The talent in the San Diego farm system never ceases to amaze me. That extends from the established prospects to the top picks and even into the late rounds. Enter Ethan Skender, Padres’ 28th round pick from 2016.
It has been a long road for Skender, who played his first professional game this year. He underwent three years worth of surgeries and rehab just to get to the point where he could play baseball again. It is good to see him back on the field being able to do what he loves. There was no doubt some time where it likely seemed that wouldn’t happen. Skender, along with the Friar Faithful, are lucky that he stuck with it because he is fun to watch.
He is already up in Fort Wayne after originally being placed with the Arizona Padres 2 in the Rookie League. Skender needed 14 games, where he slashed .385/.441/.673, to be promoted to the TinCaps. He’s responded to the promotion with a .317/.396/.431 slash line and worth 144 wRC+.
There is a lot to like about Skender just in his stat line. I am not one to just scout stat lines, but I’m just saying. The TinCaps have Skender and Dwanya Williams-Sutton who are two of my favorite guys to watch in the Padres farm system.
As far as what has made Skender so successful, I have a hypothesis and it’s this tweet right here:
Skender seems to have taken that coaching to heart and it’s working. The numbers back that up. Here is a look at that swing in action thanks to Emily Waldon.
One of the biggest things for me is that Skender comes through with runners in scoring position. He had 15 RBIs in his 14 games in the Arizona League, and he has a team leading 24 since his mid-July call-up to Fort Wayne. In 41 at bats with runners in scoring position as a member of the TinCaps, Skender is hitting .341 with 20 RBIs. The moment never looks to big for him.
After watching a few games where Skender consistently stood out, I was surprised to see his strikeout percentage at 19.4 with Fort Wayne. From what I can tell he shows very good bat to ball skills and a decent eye for the strike zone.
He is just a solid hitter and baseball player out there. The power has not translated from the Arizona League. In his 52 at bats prior to promotion he had three homers, a pair of triples and a pair of doubles. In other words seven of his 20 were for extra bases. He has two homers, one triple and six doubles for the TinCaps.
This is a heck of a welcome back campaign from Skender and I am excited to keep watching him grow. Between the story and the performance, he is one of the most interesting prospects that the Padres have.