Padres RHP Jairo Iriarte will begin the 2024 season in Triple-A
While both Drew Thorpe and Dylan Lesko represent two exciting pitching prospects in the San Diego farm system, Friars fans should also be excited to see the looming major league debut of Jairo Iriarte. The 2018 international signee was added to the Padres 40-man roster this past year.
Last season, Iriarte split time between both High-A and Double-A. In just less than 100 innings of work, Iriarte kept the ball in the ballpark and was a strikeout machine. The right-hander posted a combined strikeout rate of 33.2 percent. That's outstanding. However, his walk rate of over 11 percent is not, and will be a point of emphasis in 2024.
Ideally, Iriarte would stay in the minors for the entire 2024 season. At just 22 years of age, what's the rush? However, a lack of starting options, or injuries, could force the Friars' hand -- and San Diego has never been shy about pushing their prospects through the system rather quickly.
Still, while Iriarte could find his way to the major league field in 2024, don't look for it to happen on Opening Day. The Padres have other pitchers with no minor-league options remaining. While San Diego fans have been spoiled recently by all the high-dollar free agents and superstar talent, sometimes that talent takes time to develop.
There is a lot to like about Iriarte. The young right-hander has a mid-to-upper 90s fastball, a decent changeup, and wipeout slider. While it's most likely that Iriarte begins the season at Triple-A, he won't be there for long.