Word of Dinelson Lamet’s return has been a tiny, resilient thread running through the narrative of the Padres 2019 season. Back in February, we heard he was “progressing nicely” from his 2018 Tommy John surgery, but optimism was tempered by recent organizational experiences with that notorious procedure (names like Anderson Espinosa and Corey Luebke seem to echo loudly in the minds of many Padres fans). When he was cleared for rehab appearances a month ago, initial excitement was somewhat abated by the stinky 8.00 ERA he posited in his first three outings for High-A Lake Elsinore. This was all before this week’s outing, however, when Dinselson took the mound for El Paso and sat down 8 opponents in just 5 innings.
About Dinelson Lamet— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) June 26, 2019
While his last 8 K start was his best of the year (all 8 featured below), I still worry about that command. The FB looked wild at times and while the breakers got better as the game progressed, I wouldnt be fooled by the 1 BB.
Curious to see his next start pic.twitter.com/FmMUSxeGBg
The skepticism of that Twitter user aside, it’s refreshing to see Lamet punching out hitters in a style reminiscent of his 2017 extended audition for the Padres. In case you’ve forgotten, the big right-hander struck out 10.94 per 9 that season—a truly absurd rate for any starting pitcher.
Looking forward, the Padres rotation still leans lefty heavy—especially after the transfer of Cal Quantrill to the bullpen. Lamet would add versatility to the rotation right away, and would add another “true” power pitcher to pair alongside Chris Paddack. If nothing else, he could shuttle to the pen later in 2019 and become a valuable middle relief option for a beleaguered Padres relief corps.
AJ Cassavell indicates that we should expect Lamet at Petco before the All-Star Break’s arrival.