The San Diego Padres took advantage of the Philadelphia Phillies struggling to sign Dinelson Lamet and now he’s a must-watch player, per The Athletic.
If not for an error in his documentation, Dinelson Lamet would likely be in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, but, as it stands, the San Diego Padres stepped in and signed him as an international free agent in June 2014. He made his big league debut in 2017 and was on the team’s Opening Day roster in 2018, but suffered an injury to his UCL and required season-ending Tommy John Surgery.
He returned to baseball on July 4 last season and made 14 starts to close out the year. In all, he posted a 4.07 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 73.0 innings of work. Lamet allowed three earned runs or less in 11-of-14 starts in 2019 and figures to be the number two or three starter in the Padres’ rotation this season.
Jim Bowden, of The Athletic ($), recently published a piece examining the must-watch player in Spring Training for every team and chose Lamet for the home team. He backed his choice with the 27-year-old’s stats from last year and explained that he’s interested to see if Lamet can reduce the number of walks in what hopes to be a full season for him.
Lamet allowed 30 free passes last season, which equated to 3.7 BB/9, but it’s a remarkable improvement from his 4.3 BB/9 before the injury. Batters did the most damage off his four-seam and sinker fastballs, but his off-speed pitches were filthy.
His curveball and slider produced 48.3 and 51.3 percent whiff rates, respectively (per Statcast), which is likely why MLB writers are raving about him. Concerning his curveball, this pitch had 3.9 inches more horizontal break – or 63 percent more – than the league average.
Obviously, health is going to be a critical issue going forward, and not just for him. The Padres have several guys in their rotation who have or are still working their way back from Tommy John, with Zach Davies and Joey Lucchesi being the exceptions. The talent in this rotation is exceptional and could potentially be one of the best in the National League.