San Diego Padres: Three underrated prospects to watch in 2020

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San Diego Padres, Ryan Weathers
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Ryan Weathers, LHP

Ryan Weathers was selected in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Loretto High School. The big lefty had a verbal commitment to play his collegiate baseball at Vanderbilt but chose to forego that in favor of starting up his professional career. Jonathan Mayo of ranked Weathers as the 93rd best prospect in baseball prior to last year.

That was coming on the heels of seven starts after the draft split between Single-A and the Arizona Fall Leauge, posting a 3.44 ERA while striking out 18 batters in 18.1 innings. Flash forward to 2019, and he spent the entire year at Fort Wayne, posted a 3.84 ERA in 22 starts with 90 strikeouts in 96.0 innings.

I think what surprises me most about Weathers is his command and ability to limit walks despite just recently turning 20 years old. He’s likely to begin the year at High-A Lake Elsinore, and if he performs well there through the first half of the year, I could see a promotion to Double-A in the second half.

Weathers is projected to be ready for the big league rotation as soon as 2021, which would fall in line with the promotions I just mentioned. This season, he needs to develop a true out pitch, which scouts have noted that he currently lacks.

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However, they speak highly of his fastball and its spin rate, which gives it that late tailing action. Assuming he remains healthy, look for Weathers to enter the conversation next offseason when MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino are knocking at the door as well.