6. Luis Patino, RHP
In 2017, Fernando Tatis Jr. burst onto the scene with the Fort Wayne TinCaps when he broke the franchise record with home runs, while also swiping 29 bases. Last year, Luis Patino put his name on the radar after a dominant season-long performance with the TinCaps.
Signed out of Colombia in the 2016-2017 international spending period, Patino posted a 2.16 ERA over 83 1/3 innings with 98 strikeouts and only 24 walks as an 18-year-old last season. The right-hander has a funky windup, similar to that of his good friend MacKenzie Gore, and shows off his athleticism by repeating it consistently. While he might not be the most intimidating figure on the mound, Patino’s fastball sits in the 93-95 mph range and touched 98 mph at times last season. His power slider is easily his best off-speed pitch and generates a lot of swings-and-misses, but Patino’s curveball has a good break to it. He is still developing a changeup that, if it comes around, would give him four pitches that are graded 50+ on the scouting scale. His command is not an issue, as Patino consistently peppers the strike zone with all of his offerings.
There is certainly a ton of upside surrounding Patino, as he is already well-developed as an 18-year-old. He was shut down last season after he reached his workload limit and it will be interesting to see how many innings the Padres will let him go this season. If Patino continues on his current trajectory, it would not be a surprise to see him with the Sod Poodles at some point this year, and he could potentially compete for a rotation spot next spring training. Patino still has a long ways to go until he is ready to crack the big league roster, but there is a lot of potential within this young hurler.
7. Adrian Morejon, LHP
After defecting from Cuba in 2015, the Padres signed Morejon for a franchise-record $11 million the day he was declared an international free agent. Morejon was dominant in the first half of 2018, posting a 3.30 ERA over 62 2/3 innings with 70 strikeouts and 24 walks with the Lake Elsinore Storm. Injuries plagued him after a promotion to Double-A, as flexor soreness and triceps discomfort led to him only making two starts in the entire second half.
Morejon is as polished as any pitcher in this system and is a very good athlete on the mound. His delivery is smooth, and he repeats it well, leading to him throwing a lot of strikes consistently. The 20-year-old commands a fastball that regularly sits at 94-96 mph and did touch 98 mph at times last season. He throws both a knuckle-changeup and a standard changeup that both are graded as above-average pitches by scouts. Both of his changeups compliment his fastball well as they have good movement to them and keep hitters off balance with a noticeable speed difference. His curveball is currently graded as better than his changeups, which is an improvement over last year, and if it continues to develop could be a true “out” pitch for Morejon down the line.
Morejon is one of the more unheralded pitching prospects in all of baseball, as some scouts believe that he could be the best out of all these talented young pitchers in the Padres’ system. Health is the biggest thing with Morejon, as he missed significant time last season because of his inability to stay healthy. This 2019 campaign could be a big one for him, as Morejon is slated to start the year out with the Double-A Sod Poodles but could easily make the jump to Triple-A if he stays healthy. The Cuban native has the stuff to be an ace but is more than likely going to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.
8. Michel Baez, RHP
Continuing the string of pitching prospects in this system is none other than right-handed prospect Michel Baez. Signed during the 2016 international spending period, Baez was one of the more dominant pitchers in his inaugural 2017 season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. He started the 2018 season with Lake Elsinore and was ultimately promoted to Double-A, where he will begin his 2019 campaign.
Baez might be one of the more intimidating pitchers to face, as he stands at a massive 6-foot-8 and is just a physically imposing figure. The 23-year-old throws from a three-quarters slot that gives his fastball some natural run to it. His fastball can easily sit in the high 90’s, but Baez has issues with repeating his delivery consistently that ultimately lead to a dip in his velocity at times. His power slider is his best pitch, as it has a great late break to it and could truly become a wipeout pitch one day. Baez also possesses a curveball and a changeup, and while both are average pitches, his changeup is the better of the two.
Baez’s biggest problem is his consistency. He does pound the strike zone well for someone with inconsistent mechanics, but the decrease in velocity that comes with the lack of consistency is worrisome. His fastball/slider combination could truly become elite one day just because of how well they play off of each other. Despite the fact that Baez is currently a starter, his role is probably better suited as a relief pitcher. Only having to pitch one or two innings per game, as opposed to the regular workload of a starter, will make it so that Baez could get away with his inconsistent mechanics more often.
9. Logan Allen, LHP
The Padres acquired Logan Allen from the Boston Red Sox in a trade that sent perennial all-star closer Craig Kimbrel to Boston. Allen, who at the time was considered the worst prospect in that trade, has worked his way up the Padres’ system and finally put himself on the prospect radar. Allen was dominant in 2018, as he was 14-6 with a 2.54 ERA, 151 strikeouts, and 51 walks over 148 2/3 innings pitched across both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Allen also earned Texas League Pitcher of the Year honors despite being promoted to Triple-A in August.
Allen’s pitching arsenal is not going to blow hitters away, but his aggressiveness and competitiveness on the mound are enough to get hitters out. He has no problem attacking hitters and does not shy away from throwing any pitch at any time in the count. The southpaw’s fastball velocity has improved, as his fastball sits between 92-94 mph with good movement to it. Just like Chris Paddack, Allen’s best secondary pitch is his changeup as it plays well off of his fastball and keeps hitters off balance. Both his curveball and slider are still developmental pitches, with his slider being the higher graded pitch, and Allen will continue to improve these pitches as he progresses through the system.
Many scouts believed that Allen was the most major league ready prospect competiting for a spot in the Padres’ rotation this spring. He might not have the most impressive arsenal of pitches, but Allen knows how to pitch and knows how to get hitters out effectively. The 21-year-old might be the surest pitcher out of this bunch, as you know exactly what he is going to be when he develops: a quality major league pitcher that can withstand a starter’s workload at the next level.
10. Ryan Weathers, LHP
The 2018 first-round pick by the Padres is currently the team’s 10th overall prospect and the 10th left-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball. The 19-year-old prospect got his first true test of professional baseball last season when he made three starts with the Fort Wayne TinCaps just a few months after being drafted.
Weathers was an interesting pick by the Padres, as some might argue there were better players available, but he is still a solid prospect regardless. His fastball sits between 90-93 mph and has good movement to it, making it a difficult pitch to hit despite there not being a ton of velocity associated with it. Both his curveball and changeup are solid pitches but they will both need to develop as Weathers progresses through the minor leagues. He commands his pitches well with a consistent and repeatable delivery but lacks a true “out” pitch that he is absolutely going to need as he gets older.
The 19-year-old seems to be one of the more slept on prospects in this organization because of the fact that some scouts were surprised that the Padres selected him. He is a very solid prospect that could rise through this system quickly with the development of his secondary pitches. Weathers projects as a back-end starter, but the upside and talent for him to be a front-of-the-rotation starter are there.
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