Twitter Mailbag: The Next Big Thing

This is a good question, but it feels like a trap. There are like a million potential answers, but none of them jump right out. It feels like one of the countless recently signed/acquired international players is going to be the answer, but I’ll take a stab with Luis Campusano. Although he’s by no means a good defensive catcher yet, he at least has a shot to stick at the position, being just 18 and with enough tools to learn the trade. So far he’s already cracked three homers with nine walks in 12 games in the AZL, which doesn’t mean much, of course, but doesn’t hurt either. The power is the carrying tool here, and he might have enough of it to make him interesting even if he doesn’t turn into a good defensive backstop (or stick at the position altogether).

Yikes, that’s really close. It’s close enough where I’ll lean Luis Urias, just because he’s a position player. The concern there is probably just the ceiling, with the size and lack of punch potentially limiting the upside. But the dude makes enough good contact to hit .300-plus every year, he’s always young for his leagues, and he’s working on his fourth straight season of more walks than strikeouts. I’m interested to see what it looks like at the big-league level.

I know Quantrill got roughed up in the Futures Game, but I thought he looked pretty good. Those are good hitters he was facing, for one, but he was also hitting like 95 and I thought the change looked solid. Overall, his performance has been kind of uneven, but shoot, he’s averaging nearly a strikeout an inning with solid peripherals across the board, and he’s already reached Double-A. Not sure there’s obvious ace potential here, but there usually isn’t. Everyone needs solid mid-rotation guys.

But, yeah, gimme Urias by a nose.

Alright, best-case scenario, without getting too crazy: Dinelson Lamet is really good. I’m not even sure that is controversial, but I love Lamet. Wilson Karaman recently tabbed him as a fantasy sleeper over at Baseball Prospectus, noting stuff we’ve discussed here at times, like Lamet’s DRA, his whiff rate, and his improving changeup. Luis Perdomo has struggled of late, but there’s still something there. He’s improved his swing-and-miss numbers this year while posting a 63 percent groundball rate. He should still be in the rotation, barring good health (and good health is a best-case scenario lock). Matt Strahm should be there too, and it’ll be fun to check him out next year.

Then you’ve got the prospects, and by September of 2018, any number of Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, and Joey Lucchesi could (should, really) be in the rotation. They’re already getting their feet wet in Double-A, so even if they start at that level in 2018, there’s a good chance they hit Triple-A, if not the majors, at some point next season. Enyel De Los Santos has quietly had a good year at Double-A, as well, so he’s a logical contender. I’ll even throw out a Michel Baez mention, simply because the dude seems hellbent on jumping through each level on five or six starts.

In short, it could be really fun.

I’d give it through the rest of the year, at least. There’s always some question about what jump is the biggest one, but the one from High-A to Double-A is always up there. It’s going to take some players a while to adjust, whereas others might hit their stride right away. Sometimes that’s a warning sign, other times it’s just a development quirk.

On the plus side, Quantrill and Lucchesi are still pitching well, particularly Lucchesi. He’s still striking out seven per nine, not walking many, and he’s only allowed one home run in 30 2/3 innings. Maybe you worry a little about Lauer; the crazy good K rate in the Cal League was really an eye opener, but it’s nearly dropped in half so far in San Antonio. It’s certainly not unheard of for an advanced command/control guy like Lauer to beat up on younger, inexperienced hitters but struggle some as he climbs the latter.

In short, every little piece of new information should adjust your opinion a bit, but give it some time before hitting the panic button on any of the three.

His walk and power numbers are very similar to last year, but his strikeout rate is up over six percentage points, all the way to 30 percent. If you break it down further, he’s swinging at more pitches and missing more pitches compared to last season, which usually isn’t a good combination. Among qualified first baseman, that 30 percent strikeout rate is third-worst in the league, and everyone around him—guys like Joey Gallo, Mike Napoli, Eric Thames, and Cody Bellinger—is hitting for more power. The short answer is that Myers is whiffing too much and not showing enough pop on contact to make up for it. There’s probably a hot streak on the horizon, but the current state of his game is certainly cause for some concern.

Phew, a question where I don’t have to spend a half-hour pondering whether I can publish it here.

I wrote about this on Monday in some depth, so I’ll point you there. But, yeah, I think it’s pretty much over. I mean, the rest of this year could get rough, but there are a number of good, solid players on this team, so it’s hard to imagine it getting that bad. And, regardless of performance, if a team holds onto guys like Brad Hand and Jhoulys Chacin—and I’m not necessarily criticizing those decisions—let alone Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte, I’m not sure we can classify them as tankers. Next year, as my article gets into, I think you run into the problem of having too many important players on or around the big-league roster. It starts getting tough to tank when you’ve got a bunch of guys on the team you want (slash need) to play well.

Let me admit something here, Ghost—and this is my second pop culture strikeout in as many weeks. I’m not a huge The Simpsons fan. When I was younger, I’m pretty sure it aired before or after football games, and that’s mostly why I watched it. And, I mean, I watched it, and I liked it. Must have bought at least two The Simpsons video games over the years. But I never really got into much when I was older, where it would have been more appropriate. I would probably rate other adult-ey cartoons over the The Simpsons, like Family Guy, Ren & Stimpy, South Park, and even SpongeBob SquarePants. But, again, that’s mostly because I haven’t really watched much of the The Simpsons since I was like 10. (Sorry, I’ll show myself to the door now.)

I’ll be honest, it’s kind of hard to structure a reasonable opinion on twitter. That’s why I prefer taking a step back and putting my thoughts together in the form of an article, though that’s not fool-proof either. There are a ton of good opinions out there in Padres twitter, though, you’ve just got to sort of mentally adjust for the medium.

In the old days I would have said “you got me.” Luckily I can look this stuff up on the internet now.

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