Chris Paddack entered the 2019 season as the #66 ranked prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America and a mid-thirties prospect according to Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. Ahead of Paddack on those lists was Mackenzie Gore, who honestly might as well be the second coming of Christ based on the anticipation of his MLB debut.
Paddack wasted no time stepping out of Gore’s shadow, putting up some truly insane numbers for March/April. During the first month of his MLB career, Paddack started six games for the Padres. Over that 6 game stretch, he held opposing hitters to just 14 hits and 7 earned runs. That’s good enough for a 1.91 ERA and a 0.697 WHIP, putting up a whopping 9.7 K/9. The guy was on fire.
And still, Pete Alonso was named April’s Rookie of the Month.
This, obviously, didn’t sit well with Chris “I am Greg Maddux” Paddack, who had some things to say about it. And honestly, he’s not completely wrong there. Paddack was insanely good in the first month, but could he maintain it?
The answer is yes and no. Paddack’s first start in May was against Alonso’s Mets and he went with the “put up or shut up” approach. Over 7.2 innings, the young Padres starter fanned 11 Metropolitans allowing no runs and just 4 hits. Way to make a statement, Chris. Also, the Mets were/are trash.
His second May start is where things began to crumble, and a pattern began to emerge. After his first seven starts, Paddack posted a 6-6 record, getting touched up for 4+ runs by big swinging teams. Paddack had 5 games over his final 19 starts where he gave up 4 or more earned runs. Those teams were the Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees and the Phillies twice, all of them boasting lineups with serious power.
Paddack’s ERA would steadily climb over the remainder of the season, topping out at 3.84 in late August, but that doesn’t mean that his season was lost. On the contrary, Chris Paddack is my #1 player to watch in 2020 for that exact reason.
Early on this season, when he was hotter than hell, Paddack shot venom at other rookies. As time went on and Paddack faltered, those other rookies (like Mike Soroka and Dakota Hudson) pulled ahead of him, eventually earning Rookie of the Year votes. Paddack received zero Rookie of the Year votes, despite having a solid season debut year.
After being passed over for Rookie of the Month in the first one of his career, he then failed to make the ROY ballot at the end of the year. There is no way Chris Paddack doesn’t remember that every time he takes the mound in 2020. No way.
We’ve seen the fire Paddack pitches with and we’ve seen the kind of competitor he is. Knowing all of those things, and being the face of a rotation that is stronger than ever after the addition of Zack Davies, Paddack could be the face of the future Padres pitching staff.
And if you’re a Padres fan, that’s a very good thing.
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