San Diego Padres top 10 prospects for 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 15: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the World Team looks on during batting practice at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on Sunday, July 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Fernando Tatis Jr.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 15: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the World Team looks on during batting practice at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on Sunday, July 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Fernando Tatis Jr. /
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San Diego Padres
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 30: Michhel Baez #45 of the San Diego Padres Minor Leagues pitches in the Padres On Deck game against the Texas Ranges at PETCO Park on September 30, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

8. Michel Baez, RHP

Birthday: 1/21/1996 (22)
Acquired: International free agent, December 2016
Level(s): high-A Lake Elsinore, AA San Antonio
Statistics: 4-10, 21 GS, 105 IP, 3.69 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 10% BB, 25.1% K

This was probably not the follow-up season that the San Diego Padres had in mind. After a dominant first season in the organization after the Padres signed the huge 6’8″ righty out of Cuba where he put up a 10/89 BB/K over 63 2/3 innings, he found the sledding more difficult in 2018.

Of course, at 6’8″, one of the major issues will always be control, and after dominating in high-A, once he bumped up to AA, Baez struggled with his delivery and thus lost his control, walking 12 over 18 1/3 innings.

Due to the long arm motion in his delivery, Baez will have struggle if his delivery gets off at all, but when he’s on, he can fire a fastball that bumps triple digits, sitting mid-90s deep into games with little effort. He gets an impressive downward angle due to his height as well, making it difficult for hitters to drive the heater.

When his delivery is right, his slider is a true plus pitch, and can even flash double-plus, showing hard, sharp bite that jumps away from a bat seemingly just before it’s contacted. His change is still a work in progress, but he does have excellent tumble on the pitch that creates grounders when he’s on with his delivery.

Baez fills up the zone when he’s working well in his delivery, and with his stuff that will allow him to play to a inning-eater mid-rotation guy, but he has a certain fallback as the bullpen with his stuff and size. The San Diego Padres will likely open Baez in AA in 2019.