In this edition of the weekly prospect spotlight series here at East Village Times, Patrick Brewer puts the spotlight on Padres pitching prospect Brad Wieck.
With the flurry of trades last offseason, the Padres remade their major league roster. In the process, the front office also remade the farm system. Many promising prospects, such as Matt Wisler, Max Fried, Mallex Smith, Joe Ross, Trea Turner, found themselves to be expendable, and with new homes to play in. Talent was lost, but the Padres have still moved forward.
In the place of those guys are recent draftees, such as Austin Smith, Jacob Nix and Jerry Keel, as well as recently acquired players such as Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and Logan Allen. The Padres farm may look a lot different, but there is still quite a bit of talent there. While the Padres are flush with position players looking to make an impact, there are quite a few good pitching prospects in the system. One such player is another recent trade acquisition, Brad Wieck.
Wieck has had a bit of a rough journey to being drafted to this point. Going into the 2014 draft, Wieck had seen time at, or been committed to five different colleges. Various injuries and other issues scuttled some of his plans but he still wound up in professional ball.
Originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 draft (205th overall) by the New York Mets, Wieck was traded to the Padres as the player to be named later in the Alex Torres trade at the end of March last season. While Cory Mazzoni was the more immediately useful piece in that trade, Wieck could have an impactful career nonetheless.
At 6’9’’, 255 pounds, Wieck certainly has the size to be a productive big league arm. He uses that size to generate a lot of power and also has a deceptive throwing motion. Wieck was not officially traded to the Padres until mid-season, given the rule barring draft picks from being traded within the first year of being drafted (a rule that has since been changed). Therefore Wieck only has a small amount of experience in the Padres minor league system.
After a short stint in Low Class A Fort Wayne, in which he excelled with a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings pitched, Wieck was quickly brought up to the Padres high A team, the Lake Elsinore Storm. Despite excelling in Rookie Ball, as well as low A with both the Mets and Padres, Wieck struggled to adjust to High A ball. He finished the season with 57 innings pitched over 11 games started, finishing with an ERA over 5.00. Not the best performance over a small sample, but Wieck still has plenty of potential.
Wieck’s walk rate increased by around a batter to a batter and a half per nine innings over previous levels at lower levels. Wieck’s strikeout rate also fell rather significantly. If he can make adjustments to better hitters, those numbers should even out and he should regain his previous form. There’s a bit of a jump between minor league levels, requiring greater adjustments for some pitchers. Below are Wieck’s full numbers for his minor league career.
The scouting report on Wieck isn’t too in-depth. Wieck sits between 90-93 with his velocity, and uses an above average slider. He will need to develop a more consistent and polished third pitch to his repertoire to achieve future success, but the basics are there. His mechanics are good overall, and he also has some deceptiveness with his motion to the plate. Wieck is obviously well built with a big frame, which certainly will help him going forward with both power generation and tilt on the mound.
The one concern that comes with Wieck at this point is his advanced age. The average age of low A to High A players is usually in the 21 or 22-year-old range. This means Wieck is at a lower level than perhaps he should be. He obviously is slightly behind the curve because he went to a four-year college, but the fact still remains that he is old for the A level. Based on his struggles last season, he likely will start next season back in Single A, but with the potential to move up through the system quickly.
At this point it’s really difficult to project Wieck given his small amount of minor league experience and his struggles with consistency in college. Wieck has all the skills needed for future success if he can put it altogether. At this point, he doesn’t really profile as much more than a back end rotation starter in the future, but there’s always quite a bit of room for him to grow into the next few years. If worse comes to worst, Wieck could be an interesting left handed option out of the bullpen some day. The lesser known piece in the Alex Torres-Cory Mazzoni trade, Wieck could still see his day.