Weekly Prospect Spotlight, April 24-30

A look at a Padres prospect or two from each level of the system that had a noteworthy week.  Yes, Michael Gettys striking out 13 times in seven games and Franmil Reyes hitting four doubles in a week are certainly noteworthy, but these are a few guys who have really impressed the past week. Oh, and Franchy Cordero is slugging .494, so don’t look at any of his other numbers, he’s great and should be loved by all.

Fernando Tatis Jr. – SS, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

7 for 20 (.350), 1 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 6 BB, 5 K

The 18-year-old Tatis Jr. had a pair of multi-hit games last week and raised his batting average 36 points up to .230.  While he has flashed some serious in-game power this year, he’s only slugging .345 (which accounts for a pair of dingers and four doubles), but, like a majority of the hitters on the TinCaps, he’s just 18, so no need to worry about too much at this stage.  Unlike many of the bats in the organization currently, he’s able to work a walk (if his six free passes last week didn’t lead the farm, they’re pretty close), so it’s not just the hits, but his discipline at the plate that is encouraging.

Jerry Keel – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

The 9th Round pick in the 2015 Draft had his longest start of the season and allowed no earned runs, but still got saddled with the loss against the South Bend Cubs (Cubs affiliate).  With runners on second and third and no outs in the seventh, he got the ground ball he needed to get out of the inning, but a fielding error by second baseman Reinaldo Ilarraza and a subsequent RBI single by South Bend put the Cubs ahead, and Keel dropped to 1-1 on the year.  The 23-year-old from Palmdale lowered his ERA to 1.93 and hasn’t allowed a homer in 23.1 innings this season.

 

Joey Lucchesi – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

I remember arguing with my friends as a little kid about what Ninja Turtle was the best.  The answer seemed very obvious to me, but looking back, I guess it just depends on what you like, and it’s hard to go wrong, because the Ninja Turtles rule pretty hard.  The Storm pitching staff in 2017 is the Ninja Turtles.  I don’t know which one is which, but there’s reasons to love everyone, from Eric Lauer, to Cal Quantrill, to Anderson Espinoza (whenever he gets healthy), and Joey Lucchesi.  With a interesting-enough delivery, the left-hander put together an impressive start against the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks affiliate).  Lucchesi allowed a pair of solo shots in his first start, and hasn’t allowed an earned run since.  Even more impressive than co-leading the staff in strikeouts (27 K’s in 21 innings), he didn’t walk anyone, lowering his WHIP to 0.95.  It’s tough to say who the first of the college-experienced starting pitchers to get promoted to San Antonio will be, but don’t sleep on him just because he was drafted behind Quantrill and Lauer.

 

Javier Guerra – SS, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

5 for 19 (.263), 1 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K

The hype train for Javier Guerra seems to have gone off the rails, and so many people bailed on him that you might’ve forgot that he’s just 21-years-old. Last year was a disaster, as he slashed .202/.264/.325, and believe it or not, he is actually off to a worse start this year.  However, this was a promising week for the young Panamanian, as he not only accounted for more than a third of his hits on the season, but his 5 walks are more than 1/7th of what he had for all of last year (34, which was a career high).  I’m not saying that he’s fixed everything, but don’t count him out too early – we all know how desperate the Padres have been at shortstop.

 

Austin Allen – C, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

7 for 17 (.412), 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K

While it physically pains me to imagine anyone besides Austin Hedges ever being the Padres starting catcher, it’s worth noting that the other Austin is getting a bunch of reps with Quantrill, Lucchesi, and Lauer, etc., and he’s not too shabby either.  While he isn’t nearly as dreamy as Hedges (though to be fair, who is?), he seems like he could be a little further along offensively than Hedges was at High-A (though Hedges was only 20-years-old when he was with the Storm, compared to the 23-year-old Allen).

 

Nick Schulz – CF, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

8 for 27 (.296), 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K

The Missions bookended a five-game losing streak with a pair of wins, but it’d be difficult to pin their struggles on either Nick Schulz or Franmil Reyes.  Both outfielders had great weeks (with Reyes going 8 for 29 with four doubles and a homer), and Schulz still leads the Texas League with a .671 slugging percentage and a 1.105 OPS (in 96 plate appearances).  He’s 25-years-old and completely lacking in prospect hype, and the roster for El Paso, despite lacking in MLB-ready talent is still pretty full, so I’d imagine Schulz gets a chance to do some heavy damage to Texas League pitching for most, if not all of the year.

 

Adam Cimber – RP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

4.1 IP, 0 BB, 1 H, 5 K

A 9th Round pick in the MLB Draft way back in 2013, Adam Cimber might be better known for his high socks and interesting windup than his talent, which is a shame.  While he struggled in a four inning stint with El Paso last year, he has already had some pretty good seasons for the Missions dating back to 2015 and 2016.  This year, he has picked up steam after a pair of rough outings.  I had a fun interview with him last year (though it got a little uncomfortable when I asked why he wasn’t striking out as many people), but he seems to have taken that to heart, as he has 11 K’s in 12 innings this year, after having 31 in 57.1 innings last year.

 

Dinelson Lamet – SP, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)

7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

If you read last week’s inaugural Weekly Prospect Spotlight, you might’ve noticed that I avoided repeating any guys on this edition… until now.  Yes, Dinelson Lamet was that good (as another scoreless outing lowers his ERA to 0.45 in the Pacific Coast League of all places), but the truth of the matter may be that the rest of the Chihuahuas aren’t that interesting.  Cory Spangenberg was raking for a bit, but he is neither a prospect nor with the team anymore (he was called up to San Diego this week).  Franchy Cordero was solid with a pair of triples, but nothing that exciting.  And Jamie Romak has been tearing the cover off the ball, but like Spangy, isn’t a prospect, but instead a veteran of 27 MLB games.  Lamet and former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Matt Magill seem to be the only El Paso starting pitchers that are performing well right now, and you have to think that if Lamet doesn’t get hurt, he’s probably close to proving that he’s MLB-ready, even if it doesn’t happen until closer to the end of the season.

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