Padres Minor League System Review: Fort Wayne TinCaps

MacKenzie Gore delivers the first pitch of Wednesday's game. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes.

MacKenzie Gore prepares for his first pitch of the game. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes.

Here is your San Diego Padres’ minor league review of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

The Fort Wayne TinCaps, despite a roster loaded with talent, found themselves 10 games under .500 with a 64-74 record. Overall, the TinCaps finished fourth in the Midwest League Eastern Division and sent four players to the Midwestern All-Star game.

Here is a brief recap of the season.

The Offense

Fort Wayne’s offense was shaky at times, but they still had their breakout players. A consistent source of offense came from one of their young All-Stars, Luis Campusano. The catcher posted a strong batting line of .288/.345/.365 and had 40 RBI for the team. While the lack of power was interesting to say the least (three home runs in 260 AB’s), he still has plenty of time to mature before he is expected at the major league level.

Outfielder Jeisson Rosario (recently the #1 pick in the Dominican Winter League draft) had himself a dandy of a season, collecting a batting line of .271/.368/.353 while pilfering 18 bases. While he may never be a major power threat, Rosario is a pest at the plate with a 12.7 BB%. Esteury Ruiz also showed immense promise, but also showcased some things he needs to work on. While he did steal 49 bases and club twelve home runs, he also whiffed 141 times and collected a 28.6 K%. Ruiz is a player who could have a 20 homer, 20 stolen base season, but he still has many things to work on.

(Luis Campusano) Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes.

Getting called up after dominating both the Arizona League and the Northwest League, Owen Miller continued to carve his path of destruction at the Midwest League. Miller hit .336/.368/.495 with two home runs in 26 games with the TinCaps and, when the season ended, he was called up to Double-A San Antonio to help the Missions in the playoffs.

Of course, there were players who didn’t perform as well as their teammates. Luis Almanzar struggled in his time as a TinCap, posting a .179/.257/.249 batting line and a wRC+ of 47. He did have a BABIP of .259 so he may have been unlucky in some cases. Gabriel Arias had his struggles at the beginning of the season, especially with his fielding, but he did have a late season surge, so he may rebound yet.

The Pitching

Fort Wayne had many surprises on their pitching roster. Top prospect MacKenzie Gore surprised, but not in the greatest of ways, posting a 4.45 ERA and battling blister issues all season long. However, his advanced numbers shed a positive light as his FIP (3.25) and xFIP (3.16) suggest that he had a better year than his ERA suggests. Gore still has talent to spare and he will have an entire offseason to recover from his blisters.

Two prospects who seemingly came out of nowhere were Osvaldo Hernandez and Luis Patino. The former pitched to a pristine 1.81 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. While his advanced numbers suggest some regression (2.97 FIP and 3.60 xFIP), Hernandez is a lock to advance to Lake Elsinore next season to continue his development.

Patino, on the other hand, was a literal diamond in the rough finding by international scouting director Chris Kemp, has blossomed into a true Top 100 prospect. So valued is he that the Tampa Bay Rays asked for him to be included along with other players in a potential trade for Chris Archer, which the Padres rightfully declined. After dominating at the low-A level with a 2.16 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, not to mention a 2.33 FIP and a xFIP of 2.91, it is easy to see why Patino was wanted in the trade.

(Tom Cosgrove) Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes.

Patino balanced a healthy BB/9 ( 2.59) with a strong K/9 rating (10.58) thanks to both a two-seam and a four-seam fastball that can touch 98 MPH as well as an above-average slider. He employs a power curveball with late life and a changeup that, while average, is still improving every time he pitches. It is thanks to his arsenal and unbelievable stats that he was named the 12th overall prospect in the Padres’ system by MLB Pipeline. This crazy diamond will continue to shine in his career and is one that Padres’ fans should keep their eyes on.

This isn’t even covering the three all-stars on the pitching staff. After an impressive showing and a 3.07 ERA, Nick Margevicius was sent to the Midwest League All-Star game and eventually to High-A Lake Elsinore. The left-hander has great command over the strike zone, walking only nine batters in 76 1/3 innings for Fort Wayne while striking out 87. Aaron Leasher was another lefty who earned an All-Star nod thanks to a 3.32 ERA, and also earned a promotion to Lake Elsinore, where he struggled in 21 innings. Travis Radke, owner of a 1.74 ERA and a 12.19 K/9, was the fourth TinCap sent to the All-Star game and eventually bounced around the upper levels of the minors, spending time in Lake Elsinore, San Antonio and even El Paso.

Overall

With a team filled with talent, the pitching side tended to outplay the hitting side of the team many times. Cold streaks affected Fort Wayne’s offense and the team could have had a much better season had it not been for some struggles at key moments.

Fort Wayne still had players burst onto the scene, like Hernandez and Patino. These two will most likely be in Lake Elsinore next year to hone their craft. Fort Wayne should also get some of the Padres draft picks from this year onto the team, like Xavier Edwards, Miller, and first round pick Ryan Weathers (who had a brief cup of coffee with the team this year).

With the incoming talent, Fort Wayne should have another strong roster that can gun for a playoff run.

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Jason Freund
I am currently attending Grossmont College and have been a big fan of San Diego Sports for years. I currently have media credentials with the San Diego Sockers and am a proud member of the KUSI Prep Pigskin Report. My future goal is to work as a reporter for a professional sports team. I look forward to contributing to this site and hope to write some great stories.

1 thought on “Padres Minor League System Review: Fort Wayne TinCaps

  1. Doubt that Miller get pushed back to Ft. Wayne after being called up for the Texas League playoffs. Lake Elsinore is the absolute lowest level for him and he might stick at whatever city the Padres AA team will be in 2019 because Arias not ready to play at AA; Arias’ late surge should be enough to push him to Lake Elsinore. Middle infielders for Ft. Wayne are likely to be Edwards at short and Marcano at 2b.

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