CL – Brad Hand
Brad Hand is arbitration-eligible for the next two years and is a free agent in 2020. I can see him and the Padres’ front office reaching an agreement on a contract extension at some point before he becomes a free agent. A.J. Preller has stated recently that Hand is in his plans for the future and he hopes he is a part of the good Padres teams that we hope are soon looming. I can also see A.J. Preller trading the 27-year-old at year’s end for a few prospects who can help the Padres reach the promised land. Right now it is 50/50 as to if Brad Hand is a Padre for the foreseeable future. If he is a Padre, the club will have a very reliable lefty at the back-end of a very good bullpen led by Darren Balsley in 2021.
SU – Phil Maton
Spin rate God, Phil Maton, already has closer-like stuff in 2017, so imagine how more advanced and how much better he will be in four years. Maton was one of the candidates to take over the closer role once Brad Hand was traded at the deadline, but ultimately the Padres held on to Hand and Phil Maton was pushed back to a seventh or eighth inning role. Since being called up to the big leagues, Maton has been very solid for the Pads. The right-hander has pitched in 22.1 innings and has 25 strikeouts. He also has an impressive 2.82 ERA and has become one of the better relievers out of the bullpen. I see him and Brad Hand shutting teams down and I see them becoming a dominating force in the National League for years to come.
SU – Roberto Osuna
Every team contending for a title has to acquire some talent at the deadline, and I think A.J. Preller will do just that. I can see Preller sending a couple of prospects at the 2021 deadline to the Blue Jays for the young relief pitcher. I can see prospects like Josh Naylor, or maybe Jacob Nix or Logan Allen, being shipped to the Blue Jays. Roberto Osuna is a free agent at the end of the 2021 season so he would be a rental for the Padres’ playoff run. Once acquired, I do not see him as much competition to Brad Hand for the closer role, but I do see him providing more depth and versatility to the Friar bullpen. Osuna can possibly be a part of one of the best bullpens in all of baseball.
MR – Jose Torres
Jose Torres is a player that has a bright future for the Padres. He made his major league debut last year and made the major league club out of spring training, and has since stayed up and pitched well. This year, as of 8/3, he has 48 strikeouts in 50 innings and has an inflated ERA only because of a few bad outings, which all relievers have. Hitters are hitting .253 against the left-hander, which is not bad at all, but can still improve. I see Torres greatly improving and putting himself in the discussion to be on this World Series roster.
MR – Brad Wieck
Brad Wieck is someone who is not really being talked about in the sense of a reliever of the future, but I am very high on him. Wieck has spent time at both San Antonio and El Paso this year and he has not been performing very well since his promotion to AAA. In San Antonio he had an ERA of 2.73 with an opponents batting average of .196, but since being promoted to El Paso he has an ERA of 10.29 and an opponent’s batting average of .344, which is not good at all. Note, he only has pitched in seven innings for the Chihuahuas. The 6 foot 9 lefty will look to improve on those stats and is eyeing a spot on the 2021 playoff roster. I think he has a pretty decent chance of squeaking on.
LR – Matt Strahm
Matt Strahm was acquired by the Padres this trade deadline from the Kansas City Royals for Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter, and Brandon Maurer. Strahm was once regarded as one of the Royals’ top pitching prospects, but that has since changed after he had to have season-ending knee surgery earlier this year. Strahm has made his major league debut, so that means once he is back and healthy, he should be placed right into the thick of things. Right now he is a bit of a tweener, meaning experts are not sure if he is a starting pitcher or a relief pitcher. Because the Padres have so many good starting pitching prospects already, I believe Strahm will be made into a reliever. He certainly has a future with the club because the Padres have him on contract for at least six more years. I see Matt Strahm becoming a long reliever and cleaning up the mess, if that every happens, for some starting pitchers, and maybe even making a few spot starts here and there.
LR – Joey Lucchesi
Many Padres fans are very excited for this young man. He has been pitching very well in single A and double A. In fact he has been just as good, if not better, in double A than he was in single A. Over the whole year with both clubs he has a 2.47 ERA with 119 strikeouts over 109.1 innings. He has been purely dominant in the minor leagues this year. I can see him sticking as a starter, but again, there is just too much competition for him to be in the rotation. I believe the Padres will view him similarly to Matt Strahm and have him be a long reliever and a possible spot starter. Joey Lucchesi is a name to look out for in the next few seasons as he will likely be flirting with the big leagues fairly soon.
It was very tough selecting this team and dwindling it down to just 13 hitters and 12 pitchers. It was extremely difficult to leave off current Padres players like Travis Jankowski, Yangervis Solarte, Carlos Asuaje, Jose Pirela, Alex Dickerson, Kirby Yates, Dinelson Lamet, and many others. That just speaks to how loaded the Padres farm system is and how good of a GM A.J. Preller is in creating this potential team.
The team might change and I might be way off from what the 2021 roster actually looks like. In fact, I am bound to be horribly wrong because that is what GM’s like to do; shake up the team and try something different. However, I think A.J. Preller and the rest of the Padres’ front office are headed in the right direction and have an actual plan as to what the future holds for this young, talented ball club.
The 2021 potential playoff run should be one to keep an eye on.