San Diego Padres: The Silent Assassin and Baby Rattlesnake

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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San Diego Padres, Luis Patino
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Baby Rattlesnake

Luis Patino came into the Padres organization with the 2016 international prospect bonanza. Signing for $130,000, Patino was undersized with an 80’s fastball and a projectable arm. Concentrating his development on mechanics and strength and conditioning, the Friars have watched him bloom into the number three prospect in the organization as well as the 27th best prospect in baseball and the eighth-best RHP prospect (per MLBPipeline).

While still only 6′ and 192 pounds, Patino has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez. His fastball reaches 99 mph with a power slider, plus curve and developing changeup. He holds that velocity deep into his starts with explosive late life due to the whip motion of his arm. This gives his fastball natural cutting action.

Labeled the baby rattlesnake by Lake Elsinore pitching coach Pete Zamora in 2017, Patino was known for his power pitches but an inability to control location. He was a thrower and not a pitcher. Much has changed since then. His command and control are much improved, as witnessed by his 2019 stats.

2.69 ERA, 87 innings pitched with a .192 batting average against in Single-A. 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings pitched and .258 average against in AA in his 19 years of age season. The numbers are encouraging but very limited. With his non-roster invitation to 2020 major league spring training, Patino has the opportunity to show the coaches and staff, as well as the fans, what he is capable of.

We all got a sneak peek of his ability.

Pitching to top prospects invited to the 2019 All-Star Futures Game, Patino pitched two shutout innings to finish the game, stranding runners and securing a 2-2 tie after the 8th inning. His composure under pressure, in a major league ballpark, with a lot of attention focused on him, bodes well for his ability to perform at the major league level.

After the first few weeks of spring training, it is likely he will be sent back to minors camp to hone his command and control, along with building his workload. The 2017 pitching coach for Lake Elsinore, Pete Zamora, is the pitching coach for AAA El Paso this season, and it would seem a properly completed circle to allow him to further assist with polishing the budding ace.

No matter whether we see Luis Patino pitch for the Padres this season or not, there is little doubt that his talent will propel him to the major leagues soon. Barring a major injury, Patino will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the believers and the doubters whether he can follow in the footsteps of the great Pedro Martinez.