Welcome to the annual series that provides both a review of your favorite teams’ 2016 season, as well as a early look toward 2017. It also serves as a helpful guide for keeper and dynasty leagues.
The Graduate: Ryan Schimpf (2B): Schimpf, 28, spent parts of eight years riding buses in the minors before earning a shot from the Padres in 2016. A life-long Blue Jays prospect until this year, he’s now hit 34 home runs on the year between triple-A and the Majors and is just one homer shy of 20 at the big league level through 74 games. I predicted Schimpf could handle a bit league utility role way back in 2014 and he’s proving that my estimates were conservative. That kind of pop will no doubt earn him another shot at a starting gig in 2017 even if he continues to strike out a lot (30% of the time) and hit just .229 (His OPS is still above .900). Schimpf has tapered off a bit in September but it’s also the first time in his career that he’s played well into the month.
The Riser: Chris Paddack (RHP): One of the key returns from Miami in the Fernando Rodney deal in June, Paddack made just three starts for the Padres before blowing out his arm and requiring Tommy John surgery. A little-known eighth round draft pick from 2015, the right-hander wowed prospect watchers with a 71-5 K-BB rate (just 42.1 innings) in low-A before he got hurt. Paddack works in the low-90s but it’s the nasty changeup that’s caught young hitters unaware.The above-average control for a 20 year old also helped. A lot can go wrong between now and his potential big league debut but Paddack currently projects as a solid No. 3/4 starter who could fill out (He’s 6-4, 195 pounds) and develop into even more.
The Tumbler: Javier Guerra (SS): One of the key acquisitions in the Craig Kimbrel deal with Boston last year, Guerra had a positively brutal debut year with the Padres. Playing in high-A ball in a hitter’s league, the young shortstop hit just .202 and struck out 141 times in 105 games (32.7% of the time). The good news is that Guerra is just 20 years old (soon to be 21) so time is on his side… and there is also some middle infield depth in the system which limits the pressure. Even if the bat doesn’t improve much, the Panama native might make the Majors on his defensive skills alone. He projects to be a well-above average defender with a very strong arm.
The ’16 Draft Pick: Cal Quantrill (RHP): The son of long-time reliever Paul Quantrill, the right-handed pitcher turned down pro ball after high school for a shot at playing for Stanford University. During that time, though, he underwent Tommy John surgery which almost derailed his hopes of being selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. The Canadian hurler rebounded well, though, and ended up going eighth overall due to his advanced four-pitch mix. He had some mixed results in pro ball while playing at three levels but Quantril could move quickly and has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter.
The Lottery Ticket: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS): Speaking of sons of former big leaguers, we now land on Tatis Jr. The Padres threw a fair bit of cash at the young shortstop during the 2015 international free agent signing period — and his first taste of pro ball was a success. Playing at two short-season levels, he hit.273 while displaying raw power potential with 24 of his 60 hits going for extra bases (including 17 doubles). He also swiped 15 bases in 18 tries. His biggest need at the plate is to tighten up his approach after striking out 57 times and taking just 13 free passes. His defence is likely not strong enough to remain at shortstop much longer and he spent a little time at both second and third bases during his debut season. The hot corner is likely where he’ll land if he stays in the infield.
For reference sake, here is the 2015 Review.
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