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Baseball Is About to Fall in Love With San Diego’s Chris Paddack

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Flame throwing Texan brings a Kevin Brown type intensity

AP

Michael Baumann of the ringer penned a great article this morning about Chris Paddack.

Paddacks attitude on the mound is exactly what the Padres need in an ace. He’s young and will certainly have speed bumps, but the buzz surrounding him is real. Jake Peavy was the most recent example of a Padres starter with a bulldog mentality. He didn’t quite show up in big games, though. Will Paddack be different? Time will tell, but he’s off to a heck of a start.

Here’s a few highlights from the story.

Paddack pitches off a mid-90s fastball that has great rise and arm-side movement, providing the perfect counterpoint to his curveball. The difference between the two pitches, on average, is about 20 miles per hour, nine and a half inches of horizontal break, and 20 inches of vertical break. Hitters simply can’t be expected to cover that much real estate on a given pitch, particularly with that great a speed differential. Small wonder that even a hitter like Robinson Canó, who’s seen just about everything in his 15-year career, could offer only a token poke in self-defense of Paddack’s curveball.

Whether due to population size, baseball-friendly weather, or there just being something in the water, the Lone Star State counts power pitchers as one of its greatest exports. The two most famous examples, Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, are first and third on the all-time strikeout list with more than 10,000 K’s between them. Active pitchers from Dallas-area high schools alone have combined for six Cy Young Awards (three for Kershaw, two for Corey Kluber, one for Jake Arrietta), and Noah Syndergaard could one day push that number to seven or more. The hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball, Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks, is from Houston, and the top pitching prospect in baseball, Forrest Whitley, is from outside of San Antonio.