With Chris Paddack scheduled to make his major-league debut today vs. the San Francisco Giants, one of the most anticipated debuts in recent history for a San Diego Padres pitcher, it’s time to get to know the big right-hander.
The Padres acquired Paddack in a 2016 trade with the Miami Marlins, sending away closer Fernando Rodney in exchange for a 20-year old A-level pitcher. In his third start in the Padres’ organization, Paddack injured himself and missed the entire 2017 season after Tommy John surgery.
He blasted back onto the radar of Padres fans when he returned in 2018, posting a 2.24 ERA and a ridiculous 14.27 K/9 rate in 10 starts at Lake Elsinore (A+) before getting sent to San Antonio (AA), where he posted a 1.91 ERA in 7 starts.
Padres fans were in love with the fast-rising prospect, and not just because Paddack looked like an ace on the hill. He looked like one off of it too, never shying away from showing off his Texan style.
HAPPY OFFICIAL PADDACK DAY pic.twitter.com/zDyHppgsaW— Giannis AuntiegotaMACHADO (@TooMuchMortons) March 31, 2019
Paddack is a 6’4” power pitcher with pinpoint control, relying heavily on a fastball-changeup combination. He has also added a curveball since returning from injury and seems to be getting more comfortable throwing it.
While he hasn’t pitched above the AA level, Paddack wasn’t shy about wanting the make the roster out of Spring Training this year when he talked with Darren Smith back on March 6th:
Listening to that, you’ll also notice that Paddack has already developed a strong relationship with Austin Hedges, who is likely going to be catching him in his first start on Sunday.
Paddack (23) has his sights set on being the ace of what might be the youngest rotation in baseball, following starts from Eric Lauer (23), Joey Lucchesi (25), and Nick Margevicius (22). Today, against a Giants’ offense that has had a hard time scoring runs so far this season, he’ll get his first chance.