This season, Padres fans have seen the likes of Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, Adam Cimber, Franmil Reyes, Javier Guerra, and Kazuhisa Makita make their Major League debuts. And with an incredibly deep farm system with layers of talent, these aforementioned players are certainly not the only ones who will break into the bigs this year.
With the parent club being 23-33, all eyes are on the future in San Diego. Who might be the next player(s) to make their MLB debut in 2018 in a Padres uniform?
Statistics through Monday, May 28
2B/SS Luis Urias
With the Padres’ struggles in terms of second base production so far in 2018, fans have already began clamoring for the 20-year-old’s arrival to the big leagues. There was some talk that he would make a debut in his home country of Mexico, but it did not happen. He has struggled at times in Triple-A, which is probably playing a role in San Diego delaying his big league arrival (at least for a few months).
The No. 36 overall prospect in baseball got off to a strong start in his first month of AAA action, slashing .307/.416/.440. He did have a brief slump in the month of May, but the Mexico native has hit .371 in his last 10 games to get things back on track. For the month he is hitting .265 with a .385 OBP.
It seems like a given that Padres fans will see Luis Urias this year. When, though, likely hinges on his performance with the Chihuahuas in the upcoming weeks.
RHP Robert Stock
Stock’s story is a good one. MiLB.com recently ran a great feature story on him. The right-hander was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2009 draft as a catcher before being asked to switch to pitcher in 2012. His path as a pitcher was not smooth, and his struggles found him playing in independent ball in 2016. He was, for all intents and purposes, off the radar of major league organizations.
With the help of his girlfriend and current fiance, though, Stock was recognized by the Reds in 2017 via a YouTube video. The right-hander put up a 2.98 ERA in 2017 with their AA affiliate and received an invite to Padres camp on a minors deal last November.
Robert’s stock (no pun intended) rose quite a bit within the Padres organization during spring training. The right-handed reliever showcased a high-90s heater and struck out more than a batter per inning in his nine spring appearances. Perhaps his finest moment of the spring was striking out All-Stars Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo back-to-back in a game against the Cubs.
The 28-year-old was eventually sent down to minor league camp and began his season in San Antonio, where he dominated AA hitters to the tune of a 2.00 ERA with 15 strikeouts in nine innings. On April 30, he was promoted to Triple-A El Paso, where he currently resides. Stock currently has allowed four runs in his eleven innings in the hitter-friendly PCL, striking out 14 and holding batters to a .162 BAA.
RHP Trey Wingenter
Wingenter vaulted up into the bullpen conversation last season, when he struck out an average of 12.08 batters per nine innings for Double-A San Antonio. The 6’7”, 200 pound Auburn alum features a fastball that can reach the high 90s as well as a slider that he has been working on throughout his time in the minor leagues.
Wingenter was said to have a chance to crack the bullpen mix out of spring, but he allowed six earned runs and walked six in four innings of spring training action. The right-hander has a career 3.03 ERA in the minor leagues and has allowed 10 earned runs in 22 2/3 innings in Triple-A so far this season. He is still striking out more than a batter per inning.
If Wingenter can find his command more consistently, the 24-year-old will find his way to Petco Park in 2018.
LHP Jose Castillo
Castillo first recieved national recognition during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, striking out superstars Christian Yelich and Nolan Arenado during Venezuela’s duel with the US team. The then-21 year old rode the WBC momentum to a 2.88 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 56 ⅓ minor league innings in 2017 (most of them for Single-A Lake Elsinore).
He was Rule V eligible this past winter, which meant that the Padres had to place him on the 40-man roster or risk the chance of losing him to a different organization. A.J. Preller & Co. decided to protect him, adding him to the 40-man.
Castillo began his 2018 season in Double-A San Antonio, where he struck out an impressive 25 batters in 16 innings pitched. On May 14, he was promoted to El Paso. In 6 ⅓ innings there, the 22-year-old has allowed one run and struck out six.
RHP Brett Kennedy
If there is one word that sums up Brett Kennedy’s professional career up to this point, it is this: consistent. The 23-year-old starter was drafted by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, receiving a $100k signing bonus. He began in Tri-City with the short-season Dust Devils and worked his way up, pitching in Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore in 2016 and putting up a 3.70 ERA in 26 starts last year in San Antonio.
Kennedy begin his 2018 taking yet another step up the ladder. Despite him being recently placed on the 7-day DL with an ankle ailment, the right-hander has had a strong start to his 2018 season in Triple-A El Paso. In seven starts for the Chihuahuas, Kennedy is 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA. He has a 38/13 K/BB ratio in 37 innings.
RHP Walker Lockett
Lockett was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the Padres and has been a mainstay in the organization ever since. If the name sounds familiar, Lockett started for the El Paso Chihuahuas in the Padres’ exhibition game this past March. The 24-year-old perhaps would have debuted in San Diego last year had a back injury not sidelined him for most of the campaign.
Like Castillo, Lockett is on the 40-man roster, which would make a potential promotion more manageable for the Padres. He has a career 4.14 minor league ERA in 88 games (72 starts), and is 2-5 with a 5.31 ERA in Triple-A El Paso this season.
SS Fernando Tatis Jr.
The No. 8 prospect in all of baseball got off to a very slow start in April, hitting a mere .177 with 34 strikeouts in 96 at-bats. A sickness that caused him to lose weight during the later weeks of spring training did not help much. Combine that with him still getting adjusted to advanced pitching, and you kind of understand the slow start by the talented 19-year-old.
In May, though, Tatis has exploded. He is slashing .339/.416/.642 with a 1.058 OPS in 109 at-bats. He has 19 extra base hits, including six home runs. Entering play on Tuesday, the shortstop is currently riding a six game extra base hit streak. He is still striking out at about a 30% clip, but the hope is he cuts down on the K’s as he continually gets situated to more advanced pitching.
Is it a possibility Tatis breaks through and becomes a September call up? Never say never. There is a possibility for September if he continues at his May pace, but the high strikeout rate (among other things) may keep him in the minors until 2019.
LHP Brad Wieck
Wieck, 26, was acquired by the Padres in 2015 from the New York Mets. He was converted to a reliever full-time in 2016. The 6’9”, 255 pound lefty has a power fastball but struggles with command at times. He currently is pitching with AA-San Antonio, where he has a 2.84 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched.
LHP Logan Allen
Acquired from the Padres as part of the Craig Kimbrel trade, LHP Logan Allen has taken a major step forward this season for AA-San Antonio. The recently-turned 21-year-old has a 10.44 K/9 rate, an ERA of 3.62, and is 6-2 in ten total starts. His stock continues to rise.
RHP Cal Quantrill
The Padres’ first round pick in 2016 had eyes on breaking into the majors with current big league starters Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi. However, Quantrill has had his struggles in AA. This season, he is 2-3 with 4.92 ERA. He has allowed 60 hits in 53 innings while striking out 46 hitters over that span.
What seemed like a certain 2018 debut for the 23-year-old does not seem so sure anymore. He is still in need of some minor league seasoning.
C Austin Allen
With Austin Hedges fighting an elbow injury, it only seems natural to sneak Allen, a catcher, onto this list. This is the 24-year-old’s first season playing above A-ball, but he is putting up impressive numbers with Double-A San Antonio. Playing in a league that is not all too hitter friendly, Allen is hitting .314 with an OPS just over .930. The former fourth round draft pick won the Texas League player of the month for an April in which he led the league in extra base hits, home runs, total bases, slugging percentage, and OPS.
The power numbers have cooled off in the month of May, where he has recorded five extra base hits and is hitting .264.