San Antonio Missions
The San Diego Padres need starting pitching in the upper levels of their minor league system. The team has young hitters at the major league level, but needs to get quality arms there fast. One such arm who looked to be close was Enyel De Los Santos, who started the year in San Antonio alongside Dinelson Lamet. The big right-handed pitcher has a decent fastball and change combo, but has not put it all together yet.
He is 21, and the young Dominican can surely take off at any time. Though his year has been somewhat disappointing, he has still been healthy the whole season for the Missions. De Los Santos is 5-4 right now with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 17 games (15 starts) and 91 innings pitched. There is still a lot to like here with this young man, despite his slight regression.
This young man has surfaced on this list as he has been surrounded by talent in recent years. He was a fourth-round selection in 2014 out of Cal Poly and, at one time, was on the Padres top-30 list. The right-handed hitter is a corner outfielder who is better suited for left field. He has gap power, but has yet to develop as a power threat. Torres only has 25 home runs in his more than 1,400 at bats in the minors.
He started last year in San Antonio where he put up a slash line of .282/.321/.416. That earned him a promotion to El Paso where he held his own, but the team elected for him to start the season again with the Missions. He is currently hitting .261 and his numbers have dipped across the board. Torres is 24 and at a crossroads right now in his career. The Padres’ system is full of young talented outfielders. Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe probably aren’t going anywhere soon. Jorge Ona, Michael Gettys, Buddy Reed, and company are coming soon. A change of scenery might be best for this young man.
El Paso Chihuahuas
He is on the teams’ 40-man roster and will probably earn a call-up at some point this season. The 23-year-old was the teams 4th-round selection out of a high school in Florida in 2012. Last season, Lockett saw action in four different systems within the Padres’ franchise. He started in Fort Wayne, then progressed through Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, before landing in El Paso to finish the season.
Lockett went 10-9 last season with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.061 WHIP in 164 innings pitched. This year he has been less productive, pitching solely for the Chihuahuas, going 5-2 with a 4.39 ERA in 10 starts and 55 innings pitched. The issue has been the fact he has given up a ton of hits (67 in his 55 innings pitched) this season resulting in a 1.446 WHIP. The PCL is a notorious hitter’s league so these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Lockett should be in Petco very soon and we will all get an excellent look at what the big right-hander really has to offer.
The experiment with Bethancourt on the mound went very badly in 2017 as he recorded a 14.73 ERA in his first four games pitching for the Padres. He allowed six hits and nine runs and was DFA’d by the team in April. He went unclaimed and the Friars decided to bring him back as a pitcher in the minors. Instead of letting Bethancourt learn the craft at a lower level, the chose to allow him to try to pitch in El Paso. Bad idea. He holds a 11.32 ERA in 2o innings pitched for the Chihuahuas and looks lost up on the mound. Surprisingly, he has not been given many at bats for the team (3-9 .333) and his days behind the plate seem over.
At this point Bethancourt is a long way from making the team as a pitcher. I find it interesting that the team is not allowing him to hit consistently, and I also find it curious that they did not allow him to start in Lake Elsinore and earn his promotion to the higher levels. His future with the team is cloudy, but at this point he is not needed at the major league level. Bethancourt is still 25 and could surface in the major eventually. His power bat is real, so I have to believe he will return to duty behind the dish someday.
When the Padres signed this young man, I really believed he had an opportunity to pitch a lot for the team in 2017. He has a great arm, but has struggled with horrible wild streaks. My thought was that Darren Balsley would work his magic, but that did not happen in the spring, and Jenkins has looked lost in El Paso. In 2016, Jenkins went 9-3 for the Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A) while recording a 2.47 ERA. That earned him a promotion to the majors, but he had little success there.
Jenkins has been hit hard in the PCL, going 4-8 with a 7.86 ERA in 81 innings pitched. He has also been ridiculous with his command, walking 52 batters in that time, while only striking out 55 batters. At this point he is just filling up space on the triple-A roster. Jenkins has no real value right now and will likely never pitch for the Padres.
Tri-City Dust Devils
It was hard adding Scheckler to this list, as he still has a decent chance to be a relevant prospect. The big left-handed pitcher (6′ 8″) was drafted in the 8th round in 2016 out of Cornerstone. He is 22 and should be at a higher level than where he presently is though. He is making adjustments mechanically, so perhaps its too early to include him on this list.
Sheckler started the year in Fort Wayne, where he went 2-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 24 innings out of the pen. He walked 11 in that time, while striking out 34 batters, but he also gave up 31 hits which needs to improve. The big lefty was sent to Tri-City, where he has recorded a 4.24 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP in 17 innings for the Dust Devils. Again, hits have been an issue as he has allowed 21 in that span while only striking out 14.
I interviewed this young man last season after he was drafted by the team and he seemed really motivated to perform as a professional. The right-handed-hitting outfielder was selected in the 5th round in 2015 out of a high school in Louisiana, but has failed to produce. He put up a .195/.292/.227 batting line in 52 games between the AZL League and Tri-City.
This season in Tri-City, he is off to a .208/.345/.292 batting line in 15 games for the Dust Devils. The undersized outfielder has skills, but the change to wood bats has been rough on him. Magee is 20 and still has time to develop, but he looks to be a project at this point in his career.