Internal and external options for the San Diego Padres 2020 rotation

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – MARCH 24: Mackenzie Gore of San Diego Padres pitches in the 3rd inning during the friendly game between San Diego Padres and Diablos Rojos at Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – MARCH 24: Mackenzie Gore of San Diego Padres pitches in the 3rd inning during the friendly game between San Diego Padres and Diablos Rojos at Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Minor League Options

The Padres minor league roster has two pitchers many consider likely prospects for the front of the starting rotation.

Both are young and have limited pitching experience at the minor league level. Both have high upside and are on the top three of the Padres prospect list according to MLB.com.

Mackenzie Gore

Gore was named MLB Pipeline’s Pitcher of the Year for 2019. That honor tabs him as the best pitcher in the minor leagues for last season (#4 prospect in MLB). That is an unprecedented honor for a Padres pitching prospect.

Gore is projected as a top of the rotation starter but will probably need more seasoning for at least the first half of the 2020 season. It is not inconceivable that he could make a run at the rotation during spring training but I will be surprised if he starts the season with the big league team.

This coming season will mark only his third professional season with his first season shortened while he battled finger blisters throughout the year.

His future is that of a possible Cy Young Award winner, and although I would love to watch him pitch with the Padres ASAP, caution dictates patience to allow him to adjust to the demands of a major league season.

Luis Patiño

As the third-ranked prospect on the Padres prospect list and the 13th ranked prospect in all of the MLB, Luis rose quickly as a prospect during the 2019 season. He started the year with single-A Lake Elsinore and finished with the double-A Sod Poodles, ending with an overall 2.57 ERA for the two levels in 94.2 innings pitched.

As a 20-year-old he has an advanced fastball, a power slider, and an above-average curveball. He has added a changeup that requires more work but he shows promise of being a true four-pitch starter.

It might be too soon to project him as an ace but the 2020 season should provide a much better picture of where his ceiling lies. It is not out of the question he could push himself onto the major league roster before the end of the year.

The Padres have no other pitching prospects in the top 100 of the MLB prospect list. This fact further illustrates the need for the front office to add a frontline veteran and depth to the Padres pitching roster for 2020.

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