Padres: Chris Paddack must develop another pitch

Chris Paddack had another rough outing for the Padres on Saturday, and he’ll need to develop another pitch if he wants long-term success.

On Saturday, the Padres were immediately put into a 4-0 deficit within the first two innings, as starting pitcher Chris Paddack had another difficult outing. The 24-year-old lasted all of 4.2 innings while fanning six batters.

Of the 82 pitches thrown, Paddack threw 44 fastballs on the day, which has primarily been the difference between his rookie and sophomore years’ success. He’s yielding a .333 average on his primary pitch this season compared to .204 last year.

Of note, Paddack’s spin rate on his fastball is also down from last year, 2170 RPM versus 2230 RPM, falling in the bottom third of the league. Paddack complements his heater with a nasty changeup, of which he threw 26 times yesterday. However, the remaining 12 pitches were a mix of curveball and cutter.

Paddack’s curveball has been a work in progress, and he was reportedly ready to use it more this season. But that just hasn’t been the case. With just a 7.7 percent pitch usage, batters essentially have to guess between the changeup and Paddack’s fastball.

His fastball was his primary out pitch last season, drawing 60 percent of his strikeout total. However, that number is down to approximately 42 percent this year.

Paddack’s ERA has ballooned up to 4.75 threw nine starts, and while it seems unlikely to happen within the shortened season, he desperately needs to develop a third pitch in the offseason. The opposition has a good book on what Paddack is going to throw and when, and it’s showing in the box score and on the field.

Ideally he’d be using his curveball around 15 percent or so to keep hitters off-balance. And maybe he just doesn’t have a feel for it yet. But it will be critical for his long-term success to have as many useful pitches in his arsenal.