With the dog days of summer ending shortly, the San Diego Padres sit in an interesting spot.
The team is coming off their first winning month since 2015 and the rebuilding Friars are 11 games below .500, a surprising mark for a team that was supposed to be one of the worst teams in baseball history.
With all of that being said, the most interesting months of baseball are approaching the Padres.
With the trade deadline over and September call-ups right at the bus stop, the Padres have a lot of exciting things coming their way before the end of this season.
Let’s take a look at some:
The Starting Rotation post Trade Deadline:
With Trevor Cahill already dealt to the Royals, it is unlikely that any other starting pitcher on the team is dealt at this point. Jhoulys Chacin and Clayton Richard are the only other candidates that may be traded, but even that is unlikely to occur. August trade waiver deals are a possibility though. With all that being said, the Padres do have an interesting situation brewing among their starting staff. Chacin has turned things around and has looked like the staff ace. In his last ten starts, Chacin is 6-3 with a 2.75 ERA, including a ridiculous 2.05 ERA at home in 11 games this season. Richard has been a serviceable arm for the team thus far, boasting one of the highest ground ball rates in all of baseball, and has been a proven leader in the Padres’ clubhouse.
Recently acquired Travis Wood has had some success throughout his major league career, including a masterful performance against the Pirates in his first start with the team. All the excitement lays in the hands of the Padres two back-end starters, Luis Perdomo and Dinelson Lamet. A Rule-5 pick last season, Perdomo has shown flashes that he can truly become a great major league pitcher. Similar to Richard, he boasts one of the highest ground ball rates in all of baseball. While his numbers are not the strongest, and he surely needs to develop some more, Perdomo has the stuff to be something special. Dinelson Lamet, one of the Padres top pitching prospects, has had a solid impact on the Padres’ rotation. Lamet is a strikeout machine, having struck out 75 batters in 57 ⅔ innings pitched. While he has surely had his struggles from the get-go, Lamet has the stuff to truly be a number two or three type of pitcher. His fastball sits in the mid 90’s, his slider is absolutely disgusting, and his changeup has started to develop into an above-average pitch. Once touted as one of the worse pitching rotations in baseball history, the Padres have an exciting group of arms competing day in and day out.
The First Wave:
Many fans of the Padres have heard of the “waves” of talent that will be arriving at Petco Park in the upcoming years.
The first of these waves has already arrived in the form of multiple young players the Padres have on their current roster. Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, Dinelson Lamet, and Phil Maton are the so-called first “wave” of talent that has started their careers in the majors.
Let me tell you one thing: none of them have disappointed one bit.
Manuel Margot, when healthy, has been one of the most exciting players to watch in recent memory. His electrifying speed matched with phenomenal hands and a great understanding of how to barrel up a baseball put Margot on the fast track to stardom. Hunter Renfroe has provided the Padres with a power surge that many fans saw coming. Austin Hedges is the anchor of a young, promising defense and may well already be one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.
Words can’t describe how incredible Phil Maton has been for the Padres, coming in during any situation and bailing the team out time after time. Dinelson Lamet has showcased his ace-like stuff and given Padres fans hope that he can truly develop into the pitcher we all know he can be. This first wave of talent is here to stay for a very, very long time. They happen to be the building blocks for what the Padres hope can one day be a championship team, and many think they truly have the talent to do so.
Who doesn’t love September call-ups? It’s truly one of the most exciting parts of the season as teams can bring up their young talent and showcase what they have to offer.
For the Padres, especially, this is truly going to be exciting.
Shortstop for the Padres is something that will always be up in the air. Erick Aybar and Allen Córdoba have taken up most of the playing time at short for the Padres, but with Javier Guerra and Jose Rondon both on the 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see if the Padres decide to make the call.
Let’s also not forget about top position prospect Luis Urias, one of the best hitters in the Texas League, potentially being called up to the show come September. He is one of the foundation pieces for the Padres becoming a title contender and his development is something every Padres fan should keep their eyes peeled for.
Of all the wonderful things that September has to offer, the Padres’ plethora of young arms in their Double-A affiliate is the most eye-opening. Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, and Joey Lucchesi (all 2016 draft picks) along with Enyel De Los Santos and Brett Kennedy, anchor a Missions pitching staff that has led the team to one of the best records in the Texas League. Pairing up with an extremely talented starting rotation is an even better bullpen. Eric Yardley, Trey Wingenter, Brad Wieck, and Aroni Nina makeup one of the best bullpens in the entire league.
Is it likely that some, if any, of these pitchers make it to Padres come September? Probably not. But the fact that all this talent is that close to being at Petco Park is surely something to be excited about.
Are the Padres going to make a playoff push? No, they aren’t. However, they are in a fantastic position for the future, making the rest of this season a must-watch for all fans.