Chris Paddack is the best pitcher in baseball
The above statement is an opinion, and it doesn’t really align with WAR, but allow me to make my case:
- Chris Paddack’s 1.55 ERA is the 2nd best in MLB among qualified pitchers.
- Chris Paddack’s 0.69 WHIP is the best in MLB among qualified pitchers and significantly ahead of any other pitcher (#2 is Caleb Smith with a 0.83 WHIP).
- Paddack is 20th in strikeouts and 26th in K/9.
- Paddack is 25th in BB/9.
- 57% of Paddack’s starts have resulted in a Quality Start, tied for 22nd in the league.
- Paddack is 15th in K/BB.
- Paddack is 6th in HR/9.
To summarize, Paddack strikes out a lot of guys, walks almost nobody, almost never gives up hits, and somehow (as a rookie) avoids mistakes that can be turned into home runs.
He also came through with nearly 8 innings of pitching last night when he knew the bullpen needed a rest. That’s what aces do.
I might be willing to admit that he’s not the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s definitely in the top 2 or 3 so far this year, and he out-dueled the 2018 Cy Young Award winner last night at Petco Park. That’s a hell of a way to start your career. It’s amazing to think that he has a higher ceiling than this.
Chris Paddack walks it like he talks it. #FriarFaithful pic.twitter.com/oTlZdLzKoD— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 7, 2019
I’m still celebrating Sunday’s walk-off grand slam from Hunter Renfroe, but he’s moved on to hitting other dingers.
Back on the Hunt. #FriarFaithful pic.twitter.com/lvjbrVsD9H— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 7, 2019
Renfroe is on pace for the most games-played and plate appearances in his career, and he’s posting the highest OPS of his young career as well (.877). He’s doing it all while not really changing who he is as a hitter, meaning he still doesn’t walk or hit for average. Renfroe is basically a boom-or-bust hitter, but that can be very useful if positioned correctly in your lineup.
Let’s talk about Hosmer
For as much as I ripped Eric Hosmer last season and early this season, he deserves a ton of credit for turning himself around.
Not only is he improving his launch angle and power numbers, by lowering his hands he’s hitting more line drives and he’s hitting everything hard.
Even after a late surge, he finished April with a slightly-below-average OPS of .744. But his .923 OPS through a week of May is a great sign that he may have found a long-term fix for his swing instead of just getting hot.
Hosmer had another 2-4 night at Petco Park last night, driving in 2 runs and scoring a run himself. If this is the hitter he’s going to be, that contract will start looking a lot better for San Diego.