The Tri-City Dust Devils (the rookie affiliate of the San Diego Padres) featured a number of exciting seasons from high-profile rookies.
The 2018 Tri-City Dust Devils may have finished the season in last place in the Northwest League North Division standings (35-41), however, they featured some of the more exciting prospects in the San Diego Padres farm system, including a few can’t miss 2018 draftees, like Xavier Edwards, Owen Miller, and Grant Little.
With the season now in the books, I wanted to start a series to highlight each Padres minor league affiliate and hand out a top hitter and top pitcher award for each team. With the Padres hosting the top-ranked farm system in all of Major League Baseball, this is no small task and will surely ignore a number of highly impressive performances. However, let’s try the best we can.
Dust Devils’ Top Hitter Award
The first award, the first tough selection. Owen Miller led the team in hits with 64 (.335 average) but this award has to go to 19-year-old infielder Xavier Edwards.
Edwards appeared in 24 games for the Dust Devils, slashing .314/.360/.438 with a .799 OPS across 86 at-bats. Only four of his 27 hits went for extra-bases but he finished with more walks than strikeouts (18 BB/15 K) and stole 10 bases without being caught (22 total stolen bags, one caught stealing between Tri-City and the Arizona League). He’s been touted as one of the more electric prospects in the system, since being drafted this year.
I fully expect Edwards to move up to the Fort Wayne TinCaps in 2019, continuing their string of hosting elite prospects.
Dust Devils’ Top Pitcher Award
The Top Pitcher Award goes to another 19-year-old talent, Angel Acevedo. Acevedo led the Dust Devils in innings pitched (65) and strikeouts (54) while he tied for the team lead in wins (4). He finished with a 4-3 record, 3.88 earned run average (2.97 FIP), and a 1.09 WHIP.
Acevedo showed a big improvement across the board, compared to his first full season as a professional with the Arizona League Padres (0-2, 9.98 ERA, 2.22 WHIP, 55 hits allowed in 30 innings). The most impressive number Acevedo put up in 2018 was one. He gave up just one home run in 65 innings of work, helped in part by greatly improving his groundball rate and infield flyball rate.
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I would expect him to make a brief appearance with the Fort Wayne TinCaps before finding his way to the Lake Elsinore Storm by next year’s all-star break, as long as he remains consistent in the early part of the season.
Notable performances of San Diego Padres prospects.
There were plenty of outstanding performances to choose from for these two awards, so let’s highlight a few more impressive stat lines from the Tri-City Dust Devils 2018 season.
Catcher Blake Hunt: .271 average, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 13 doubles, .371 OBP
Outfielder Grant Little: .262 average, 28/20 K/BB ratio, 9 stolen bases
Shortstop Olivier Basabe: .313 average, .371 OBP, .851 OPS, 13 doubles, 4 home runs, 28 RBI
Pitcher Henry Henry: 4-3, 3.32 ERA, 44 strikeouts, 1.22 WHIP (11 GS/59 IP)
Pitcher Dan Dallas: 2.03 ERA, 45 strikeouts in 26 IP, 0.90 WHIP
Congratulations to the Tri-City Dust Devils on another exciting season!