A look at a Padres prospect or two from each level of the system that had a noteworthy week. Yes, Michael Gettys striking out 10 times in six games and The San Antonio Missions being just a game out of first place is interesting, but these are a few of the guys that have really impressed the past calendar week. Oh, and Franchy Cordero raised his batting average to .250, so I don’t have to just point out his slugging percentage is great and that he should be loved by all.
Brad Zunica – 1B/DH, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)
2 for 12 (.167), 2 HR, 4 BB, 7 K, 3 RBI, 3 R
If you are a Ryan Schimpf fan, let me introduce you to Brad Zunica. Zunica has a dozen hits on the year – half were home runs and four were doubles, leaving just two that were singles. The dude’s ISO is through the roof. Also, just like Schimpf, the dude can work walks and strikes out a bunch. Despite having just two hits this week, he sported a .375 OBP with four walks. On the year, he has a 24.1% walk rate, and a 41.8% strikeout rate. At 21-years-old, he has the power you want, and hopefully he has time to trim down that K rate.
Logan Allen – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)
6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K
Have you ever played Tetris and organized the blocks so you were just waiting for that long skinny one to put down the side and get rid of a bunch of lines for you? Did I explain that right? Well, even though it’s still super early in the season to talk about promotions, Logan Allen doesn’t seem to be sweating much in Single-A. Sure, they’ve been going easy on him (his six innings last Wednesday was his longest outing of the young season), but he’s allowed 1 run or fewer in four out of his five starts, and opponents are hitting just .146 against him. There’s no chance that Joey Lucchesi, Cal Quantrill, and Eric Lauer all stay in Lake Elsinore the whole season, and as soon as a spot opens up, Allen will slide into a spot in High-A. Like that one kind of Tetris block that’s… eh, nevermind.
Eric Lauer – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)
7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K
When Eric Lauer was taken in the first round by San Diego, most of what I read about him was that he was a low-ceiling, high-floor kind of guy. Of the “Big Three” in Lake Elsinore, he lacks the pedigree of Quantrill or the electricity of Lucchesi, but don’t sleep on him. He had the best outing of the three last week, and his K rate isn’t too far behind the other guys (who both have a 11.2% K rate, compared to Lauer’s 10.8%). It’s hard to imagine not doing a Weekly Report not involving any of the Big Three (please help, we need a better name than that for these guys), and this week is no exception.
TJ Weir – RP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)
6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 11 K
It’s not all about the starting pitching in Lake Elsinore, either. TJ Weir started the season in San Antonio, but for whatever reason (he threw four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit), he is back in Lake Elsinore right now. The 25-year-old should be dominating High-A, and he is. 11 K’s in six innings is pretty obscene, along with just a few measly hits. I’m not sure what he’s doing with the Storm, but chances are he doesn’t stay there for long.
Luis Urías – 2B/SS, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)
9 for 23 (.391), 1 2B, 8 BB, 3 K, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB
Just like it’s hard to imagine not doing a post about one of Quantrill/Lucchesi/Lauer, it’s hard to imagine having anyone being featured more than Luis Urías. He is unquestionably the most interesting position player in the system, with a bat-to-ball skill that is among the best in his league. After winning the California League MVP last year, he is tearing up the Texas League, and pitchers are starting to take notice. In watching almost every game last week, every time Urías stepped to the plate with runners on, the pitchers seemed to be shaking in their boots (yes, that’s what pitchers wear in the Texas League). He managed to work eight walks, which, combined with his nine hits, means he had a .548 OBP for the week. Fortunately, Franmil Reyes and Nick Schulz are making them pay (they’ve combined for 15 RBI during the Missions latest 7-1 run), so hopefully pitchers will see they can’t pitch around him completely and are forced to let him hit. Note: Not all of those walks were of the “intentional-ish” variety, the kid has a great eye for the zone.
Nick Torres – OF, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)
10 for 29 (.345), 3 2B, 2 BB, 3 K, 4 RBI, 6 R, 1 SB
I really thought Nick Torres was going to start the season in El Paso, but the Cal Poly SLO alum begins his fourth year in the Padres system back where he started in 2016 (despite finishing the year in Triple-A with a .308/.343/.508 hitting line). He’s gotten off to a slow start and has been out-produced by Schulz and Reyes, but he seems to have awakened from his slumber this week.
Brett Kennedy – SP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)
13.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 9 K
While not the same caliber/hype as Lauer-Chesi-Trill (nevermind, I just found their new nickname that will totally stick) in Lake Elsinore, Brett Kennedy and staff-mates Kyle Lloyd and Michael Kelly have been producing solid starts for San Antonio. The three combined for 37.2 innings last week, allowing just 6 earned runs and notching 31 K’s. Kennedy’s star shined a little brighter, however, as both of his appearances were of the scoreless variety. With a dearth of interesting starting pitching in El Paso (besides Dinelson Lamet and Walker Lockett), I’d like to see these homegrown guys get a chance in Triple-A at some point in the near future.
Phil Maton – RP, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)
3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K
More love for the relievers. I was one of the few who included Phil Maton in my Top 20 Prospect list this past offseason, but the 6’3” righty with a wipeout slider seems like he could fit pretty easily into the Padres bullpen right now. While he hasn’t been stellar by any stretch (five earned runs in 12.0 innings), he certainly has the stuff and the spin rate to make things interesting
Franchy Cordero – CF, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)
10 for 29 (.345), 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 BB, 7 K, 6 RBI, 4 R, 1 SB
If you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been laying it on pretty thick about my love for Franchy Cordero, irrational or not. I had the chance to interview him last summer and found him to be a solid guy, and I’d really love to see all the hype that Jason Parks threw at him a few years ago finally pay off. He’s moved from short to center and doing so seems to have improved his approach at the plate. Sure, this week he was buoyed by a 5 for 5 game, but he’s slowly putting it together. It’s not easy being one of the younger guys on the squad and be asked to lead things off every game (just ask Manuel Margot), but he’s already improved so much since he was struggling in Lake Elsinore that he’s an easy guy to root for. The power is free and easy with him, and the hope is, like many others in the Padres organization, that he can cut down on the strikeouts (currently K’ing at a 31% rate, coupled with a 8% BB rate) and keep that slugging percentage high (currently at .491). He and Carlos Asuaje are the most interesting bats in El Paso.