The Padres’ starting 5:
Eric Lauer, 23
Joey Lucchesi, 25
Nick Margevicius, 22
Chris Paddack, 23
Matt Strahm, 27
A year ago, 4 of them hadn’t debuted. The other, Strahm, was coming off knee surgery and bullpen-bound.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) March 28, 2019
There it is. Your starting rotation for your 2019 San Diego Padres. Young. That’s one word for it. “Exciting” is another word. Prospects1500 is not old, yet every one of these has been featured in a team Top 50 list, so let’s take a look at where they came from.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) March 24, 2019
We last saw Lauer when he was featured on the 2018 Padres Top 50 List as the team’s #8 prospect. You could argue that I was wrong back then when I said “He has a shot at reaching the bigs in 2018, but his real impact will likely begin in 2019.” His 112 innings pretty impactful. 2019 though is shaping up to be something bigger. Named the Opening Day starter for the Padres after giving up 0 runs in Spring Training, Lauer just went 6 innings, gave up 0 runs and only walked 1. It’s a great start to the season, and he’s not even the most exciting pitcher in the rotation.
Lucchesi appeared in that same 2018 list as the #5 Padres prospect. His 2018 was similar to Lauer’s but a little bit stronger, pitching more innings, posting a lower ERA and recording more wins. He had a strong Spring Training which easily cemented his place in the rotation.
Just announced today, Margevicius will start Saturday’s game against the Giants. Nick seemingly came out of nowhere, but was listed on both the Mid-Season 2018 Top 50 Padres Prospect List (#42) and the 2019 Top 50 Padres Prospect List (#39). Outlets everywhere are reporting that Nick “has never pitched above High-A”, but Margevicius did start for the Double-A San Antonio Missions in playoff game last season, where he only gave up one run in 7 innings.
Easily the most exciting pticher in the Padres rotation is Chris Paddack. He’s been all over my Top 50 lists, most recently landing at #5 on the 2019 list. “The Sheriff” had a very strong spring only giving up 3 earned runs and walking 2 in 12.2 innings. From a Fantasy Baseball pick he’ll be a great addition for late drafting teams, but do not trust the ADP (Average Draft Position) when you’re trying to assess when you need to pull the trigger, as it is skewed due to the fact that it was unclear whether or not he’d start the season in the big leagues. People are excited about him. They’re going to snatch him up ahead of you if you’re not careful.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) March 26, 2019
I never wrote anything about Matt Strahm. That was not an oversight. He simply wasn’t a Padre. In 2017 though KC Shankland listed him as the Kansas City Royals #1 prospect. Strahm’s first setback was a demotion to the bullpen. Then a torn patellar tendon in his left knee disrupted Strahm’s 2017 season and ultimately he was traded to the Padres. Since arriving though Strahm has been incredibly effective, re-establishing himself as a start and pitching to a 2.05 ERA in 61.1 innings.
Paddack and Margevicius are not the only Padres prospects with surprisingly early 2019 debuts. That’s right, your 2019 Padres #1 prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr. is on the scene. To their credit, service time manipulation is not a game that the Padres are willing to play with Tatis. In his debut Tatis went 2-for-3 with two singles.
Also worth noting, fireballers Robert Stock and Trey Wingenter who both asserted themselves in 2018 made the team as members of the bullpen. That is not surprising at all, but it’s nice to see it stick officially.
Padres fans have tons to be excited about in 2019 and 202 should be even better. A. J. Preller pieces are falling into place and the young talent in the organization is arriving. The roster is filled with recent top prospects and the farm is still full of others on their way up.
Eric Killian is an Army Officer who covers the San Diego Padres for Prospects1500. He is a longtime baseball fan and collector whose collecting inspired him to learn all he can about up-and-coming players. He recently relocated from Sierra Vista, AZ., to El Paso, TX. Follow him on Twitter @USKillian