Padres’ Minor League Pitching Leaders in Advanced Metrics

Credit: EVT Sports

Credit: TinCaps

During the 2019 season, the Padres have seen their young pitchers have varying levels of success thus far. Although top prospects such as Adrian Morejon and Michel Baez have battled through injuries, there have been other hurlers who have had impressive seasons that have boosted their stock as prospects.

Within the Padres’ well-known minor league system, there are many arms that have the potential to be impact big league pitchers at some point down the line.

We’ve read all the scouting reports on the aforementioned pitchers many times, and it’s also important to see how they’ve performed statistically.

There have been some prospects in the Padres’ system that have performed very well this season when we look at their numbers, that are certainly worth examining more closely. We’re going to look at the prospects who have made it into the top five of statistical categories in the entire organization. As the lower levels have yet to begin their seasons, we’ll only be looking at the pitchers who have played at full-season levels.

To start, let’s take a look at the leaderboards for pitchers by FIP and xFIP in the Padres’ organization:

Pitcher Level FIP xFIP
MacKenzie Gore California League (A+) 2.04 2.25
Gabe Mosser Midwest League (A) 2.60 2.89
Efrain Contreras Midwest League (A) 2.85 3.28
Jesse Scholtens Texas League (AA) 3.74 3.60
Ronald Bolaños California League (A+) 3.87 3.85

Unsurprisingly, Mackenzie Gore is at the top of this list. I wrote an article earlier in the year about how he’s arguably been the best Cal League pitcher in history, which shows how spectacular he’s been. Also on this list is Gabe Mosser, who has pitched very well for the Fort Wayne TinCaps in 2019. Considering he was a 27th round pick in the 2018 draft, this has been a great performance for the 22-year-old righty. Credit to both him for his pitching and the Padres’ scouting department for finding the righty as late in the draft as they did. Other impressive pitchers in the table include Efrain Contreras and Jesse Scholtens, who had also had solid seasons thus far. Ronald Bolaños also pitched well enough with the Storm in the California League that he was recently promoted to the Texas League, where he threw six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts in his debut.

The next statistic we’ll be focusing on is strikeouts, specifically with regard to K% and K/9 numbers. Here are the pitchers who have been most successful in striking batters out this season:

Pitcher Level K% K/9
MacKenzie Gore California League (A+) 38.5% 12.45
Jesse Scholtens Texas League (AA) 26.1% 10.07
Logan Allen Pacific Coast League (AAA) 25.0% 9.97
Ronald Bolaños California League (A+) 24.7% 9.06
Emmanuel Ramirez Texas League (AA) 24.1% 8.85

Once again we find MacKenzie Gore at the top of this table, further illustrating the fact that he hasn’t just been getting lucky — This is a pitcher completely dominating the level he’s playing at. We also see that Jesse Scholtens appears again, which only increases our appreciation for his work this season. Despite pitching in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Logan Allen has struck out a quarter of the hitters he’s faced in 2019, which is perhaps the most impressive among all of these pitchers.

Moving on to the next numbers, let’s see who has walked the lowest number of batters thus far in 2019. Here are the hurlers who have best been able to keep runners from getting on via the walk:

Pitcher Level BB% BB/9
Gabe Mosser Midwest League (A) 3.2% 1.17
MacKenzie Gore California League (A+) 5.5% 1.78
Emmanuel Ramirez Texas League (AA) 6.8% 2.51
Dietrich Enns Pacific Coast League (AAA) 6.9% 2.65
Jesse Scholtens Texas League (AA) 7.0% 2.72

For the first time in the table above, MacKenzie Gore is not at the top. That’s a very good sign for Gabe Mosser, though — As the right-hander continues to grow in relevance to this stacked Padres farm system. Another pitcher who appears above is Dietrich Enns, who has quietly walked very few batters this season. Jesse Scholtens once again deserves recognition as a pitcher who has thrown very well despite not being ranked highly as a prospect, considering how well he’s limited walks in 2019.

Those are just some of the pitchers in the San Diego farm system that have rated out well according to the various statistics used. If we were using some other metrics, we’d probably see some other players who also deserve to be looked at and recognized for their efforts. Nonetheless, the pitchers above seem to certainly be the hurlers who have been the most valuable to the Padres’ minor league affiliates thus far in 2019. What’s interesting is that around half of the pitchers in the tables above do not rank very highly on prospect lists, if at all. Those guys are especially intriguing to look at statistically because there is simply less information about them. As a whole, the pitchers shown above are a combination of well-known and undervalued prospects.

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Conrad Parrish
A sophomore at Willamette University in Oregon, Conrad is majoring in Spanish but is also a writing center assistant for other students at Willamette. He has been a Padres die-hard his whole life and hopes to bring comprehensible statistical analysis to the site.

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