Category Archives: Wholesale Padres Jerseys

Edward Olivares Jersey

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For many franchises, spending any amount of time discussing the 28th-ranked prospect isn’t worth the time and effort. However, the San Diego Padres farm system presents a different case, seeing as Edward Olivares, the Padres 28th-ranked prospect, is a top 15-20 prospect on most other teams. He is coming off a fairly successful season with the Lake Elsinore Storm, but will we see him suit up with the Amarillo Sod Poodles?

Olivares came to San Diego via Toronto when the Padres traded infielder Yangervis Solarte to the Blue Jays for Olivares and Jared Carkuff. Carkuff was later released, but Olivares showcased his speed and power in Lake Elsinore for 129 games.

His final stat line included a .277 average, .321 on-base percentage, 25 doubles, 10 triples, and 12 home runs. He swiped 21 bags, converting on 72% of his stolen base attempts.

The 22-year-old outfielder is currently spending the offseason in his home country of Venezuela where he is playing with the Tigres de Aragua. In 24 games, Olivares is hitting .337 with a .402 OBP, two doubles, two triples, and two home runs. He has converted five of six stolen base attempts and ranks among the league leaders in several offensive categories.

During the MiLB regular season, Olivares hit .281 vs righties and .261 vs lefties, however, that split has widened in Venezuela. He is currently hitting .370 against RHP and .211 LHP. Looking back over his splits over the course of his minor league career, Olivares has a history of struggling to hit left-handed pitching. Just something to watch with him.

The question now becomes, will the Padres add him to the 40-man roster before the upcoming deadline to protect Rule-5 draft eligible prospects? Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com recently published this piece taking a quick look at every top 30 prospect who is eligible for the draft. Maybe it is just my reading of the San Diego Padres outlook section, but it seems like Sam believes that the Padres will lose one or more of their five top-30 prospects.

There are plenty of names that can be removed from the current 40-man and the Padres are believed to be a franchise that will be active on the trade market this offseason, including current rumors swirling around Maikel Franco and Noah Syndergaard. San Diego can make room for Olivares. He is a multi-tool outfielder that has the potential to be a major league contributing outfielder.

Josh Naylor Jersey

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Last week, outfielder Josh Naylor was interviewed by Gwynn & Chris of 97.3 THE FAN—an altogether great radio program in the afternoon drivetime hours.

I was excited to hear Josh interview because, from what I’ve seen, he’s got a fiery personality, is Canadian, and, well, doesn’t exactly look like a physical Adonis. That last point—that of Josh’s physique—was actually touched on by Tony Gwynn Jr., and the results were…somewhat awkward.

Gwynn: “One of the things that to me is uncanny watching you swinging the bat is that you have a lot of similarities to Prince Fielder…Have you heard that comparison before?”

Naylor, sounding uncomfortable: Um, yeah I have. Especially before my professional career, I got a lot of comps to him and stuff, and, you know, bigger hitters like that, but it is what it is—I don’t try to hit like him or be like him.

This was just one cringe-worthy moment in what was altogether a great interview (available below), but man did I want to crawl into the glovebox of my Scion listening to that exchange. Check it out around the 5:00 mark.

What’s most obvious about the back-and-forth is that Josh Naylor has been asked a lot about his appearance—and that interviewers, like Gwynn, try to soften the blow of the real question by comparing Naylor to, in Naylor’s words, “bigger” hitters like Fielder.

But let’s call it what it is: Naylor is chunky, yo.

And you know what else? Mans can hit.
Loving the skin you’re in

First, let me advocate for my use of the word “chunky”. Some people would call Naylor “fat”, but “fat” is almost universally an epithet used to make people feel shame and, in our tolerance-minded times, we will steer way clear of making our young outfielder feeling bad about his girthy frame.

“Chunky”, meanwhile, has better associations. Peanut Butter can be chunky. Rocky Road is chunky. The audio mixing on Portishead’s Dummy record could be described as chunky.

I will admit that there is one place where the word “fat” does have positive connotations, e.g. “fat stacks of cash”—which is exactly what our 6’1, 225-lb outfielder is going to make some day if he keeps hitting at his current pace.

In the second half, the 22-year-old lefty is hitting .276 with 5 HRs and a palatable 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Most importantly, the “Mississauga Masher” has shown an ability to hit situationally—something few Padres have succeeded at this year.
Simple approach, great results

Take a look at this at-bat from last night’s game:

Facing a right-side-heavy shift, the rookie Naylor does exactly what a professional hitter should do—just a nice, simple game of “Pepper” the other way. Since July 5th, Naylor is hitting .326 in at-bats where the defense has the shift on him. He seems to stick with the old adage of ”When you put the ball in play, good things happen”.

Of course, putting the ball in play has long been Naylor’s modus operandi. The big boy from north of the border struck out just 30 times in 223 Triple-A at-bats this year, and holds a 1.70:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 1700+ minor league at-bats—pretty solid marks in today’s swing-happy culture.

So call Josh Naylor whatever you wish—fat, chunky, girthy, big-boned, body-swollen, a hefty lefty, rotund, portly, or plump.

Just make sure you also call him what he is: a hitter.

Luis Urias Jersey

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A flurry of moves on Thanksgiving eve signaled that the prospect-hoarding San Diego Padres can afford to be impatient.

Late Wednesday morning, a number of Milwaukee Brewers turned Padres and vice versa. First, San Diego dealt infielder Luis Urías and left-hander Eric Lauer to Milwaukee for righty Zach Davies and outfielder Trent Grisham.

The Padres also reportedly signed lefty Drew Pomeranz, who was lights out as a reliever for the Brewers down the stretch this year, on a free-agent contract.

Adding Pomeranz, 31, and Davies, 26, provides a veteran presence to a bullpen and rotation littered with some names that currently occupy top prospect lists. And Grisham, who filled in nicely for Christian Yelich but could’ve potentially been haunted by a game-changing error in the wild card game, bolsters the depth of a veteran outfield. Lauer was quickly replaced and didn’t do much to separate himself from the next wave of San Diego’s very talented pitching prospects.

But giving up on Urías so quickly means that the Padres are exiting the rebuild stage and fine-tuning their major league roster to win now. Which makes sense because a team 13 years removed from their last National League West title and hasn’t finished better than fourth in the division since 2014 should be moving with urgency.

San Diego graduated a number of the game’s best prospects the past few seasons. The most notable among them being Rookie of the Year finalist Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack, the fireballing right-hander who went from Class A Advanced to ace of the staff within a year. The Padres still entered the season with nearly a dozen players listed among the top prospects in baseball and traded for more at the deadline.

Urías, 22, was part of that group when the year began. A natural second baseman with experience at shortstop, he was considered among baseball’s best 30 prospects after he batted no lower than .296 in five minor league seasons.

But at this time last year, Urías entered his first offseason as a major leaguer whose debut didn’t come close to approaching his minor-league success. He compiled a .221 batting average and .649 OPS in 83 total games in the majors.

Urías was young enough and had the past success to earn a little extra patience. Especially from a team that’s building around young talent. The slow start was easy to understand, but it wasn’t the only thing working against him.

San Diego has already proved willing to buck convention to reward success and move on quickly from what’s not working.

The long-term, big-money deals with Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado were signs the Padres’ rebuild wouldn’t rely solely on prospects. They also showed a willingness to skip the line in development should a player earn their spot, considering neither Tatis nor Paddack played a game at Triple-A.

They still also have one of baseball’s best farm systems with a number of players in the pipeline that can play Urías’ position.

The two best, CJ Abrams and Xavier Edwards, are still a couple of years from the big leagues. Edwards made it to the California League and batted .322 overall in his first full season. Abrams, a regular shortstop and the sixth overall pick in June, batted .393 in his first 34 pro games.

There’s a fair chance the Padres look outside the organization to add the final piece to what could potentially be the best infield in baseball. Mike Moustakas, Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro, Jonathan Schoop and Howie Kendrick are veteran free agents that should be attainable on short-term deals. But the Padres proved they probably want more than a player that could bridge the gap to Edwards or Abrams.

The move to Milwaukee joins Urías with another former top second base prospect, Keston Hiura. Orlando Arcia’s disappointing offensive production —1.2 oWAR over the past four seasons — will likely place the versatile Urías at shortstop in Milwaukee.

Davies went 10-7 last year and led the Brewers, who did not produce a single pitcher that qualified for an ERA title, with 159 1/3 innings pitched. His 3.55 ERA was a career-best and the lowest among Milwaukee’s regular group of starters.

The Brewers don’t possess much pitching depth, and Davies’ third year of arbitration eligibility comes in 2021. Urías is the prize for Milwaukee in the deal, and acquiring him came at the price of arguably their most reliable starter.

There are a lot of moving pieces still left to pin down for a Brewers team that booked consecutive playoff appearances. San Diego earned their Thanksgiving relevance Wednesday, but there’s still a lot of work to do before they’ll be a topic of conversation around Halloween.

Greg Garcia Jersey

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With the merry-go-round that is the second base position, Greg Garcia has been a serviceable stopgap for the San Diego Padres. An asset as a starter, a utility player, and off the bench, it feels like the Friars scored when they brought him on board.

Signing Garcia back in November 2018, the San Diego native had spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Redbirds and enjoyed a nice career there, batting .248/.351/.348 after his 14-game rookie season.

His first year with the Padres, however, is on pace to be his best one yet. After 70 games, the 2B/3B/SS is batting .263/.347/.403 with a .325 wOBA and 102 wRC+. He’s tied his season-high totals for RBIs (20) and home runs (3), and his .752 OPS is just shy of a career-high.

Sure, those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but he’s provided a breath of fresh air to a relatively unstable and inconsistent position for the Padres. With Luis Urias still in Triple-A El Paso, the Padres have gone with a 2B platoon of Garcia and Ian Kinsler.

So far, Garcia has been the better offensive and defensive option over Kinsler, who’s slashing .217/.275/.370 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs through 74 games. While he’s settling in after a rough start to the year (.133/.209/.241 with 17 strikeouts through April), the two-time Golden Glove winner has been less than stellar during his bout with the Friars.

Defensively, Garcia is considered the league-average 2B with 0 Defensive Runs Saved, and an above-average 2B with a 1.8 UZR. He’s facing a career-low .746 RZR, though, meaning he’s struggled to convert balls hit to his zone into outs.

Take these 2019 defensive stats with a grain of salt, however, as we’re only halfway through the year. Garcia is coming off a 2.0 UZR season with the Cardinals and has a +3 DRS, .848 RZR, and 1.5 UZR in his career.

That said, I’m not writing about Greg Garcia because of his average defense.

No, I’m dedicating this article to him because of his performance in the clutch and in high-leverage situations.

He hits a .263/.370/.447 with runners in scoring position, providing 15 RBIs in 46 plate appearances in the situation. His OBP is at its best (.412) in late and close games, which is when his plate appearance occurs in the seventh inning or later “with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.”

Perhaps the most impressive is his performance during high-leverage situations, hitting .345/.440/.690 when he has the chance to drastically alter the win probability of the game.

This isn’t just a trend, either. Garcia’s career is peppered with great stats in high-leverage and clutch situations. He has a .333 BA against the shift, a 16.2 BB% with men in scoring position, and his career-OBP is at its best with two outs and RISP. He also has a career .374 OBP as a pinch-hitter.

The Padres probably knew all that, though.

To be fair, Greg also has some offensive weaknesses that lie primarily in his power and averages against left-handed pitchers. Garcia has three homers on the year and has never hit more than that in a season.

Two home runs in 2019 have come against finesse pitchers (those in the “bottom third of the league in strikeouts plus walks”, per Baseball-reference), against whom he has his best slash line.

Conversely, he’s struggled against power pitchers (“top third of the league in strikeouts plus walks”). This is also evident in his K% and BB%, which have trended the wrong way.

Against LHPs, Garcia has averaged .176/.270/.256 vs. .264/.368/.368 against righty’s, which might be why Andy Green chooses to play Kinsler in certain situations. He has around the same (albeit low) average against pitchers of both hands.

Yes, Garcia has his weaknesses like every other player (except you Fernando, you’re perfect). Despite these, he currently gives the Padres the best chance for success at 2B and should absolutely be starting over Kinsler.

He’s got the better bat, slightly better defense, and seems to make something happen when we need it the most. Furthermore, while Kinsler had improved since the beginning of the year, he’s slumping again, going 1-for-17 in his last seven games. Garcia, meanwhile, has kept up the heat this summer, going 5-for-17 for a .294 BA in his last seven games.

Garcia in last 28 days: 17 games, .333/.404/.571, .448 BAbip, 14 hits, seven RBIs.

Ty France Jersey

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SAN DIEGO — Even by typical Pacific Coast League standards, the offensive environment on the circuit was positively bonkers this season. However, the friendly hitting environment shouldn’t diminish what El Paso infielder and now big-league graduate Ty France accomplished in 2019.

The 2015 34th-round pick hit an absurd .399/.447/.770 this season, with 27 homers and a wRC+ of 198, which would have led the PCL if he had enough at-bats to qualify among the league leaders. His 1.247 OPS tied for the league lead with Brewers outfielder Trent Grisham and was slightly ahead of Dodgers’ super-prospect Gavin Lux.

“Predictions are hard, and most of the time I get them wrong, so let me brag about this one — I predicted in a March preseason show that Ty would win PCL MVP and he did,” said Chihuahuas broadcaster Tim Hagerty.

Ty France hit .399 in El Paso. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

In addition to winning the MVP in the Pacific Coast League, Ty France is our MadFriars Player of the Year, thanks to an offensive campaign in which France took his game to new heights.

“For me, it was going out every day at the plate and trying to get a good pitch to hit,” said France prior to the Padres’ final home game of 2019. “I put in a lot of work in the off-season, [really] working on the strength and conditioning part. The power numbers came [as a result]. It was a lot of fun to go out there and play.”

France’s power materialized with the Chihuahuas and he reached his career-high in homers, despite amassing less than 400 plate appearances in Triple-A. The prodigious power came with France lowering his strikeout rate to 14% while maintaining a solid 8.6% walk rate. France attributes the breakout to a more aggressive approach at the plate.

“[Decreasing my strikeouts] was partially because of the off-season work I put in and I think I was just a little more aggressive. I wasn’t afraid to strikeout and I was swinging more. And in Triple-A, the pitchers make a couple of more mistakes than they do [in the big leagues]. I was able to put the ball in play.”

Coming into the year, France was not necessarily looking to lead the league in many offensive categories, but he set goals for himself and reevaluated those goals every week and going into each new month.

“You have to hold yourself to some pretty high standards to play this game. You never go out and say ‘okay, I want to hit .200 this year.’ For me, going to [El Paso last year], I think I hit .290 (he hit .287). This year, the goal was to hit .300 and put in the work each day. When I [achieved the goal], I set new goals.”

France’s play earned the former 34th-round pick a trip to San Diego. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

France’s breakout resulted in a promotion to San Diego, where he played third base nearly every day after phenom shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. hit the shelf with a hamstring issue. France struggled in first stint in the big leagues, hitting just .235/.290/.357 in 108 plate appearances before being optioned back to El Paso. France didn’t view the demotion as something negative.

“I learned how good guys are up here. You are facing the best-of-the-best up here and I didn’t look at going back down as a demotion. I looked at it as [an opportunity] to get more reps. I talked to Andy [Green] before I left and he said ‘you didn’t do anything wrong, you held your own and did a good job here; just go down and get reps.’ That’s what I treated it as.”

In France’s return to El Paso, the infielder hit .392/.471/.733 with 18 homers in 57 games. His offensive production led to his selection to the Triple-A All-Star Game, the third straight season that France made a mid-season All-Star game. France homered in the game and won the top star award for the PCL squad.

As France’s offensive game shined, he also learned a new position on the fly. With the corner infield positions locked up in San Diego for the foreseeable future, France started to get reps at second base as a means to get his powerful bat in the lineup in San Diego. Prior to this season, France had never played second base at any level.

“[France] could be more of an emergency guy at second base, or a double switch,” said El Paso manager Edwin Rodriguez in an interview with us in July. “Ty is really good because he can play a lot of different positions and [is willing] do anything to try to help the team.”

Ty France saw action at first, second and third base this season. Photo: Jorge Salgado.

“Everyday at [second base] is definitely getting easier,” said France. “It’s like riding a bike; you need to start with the training wheels and then go from there. Each day, I feel like I have gotten a little better. [Padres assistant hitting and infield coach] Damian Easley and these guys are incredible to work with. They do a great job — it’s definitely helped my game and it has taken it to another level.

When Tatis Jr. returned to the injured list in August, France rejoined the big league club for the remainder of the season. France’s numbers (.233/.298/.453) weren’t outstanding down the stretch but he did have a few big moments. He homered twice in a game against San Francisco and finished the season with a multi-hit game in the finale. The slugging infielder was much more comfortable at the plate in his second stint with the Padres.

“For me, the first go-around was the rookie jitters, the first-time jitters and the second time up, I have been a lot more comfortable. [I’ve] been a lot more relaxed at the plate and I’ve been able to be more of myself.”

France should go into next spring with a chance to win an everyday job at second base, or perhaps fill in all over the infield as a utility slugger. For him, the recognition he has received from many publications has helped give him validation heading into next season.

“It’s been pretty fun and incredible journey. The Padres have been incredible to me my entire career. They made it clear that from the time I signed that if you went out and put up the numbers, you’d get rewarded and that’s exactly what they did.”

Garrett Richards Jersey

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One of the most easily forgotten transactions of last offseason saw the San Diego Padres sign right-handed starter Garrett Richards to a two-year deal. Richards, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels, was expected to miss most of the season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. That two-year deal, then, was more of a one-year deal — with that one year being about 2020.

Yet Richards stepped onto a big-league mound on Monday night for the first time since last July, and there was some reason to be encouraged — even if his final line doesn’t suggest as much.

Richards threw 3 ⅔ innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, permitting three runs on five hits and no walks in a loss. He struck out five and threw strikes on 42 of his 61 pitches (or nearly 70 percent overall). Richards induced six swinging strikes, including four on his trademark slider:

Nasty.

For those wondering, Richards’ fastball clocked in at 94.7 miles per hour on average, according to Statcast. That’s down about 1 mile per hour from his average in recent seasons. Whether he regains that extra oomph is to be seen.

The Padres are about to embark on a pivotal offseason, one in which they’re likely to pursue a front-of-the-rotation starter. If Richards can regain most of his old form — he had a 122 ERA+ over 86 starts from 2014-18 — then he could factor into those plans, and perhaps help lead San Diego to its first postseason appearance since 2007.

Dinelson Lamet Jersey

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Dinelson Lamet took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning for the only major league team that’s never pitched one, leading the San Diego Padres over the Seattle Mariners 9-4 Tuesday night.

Omar Narvaez lined a single with one out in the seventh to break up Lamet’s try. The Padres, who began play in 1969, are still looking for that elusive first no-hitter.

The Mariners, meanwhile, avoided becoming the first club in the majors to be held hitless three times in a season. A pair of Los Angeles Angels pitchers teamed on a no-hitter against Seattle on July 12 and the Houston Astros combined to no-hit the Mariners last Saturday.

Lamet (1-2) struck out 12 and gave up two hits in seven shutout innings for his first win since 2017. Slated to be San Diego’s No. 2 starter last year after a promising rookie season, Lamet hurt his elbow in his final spring training start and then had Tommy John surgery.

The 27-year-old righty came off the injured list and rejoined the Padres last month.

Rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his 20th home run as the Padres sent Seattle to its fifth straight loss.

With a mounting pitch count, Lamet took a 5-0 lead into the seventh and struck out Daniel Vogelbach to begin the inning. After Vogelbach was ejected for arguing, Narvaez lined the first pitch into right field. Kyle Seager followed with a double to the left corner.

Lamet escaped by getting Austin Nola on a popup and fanning Dylan Moore to tie his career strikeout high.

Tatis’ homer, a two-run shot to the second deck in left field, helped spur a five-run fifth inning. Manuel Margot and Luis Urias also drove in runs against Wade LeBlanc (6-5).

Eric Hosmer added a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Erik Swanson and Josh Naylor later homered.

The Mariners rallied for four runs off the bullpen in the eighth inning, spurred by Tim Lopes’ two-run homer, his first major league hit. Lopes entered the lineup for Vogelbach after being recalled from the seven-day concussion list.

OUTFIELD OPPORTUNITY

Lopes received an interesting assignment on his first day back from the concussion list. The lifelong infielder was scheduled to shag balls in the outfield during batting practice after the 80-game suspension of Tim Beckham and lingering injuries to Domingo Santana and Mitch Haniger.

“He came into my office today and his eyes got real big,” manager Scott Servais said. “I said, ‘Dude, that’s the way to get in the lineup.’”

In other moves, the Mariners also reinstated reliever Brandon Brennan (right shoulder strain) from the 10-day injured list and sent reliever Gerson Bautista to Triple-A Tacoma to make room.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Pitcher Garrett Richards had a setback Monday in his return from 2018 Tommy John surgery. He came out of an appearance at Single-A Lake Elsinore with a tight shoulder. “The trainers tell me to anticipate this as a minor hiccup, that he feels ultimately pretty good today,” manager Andy Green said. . Reliever Jose Castillo (right elbow) completed another positive rehab appearance at Lake Elsinore. “If he continues on this path, his return is close,” Green said.

Mariners: Felix Hernandez will make a rehab start Thursday at Double-A Modesto. He’s scheduled to throw 45 to 50 pitches over three innings in his attempt to return from a right lat strain. . Haniger (testicle surgery) and second baseman Dee Gordon (strained right quad) are increasing their workouts with the team through the weekend and could be sent to rehab assignments next week. . Reliever Connor Sadzeck met with the same doctor who performed his Tommy John surgery and had a nonsurgical procedure on his right elbow in Texas, Servais said. . Third baseman Ryon Healy had hip surgery in Arizona, Servais said, but had no further details.

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The words “bulging cervical disc” are likely to produce a wince from even the most stoic of readers, but it seems that Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo has managed that exact injury well enough to make a return to playing baseball in the coming days. Per Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, it seems that Nimmo, who hasn’t appeared with the Metropolitans since mid-May, could rejoin the team as soon as tomorrow according to manager Mickey Callaway (link). After a brilliant 2018 in which the 26-year-old slashed .263/.404/.483 with a 149 wRC+, Nimmo was expected to be a large part of New York’s playoff push; instead, his injury largely opened the door for an emergent J.D. Davis, who has more than helped account for Nimmo’s absence with a 131 wRC+ in 374 trips to the plate this year.

Still, fellow Mets outfielder Michael Conforto is excited about Nimmo’s return: “He can be a gamechanger,” Conforto told Thosar. “He gets on base and there are days where he just doesn’t get out. If he’s feeling 100% healthy, he’ll be a serious weapon for us.”

More notes from around the National League on the last day of August…

The Phillies were just 3.0 games back in the NL Wild Card race entering play Saturday, but the team can count out three of their pitchers for the rest of the year. According to a tweet from Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (link), Philadelphia hurlers Seranthony Dominguez (elbow soreness), Adam Morgan (elbow), and Pat Neshek (hamstring) will all be held out through season’s end. None of these pitchers have appeared in August action; all were expected to be key contributors to the Philadelphia staff this year, which helps explain how the Phillies pen has struggled to a collective 4.70 ERA on the year (20th in MLB).

San Diego Union-Tribune writer Kevin Acee says it “sounds like” the Padres are set to promote relief prospect Javy Guerra when rosters expand tomorrow (link). That a 23-year-old Double-A reliever would receive a September cup of coffee on a losing team is hardly an earth-shattering development–except for the circuitous route that Guerra has taken to this point. When the club acquired Guerra in 2015 as part of the Craig Kimbrel deal, he was seen as the second key piece in a four-player package headlined by outfielder Manuel Margot. Of course, Guerra was a shortstop at the time–and one highly touted enough to slot in immediately as San Diego’s third-ranked overall prospect following the deal. Several years of putrid offensive production followed before Guerra finally started pitching full-time this season. Early results are promising: his first taste High-A yielded a 3.71 ERA and 12.18 K/9, and Double-A results through 4.1 innings included a 2.08 ERA and 14.54 K/9 mark.

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The San Diego Padres were hopeful that Anderson Espinoza would be able to get back on the mound this season, adding yet another arm to their already impressive list of pitching prospects. He had been a consensus top 25 prospect before the 2017 campaign, but has missed each of the last two seasons due to Tommy Joh surgery. Nonetheless, Espinoza is still ranked as the Padres 13th best prospect according to MLB.com, a lofty status considering his injury woes.

Unfortunately, that timeline for Espinoza to take the mound and reclaim his status as a top prospect has taken another step back. He has undergone a second Tommy John surgery, as the graft ruptured. Considering the timing of the procedure, Espinoza may not be ready to take the mound until late in 2020, or at the beginning of 2021.

When last he was on the diamond, Espinoza was showing some of the potential that made him a top prospect. One could forgive his 4.49 ERA and 1.385 WHiP in his 108.1 innings in A ball in 2016, especially as he struck out 100 batters with only 35 walks.
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If healthy, Espinoza has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter. Despite a relatively small frame at 6′ tall and weighing just 160 pounds, he had a fastball that sat in the mid to upper 90s, an excellent changeup with plenty of sink, and the beginnings of what could be a plus curveball. With a fluid delivery and repeatable mechanics, Espinoza had the potential to be a star in the making.

With this second procedure, it is fair to wonder what Anderson will have left when he eventually returns to the mound. He had been compared to the late Yordano Ventura before, but this second procedure after the first one failed is definitely concerning.

It may also change the way that Espinoza is viewed moving forward. The Padres had been determined to keep him in the rotation despite any durability concerns due to his size. This second procedure could force their hands, and lead to Espinoza moving to the bullpen.

Anderson Espinoza had another setback, and will require a second Tommy John surgery. The San Diego Padres prospect will not be back on the mound until 2020 at the earliest.

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Former Pittsburgh Pirates player Jose Castillo was killed late Thursday night in a car crash in Venezuela.

According to reports, both Castillo, 37, and MLB free agent Luis Valbuena, 33, were killed when their car hit a rock in the road, and crashed.

They played for the same team in the Venezuelan winter league, and both played in Thursday night’s game.

The team said their vehicle overturned as they were heading to the city of Barquisimeto after a game in the capital, Caracas.

The Pirates had high hopes for Castillo, an infielder, when he joined the team in the late ’90s. He spent 10 years with the Pirates organization before going on to play for the Giants and the Astros.

Valbueno who was released by the Los Angeles Angels earlier this year.

Initial reports are the crash was caused by a “rock” in the road, a common tactic used by those trying to rob unsuspecting athletes. Earlier this year, Pirates Catcher Francisco Cervelli, talked to KDKA-TV about the growing violence in Venezuela.

“It is something that we hear every day. Of course I’m concerned. Every day is something new, every day it’s getting worse and I don’t know when it’s going to end,” he said at the time.

Political unrest is common in Venezuela, leading to high rates of theft and kidnapping. Elias Diaz knows all about that. His mother was snatched and held for ransom earlier this year.

“I try not to think about it, but when I got a moment, my mind is going back,” he said earlier this year.

Other players on the team feel the pressure of escalating violence from back home while trying to focus on the game they love here in the U.S. Felipe Vazquez talked about that fear.

“There’s nothing that we can control since it is the government or whatever is going down there. We don’t feel safe anymore because anything can happen,” he said.

Vazquez tweeted today: “What happened with Castillo and Valbuena it’s a clear example of what going on in Venezuela nobody cares bout anyone, what’s next they gonna try to find who did it not gonna find anyone!”

The Pirates released a statement on Twitter, saying: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Pirates infielder José Castillo. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”