Both prospect pitchers have been shut down for the remainder of the season but not before both young men put up phenomenal seasons.
The San Antonio Missions have advanced to the Texas League playoffs and the Fort Wayne TinCaps (as of this writing) are currently playing their final regular season game in a winner-take-all game. If the TinCaps win this afternoon’s game, they advance to the Midwest League playoffs. Neither team will be with the services of Chris Paddack (Missions) or Patino (TinCaps).
You need a microscope to find Chris Paddack’s walk rate.
Paddack began his season in High-A with the Lake Elsinore Storm and quickly became the main attraction. The California League All-Star made 10 starts, striking out 83 hitters and walking just four across 52.1 innings. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you, Paddack issued a free pass to just 2% of opposing hitters and struck out nearly 41% of hitters.
The walk rate stayed about the same after a promotion to Double-A, as Paddack walked just 2.9% of hitters with the Missions. The strikeouts were fewer and further in between (27%) but that’s still a highly respectable number.
Despite the smaller amount of strikeouts, Paddack kept hitters to a .176 average in San Antonio (.221 with Lake Elsinore), he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield (2.9% HR/FB rate), and continued to average nearly six innings per outing.
Paddack will enter 2019 spring training as a heavy favorite to make some noise and challenge for a starting rotation spot for the big league club. He isn’t too far removed from surgery and 2019, more than likely, won’t be a playoff season for the Padres, so it’s more probable that he begins the season with El Paso, making his MLB debut at some point next season.
Luis Patino became a fan favorite in 2018.
What is there not to like about Luis Patino? Thanks to the work of The Athletic’s Emily Waldon, fans were exposed to his fun personality which makes him only easier to love. As Dennis Lin tweeted out a few days ago, even if the TinCaps make the playoffs, Patino will not pitch for Fort Wayne anymore this season.
In his second season with the organization, Patino made 17 starts, posting a 6-3 record with a 2.16 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
Patino pitched a career-high 83 innings, giving up just 65 hits and ONE home run this season. He also finished with a 98/24 K/BB ratio.
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He’s still just 18 years old and was moved all the way up to number 12 on the Top 30 prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline. Armed with a fastball that has touched 100 mph this season, Patino should be a Top 100 prospect at some point next season. Evaluators typically avoid low-level minor prospects on the Top 100 but if Patino can have a dominant start to the 2019 season, expect his name to pop up on the mid-season updates.
There may not have been very many positives at the major league level, however, there was no shortage of excitement down on the farm in 2018. Congratulations to both Paddack and Patino on fantastic 2018 seasons and I think I can safely speak for Padres fans everywhere when I say that we can’t wait to see what these two guys bring to the table in 2019.
Keep following along as we bring you updates on the El Paso Chihuahuas, San Antonio Missions, and (hopefully) Fort Wayne TinCaps playoff runs which begin this week.