The San Diego Padres’ 2013 season has been the tale of two teams. Sure, their overall record of 9-15 doesn’t speak well. However, nine of those wins have come in sweeps of division rivals San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That being said, the 2013 outlook looks bleak for the major league club. The Padres’ farm system, however, comes in as the sixth best according to Keith Law.
So, exactly how are the Padres’ best prospects doing on the farm?
Though he has yet to appear in an actual game, Erlin was holding his own in the AAA Pacific Coast League this year, earning a 2-0 record in three starts. His 4.72 ERA leaves something to be desired, but his confidence and demeanor on the mound showed the front office he was ready for The Show.
So far, it looks like the Padres will prefer Erlin to stay in a long relief role to get some innings and experience. However, he still didn’t enter Saturday night’s 12-inning game.
Wisler has been a pleasant surprise this 2013 season. In four starts, he has an impressive 1.35 ERA and has yet to lose a game. Equally as amazing is the fact he’s struck out 19 batters in 20 innings, nearly a 9 K/9 rating.
He has a mid-90s fastball and fairly decent secondary pitches. Padre fans could expect to see Wisler brought up as soon as next year.
Fried is among the Padres’ top prospects and has had a great 2013 so far. In four starts he has a modest 3.79 ERA, but has missed a ton of bats. Through 19 innings, he sports a 10.4 K/9. PadresProspects.com states, “Fried possesses all the tools necessary to be a true number one starter on a contending team.”
We should see Fried sometime in the 2015 season as long as his development goes according to plan. However, if his 2013 season impresses the scouts and front office, we could see him towards the end of the 2014 season, depending on the Padres' status of course.
Ross is yet another Padres pitcher who has been tearing up the minor leagues. In four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA, a WHIP under 1.00 and an even 8 K/9. Sick of seeing Volquez and Richard get lit up? Well, there’s some optimism on the horizon.
Ross has an excellent fastball; unfortunately, he seems to rely on it too heavily. This year he’s been working on his arsenal and building consistent secondary pitches. He still needs a few more years of development, but expect to see him in 2015 or 2016.
Hedges is arguably the Padres’ current top prospect. The 20-year-old catcher needs more development and fundamental work before arriving in the MLB. In High-A Lake Elsinore, Hedges has only a .217 batting average with one home run.
He needs to hit better in order to move up through the minor leagues and be MLB-ready by his projected 2015 date.
Sampson may be the closest to joining the Padres out of anyone on this list. He currently starts on the AAA PCL team. However, he has yet to impress in 2013. In four starts he has a lackluster 8.03 ERA and 2.35 WHIP. Worse yet, his 12 walks hint at control issues and his wildness has been a problem in the past.
Depending on the Padres' needs and how well he performs, he could join the team towards the end of this season. However, it’s more likely we don’t see him until 2014 and he could potentially be leapfrogged by other prospects.
Through 19 games in High-A, Spangenberg hasn’t shown plate discipline or promise. He’s yielding 22 strikeouts compared to only nine walks, all while maintaining a .269 batting average. He also hasn’t demonstrated any power: no home runs and only eight RBI.
However, Spangenberg isn’t necessarily known for his power. His speed is clearly evident: he's already stolen 11 bases and has only been caught once.
Casey Kelly (out for the year)
Rymer Liriano (out for the year)
All statistics taken from Baseball-Reference.com