Lake Elsinore Storm (San Diego Padres)
Another baseball season is upon us and I’m excited that I get to cover the Cal League again! Eight teams from the AL and NL West battling it out for the Championship in September. There a lot of fresh faces in the league and many top prospects. None more exciting than the San Diego Padres who promoted two of their top prospects straight out of Spring Training. Chris Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr. are young and exciting to watch and are already making a huge impact on the major league club.
Even with the promotion of these two guys, the Padres farm system is still stacked. I could write about a lot of different players, but in this article, I’m going to focus on their top two pitching prospects: MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino.
MacKenzie Gore – Gore pitched Opening Night in Lake Elsinore and I had the pleasure of being there in person. There’s nothing better than Opening Night with your #1 pitcher on the mound and Gore did not disappoint. He allowed only two hits and one walk while compiling seven strikeouts in just five innings to earn his second win of the season.
In his next start, Gore went one-two-three in five of his six innings of work. His final line was six innings, (his longest appearance of the season), and he yielded just three hits and two runs as well as striking out three batters. Unfortunately, the Storm couldn’t get him any run support and he got a no decision.
In three starts, his numbers are solid. If you plan on seeing him the Cal League, you better go see him now. I expect he’ll move up to AA by mid-season.
Luis Patino – Unlike his friend and fellow prospect MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patiño is off to a rocky start in Lake Elsinore. After seeing Gore have success with a high leg kick, Patiño has adopted a higher leg kick this year. It’s unclear if this could be a reason for his struggles. In his first start against Inland Empire, he pitched five innings allowing four hits, one run, and three walks while striking out seven to get the win.
In his second start of the season, Patiño was only able to get through three innings of work, throwing 65 pitches (37 strikes), but he did shutdown the opposing offense as he yielded only one earned-run while striking out four batters.
Patiño’s third start was rough. He struggled with his control and had to leave the game after only one inning of work (39 pitches). He only faced 8 batters, gave up one hit and walked four, including 2 bases loaded walks. He gave up four runs, three of them earned.
Even though he’s had two short outings, I’m not worried about Patiño yet. He’s young and learning and I’m confident he’ll figure it out soon. There’s no need to give up on him.
Stay tuned for more articles covering the other teams in the Cal League!