Photo credit (from left to right): Bill Mitchell, LG Patterson, John Conniff
As the season comes to a close, let’s look at some of the bright spots for the Padres this season:
1.) The progress of key prospects
To the average fan, their 65-78 record would be considered rather disappointing, however, a quick trip into the depths of the Padres farm should have fans excited. Very excited. Mlb.com has 7 Padres prospects on the top 100 list, tied with only the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox. Cal Quantrill looks to be close to making his debut possibly late next year, and Mackenzie Gore and Fernando Tatis Jr. are pushing top 15 prospects in all of baseball. Luis Urias and Adrian Morejon look to be very solid pieces of their future too. The most disappointing thing to come out of the Padres farm this year is the loss of the once #21 prospect Anderson Espinoza to Tommy John Surgery. While his stock may have fallen good for #77 on the midseason list, Tommy John Surgery is becoming much more of a recoverable injury and is now up to the Padres to guide Espinoza through the recovery process. Espinoza returning to his once top form for the start of the 2019 season isn’t unreasonable. Espinoza is still just 19 years old and will likely be ready for when the Padres begin to introduce his fellow colleagues into the Majors.
Manuel Margot, the #24 prospect coming into the season according to Baseball America, has certainly impressed at the Major league level. Margot currently leads the Padres with 2.1 fWAR, and has impressed with the glove. Margot’s .271/.318/.428 slash line has been a welcome addition to the top of the order of the Majors’ worst offensive team. The Padres are finally reaping the benefits of the Craig Kimbrel trade during the 2015 offseason. At still 22 years old, Margot has a bright future ahead of him.
Credit: Jake Roth
2.) Luis Perdomo
While Perdomo’s 4.57 ERA, 6.67 K/9, and 7-9 record seems overwhelmingly average, Perdomo’s 62.2% ground ball percentage leads all of baseball and his 0.90 HR/9 falls in between Chris Sale’s and Aaron Nola’s. And to be honest, the Padres need a guy like him. Someone they can rely on to throw 6 innings and give up 3 runs every fifth day. His 4.28 FIP predicts good fortune to come, or that he’s been struck with some bad luck. Perdomo’s 1.5 fWAR makes him a very reliable fourth guy in a rotation and at 24 years old, there’s still room to grow. Keep on racking up those double plays, and doing your thing.
Credit: Patrick Smith
3.) Brad Hand
The continued emergence of Brad Hand since joining the Padres in 2016 has been nothing less than excellent. Hand owns a 2.38 ERA with an 11.75 K/9, in 72 innings pitched this year. Since taking over as the closer, Hand has converted 17 saves in 23 opportunities. Hand looked like the top reliever on the market expected to be moved. While the Padres might’ve not gotten what they were looking for in order to send him off, Hand looks like a nice piece for a competitor to add and a name to watch in the offseason. If the Padres can’t find a deal they like in the offseason, Hand is still under contract until after the 2019 season.
Credit: Charlie Neuman