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San Diego Padres Top Pitching Prospects | Touch’em All 2012

We took a look at San Diego’s top hitting prospects, it’s now time to look at who the Padres will expect to take the mound in the future. A lot of opportunities exist for these youngsters as the major league club has had a rash of injuries. But as you’ll read that bug has also hit the minor league system as well. Before we hit the road and motor west through the system. Tucson, San Antonio, Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne. I wouldn’t be doing my job of informing the Friar Faithful if I didn’t mention the resent draft signing of Max Fried. The lefty out of Harvard-Westlake High finished the season with an 8-2 record, 2.02 ERA and 105 strikeouts with 29 walks in 66 innings. We’ll see if  the $3 million bonus turns out to be a steal or bust. Reports are that he won’t see much time in the Padres minor league system until late winter or spring. Baseball Instinct will of course keep you posted on his progress. Until then let’s hit the road.

AAA Tucson Padres

Casey Kelly – RHP – Age 22 – Kelly was one of the keys to the Adrian Gonzalez deal with Boston last season. One of the few players still around in that trade with Anthony Rizzo quickly shipped off to the North Side of Chicago. In two starts with the Padres he was impressive. 14 strikeouts in 12 innings and no walks. So you’re thinking to yourself, hey it’s June why has he only pitched 12 innings? Unfortunately, Casey Kelly suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow back in April. After rest followed by a lengthy rehab he may be shut down for the rest of 2012 when a nerve flared up near the strained ligament according to The Sarasota Herald Tribune. He had been fairly injury free for his minor league career but hasn’t reached his potential. We will follow his progress and development as he is being counted on to take the mound for the big club in the near future.

Brad Boxberger – RHP – Age 24 – Boxberger was acquired along with Yasmani Grandal and Edinson Volquez from the Cincinnati Reds for Mat Latos late last year. This season at Tucson he has racked up some roller coaster stats in the bullpen. His 4.70 ERA stands out appearing in 23 innings but on the plus side he has 35 strike outs. But 15 walks. With the injuries piling up with the big league Padres Brad has been called-up for duty in the San Diego bullpen. Impressive in his two trips to the mound, Boxberger struck out 3 and walked 2 allowing one hit. We will see how his major league stint goes. His role as middle reliever has been solid thus far but it’s expected he’ll move to handle later innings.

Joe Wieland – RHP – Age 22 – On the DL since May 10 with a strained elbow injury, Wieland was acquired last July from the Texas Rangers along with Robbie Erlin for reliever Mike Adams. While reports from trainers and coaches is positive he is now throwing on flat ground and is a week or two away from increasing his workload. Joe Wieland had an 0-4 record, 4.55 ERA after 5 starts with the big league Padres prior to the injury but had chalked up 24 strike-outs in 27 innings.

Cory Burns – RHP – Age 24 – Cody Burns was the Cleveland Indian’s ninth round pick of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft. So how did he become a Padre? San Diego acquired him for outfielder Aaron Cunningham last December. Burns went to The University of Arizona in Tucson so at least he knows the neighborhood he’s inhabiting  while making the case to get a call to the show. So far this season for the minor league Padres he’s made a good case. Burns has a 1-2 record, 3.73 ERA appearing in 33 games all relief. 50 strikeouts in 41 innings should open a few eyes especially after the next bullpen meltdown occurs. That could happen any minute now. I would guess baring injury and with the injuries piling up in San Diego Cory Burns could see action at Petco Park sometime this summer.

AA San Antonio Missions

Robbie Erlin – LHP – Age 21 – We mentioned earlier the deal last July that shipped Mike Adams to Texas for Wieland and Erlin and the lefty so far seems to living up to or over delivering on expectations. So far at San Antonio he has been very good in 7 starts. I would say outstanding but I don’t want to give the young lad a big head. In 33 and 2/3 innings he has a 2.37 ERA with 45 strike outs and only 10 walks. The only knock would be the 38 hits. But with everything else that is acceptable. Barring any set backs he could be moved up the chain to see how he handles AAA this season. Based on his age and the Padres history of bringing up pitchers slowly you might see Erlin in San Diego within 2-3 years.

Keyvius Sampson (PHOTO by madfriars.com)

Keyvius Sampson – RHP – Age 21 - We liked what we saw with Sampson and ranked him #8 on San Diego Padres 2012 Top 10 Prospect list, and then followed it up by ranking him # 97° on our Baseball Instinct 360° Top Prospect list for 2012. He has struggled thus far with San Antonio, 5.99 ERA, 64 strikeouts and 40 walks in 67 innings pitched. He’s an excellent talent with a lot going for him. And shows he’s got a lot of work to do in order to reach his ceiling.

Juan Oramas – LHP – Age 22 - Two years ago at Lake Elsinore he came close to pitching a perfect game. This year with San Antonio has not been as kind. Before an elbow strain landed him on the disabled list Oramas, went 3-4 with a 6.37 ERA in eight starts. 33 strikeouts in 35 innings was a good sign though since we must look for a silver lining since he had Tommy John Surgery last week. We’ll monitor his treatment and evaluate his rehab as the season winds down.

High-A Lake Elsinore Storm

Donn Roach – RHP – Age 22 – Age 22 – Roach became a Padre in a deal along with Alexi Amarista that sent Ernesto Frieri to close out games for the Angels. He’s shown some exceptional stats this season. Combined with his time spent with Inland Empire, Roach has gone 10-1, 1.94 ERA in 13 starts. 73 strikeouts and 14 walks in 88 innings isn’t bad either.

Chris Haney – RHPAge 23 -San Diego’s 20th round pick of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Dallas, Texas. He’s hopped around this season but has shown his best form at High-A. His overall record for 4 teams this season is 0-2, 5.79 ERA, 24 strikeouts, 8 Walks in 13 appearances, 21 innings total.

Kevin Quackenbush – RHP – Age 23 - Padres eighth round pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft from the University of South Florida. Quackenbush is looking like a future closer for the Padres so far in Lake Elsinore. 1-1 Record, 13 Saves, 0.91 ERA, 33 strikeouts and 14 walks in 29 2/3 innings.

Low-A Fort Wayne Tin Caps

Joe Ross – RHP – Age 19 - The 25th overall pick of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft has had landed on the DL like many others in the organization. Ross had a 0-2 record, 6.26 ERA, 27 strikeouts, 27 innings pitched before being shut down with a leg injury.

John Barbato – RHP – Age 19 - San Diego Padres 6th-round pick of the 2010 MLB Draft. He currently has a 4-0 record with an ERA of 2.37 with the Tin Caps. He’s a right-handed reliever with 36 strikeouts, 12 walks in 30 1/3 innings pitched.

Adys Portillo – RHP – Age 20 - Portillo was signed by Padres as a non-drafted free agent in 2008. Scouts rate his fastball as tops in the San Diego farm system. So far this year he has a 4-4 record, in 13 starts and a 1.92 ERA. 62 strikeouts with 29 walks in 65 2/3 innings pitched.

Cody Hebner – RHP – Age 21 - Hebner was the Padres 4th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft. He has 4-4 record and a 4.03 ERA at this point in the season with Fort Wayne. In 13 starts he has amassed 69 strikeouts with 20 walks in 67 innings.

Matthew Stites – RHP – Age 22 - Stites has a 1-0 record, 0.89 ERA with 5 saves in 17 appearances so far in 2012. The in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft has notched 27 strikeouts and 0, that’s right no walks in his 20 1/3 innings pitched.

Short Season and Rookie Level is now underway and we will be updating you shortly on the progress of those pitchers.  Thanks for checking us out.

Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon for more Prospect coverage. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our top 360 prospects for 2012. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com.


I was born in Maine and now live in San Diego, California. Such a deal!

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