Unfortunately everyone in the baseball world has been talking about the Padres being the only team in the history of the game to have not thrown a no hitter. It now stands at 8,022 games. The team has a ton of young talent both at the big league level and in the minors. That poses the question, who has the best chance of breaking that curse?
#1 Chris Paddack
This is the obvious one I would think. For the most part, Paddack has made major league hitters look downright silly. He’s given up more than 4 hits just once, and that was his last start against the Dodgers. It was 5. And over half were after a silly error. In 8 starts, he’s walked more than 1 hitter just 1 time. He’s ranked #1 in the NL averaging just 4.5 hits per 9IP. Point? The guy is a walking no hit threat. He’s just an elite pitcher period. We should be on high alert because for all the criticism Andy Green gets, he’s no Preston Gomez (hopefully).
#2 Mackenzie Gore
Look, we get that he’s just in high A ball. But the reality is this kid is legit. The 20 year old former 1st round pick has been lights out this year. His 2018 didn’t look great on the surface, but it was largely growing pains for the talented lefty. In 8 starts with the Lake Elsinore Storm, he had a 1.07 ERA. In 42 innings in 2019 he’s given up 22 hits. An unreal 4.7 hit per 9IP. Translation? He’s really good. He’ll get promoted in the next month or 2, so it’s likely we see him in 2020. It’s hard to keep someone like him down long.
#3 Matt Strahm
Over his career, Strahm has a 1.16 WHIP. He doesn’t have an issue with walks, in fact he’s a strike thrower. This can be good and bad. He’s averaging about 10 strikeouts per 9 IP as well. He’s actually been fairly unlucky this year with a BABIP (batting average of balls hit in play) of .313. For context, it was .228 last year. He gives up line drives 25% of the time. The reality is Strahm is one of those pitchers who can be elite when he’s on. He’s someone to keep your eye one.
#4 Joey Lucchesi
The big issue surrounding Lucchesi is his tendency to throw a lot of pitches. He’s a nibbler that puts himself in tough situations fairly often. From a ‘stuff’ stand point he has all the tools you’d want in a pitcher. The problem is he only throws a strike on 55% of 1st pitches, which plays a big role in the .310 BABIP throughout his short career. If he can get ahead in counts it will put him in a much better position to no hit a club. In fact, when he’s ahead the opponents batting average drops to .235. That’s a tremendous difference. If he can become consistent throwing strikes early in counts, watch out for this one.
#5 Michel Baez
#5 was really challenging, but we landed on Michel Baez. Baez has yet to pitch in a game this season, but he’s still the most likely no hit candidate past the 4 we’ve listed. The 6’8 23 year old is still at least a year or so away from the big leagues. He certainly has the stuff to throw a no no at any given time. At this point, he’s a victim of his own control problems. In AA San Antonio he walked 6 batter per 9 innings pitched while striking out 10.3. He has elite stuff, but has to find a way to control himself. Regardless, we’ve seen plenty of effectively wild no hitters against the Padres (Bud Smith and Aj Burnett to name a few) so who’s to say Baez and his elite stuff can’t be the next?
There’s plenty of others we can name here. At the end of the day, the first one will be the best one for Padre fans everywhere.
Let’s hear your thoughts Gaslamp ballers!