The San Diego Padres number two overall prospect Luis Patino is getting his shot.
Last summer, during the MLB All-Star futures game, in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 2-2 ballgame, Luis Patiño made an appearance. With runners at the corner, Patiño struck out Tampa Bay Rays number seven overall prospect catcher Ronaldo Hernandez out swinging on a nasty breaking ball before blowing a fastball by the Minnesota Twins top overall prospect Royce Lewis to end the inning.
Patiño finished off 1 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, racking up three strikeouts in total on 24 pitches, 16 of which went for strikes. Patiño reached 99 mph more than once and showed the Padres his unique talent level.
As news broke today from Padres MLB.com beat writer AJ Cassavell, Patiño is being called up by the club for their match-up tonight versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Patiño is the latest prospect to be called as rumors surrounding top overall prospect MacKenzie Gore continue to circulate.
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San Diego Padres: A special talent
Patiño signed with the club as an international free-agent back in 2016 for $130,000. He ranks currently as the number 20 overall prospect on Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list. In his first year in rookie ball, Patiño made four starts. He more than held his own, as proven by his 1.69 ERA and 1.76 FIP.
He moved from the Dominican Summer League to the Arizona League in the same year and posted a 2.25 ERA over eight starts, all while still 17 years old. In 2018 Patiño was promoted by the club to Class-A Fort Wayne, where he continued to dominate. In 17 starts, he pitched to a 2.16 ERA, improving his strikeout rate to 29.7 percent and dropping his walk rate to 7.3 percent.
Last season, Patiño was the youngest pitcher in the high Class-A California League. In 17 starts for Lake Elsinore, he posted a 2.69 ERA with a 31.6 percent strikeout rate and kept his walk rate north of ten percent for a third straight season. He moved to Double-A Amarillo and posted a stable 1.17 ERA over 7 2/3 innings.
Patiño has a lively fastball that sits in the mid-90s. He can reach it to 99 as was proof in the Futures Game with his strikeout of Lewis last summer. He also carries a biting slider in his arsenal that sits between 85-88 mph and can generate swings and misses as well as a nice curveball and changeup.
San Diego Padres: The future is here
Patiño has been projected to be a future number two starter in his scouting reports. His poise on the mound with his level of talent at such a young age proves the Padres have yet another reliable starter in their future arsenal of pitching.
His status as a 20-year-old will be the key for the Padres to bring him along slowly. San Diego will not start him right away, and it has been noted he will be available out of the bullpen for tonight’s matchup versus the Dodgers.
It is an exciting time for Padres fans. We will most likely see their top overall prospect Gore get his call in the coming week, and with a truncated MLB season, it is as good as time as any for these guys to get chops at major league level hitters. Whether Patiño sticks beyond this season is yet to be known, but, for now, let’s all just enjoy another young talented prospect and the talent he brings to a team very much in playoff contention.