Earlier than expected, the Padres have brough up a pair of prospects for their Major League debuts. Since their call ups, Franchy Cordero has proved to be an exciting player to watch, and Dinelson Lamet has shown that he’s not overmatched in the slightest against big league hitters. With both Cordero and Lamet leaving their post in El Paso, a few players in Double-A San Antonio have been bumped up to Triple-A.
Taking over for Lamet’s spot in the rotation is Kyle Lloyd. Lloyd was drafted way back in 2013, from the 29th round of the same draft that produced Hunter Renfroe*, and he shares an alma mater (the University of Evansville) with former Friar Andy Benes, who played in San Diego from 1989 to 1995.
Being a college pitcher, he has tended to be slightly older than most of his competition as he’s moved through the minor leagues. He posted some impressive strikeout numbers at the lower levels (11.7 K/9 at Single-A Fort Wayne, and 9.1 K/9 at High-A Lake Elsinore), but those dropped off a bit as he reached San Antonio (6.8 K/9 last year, but 8.5 K/9 this year). Despite the dip in K’s, his control has remained consistent, posting a 2.7 BB/9 across all levels.
He features a fastball that sits 89-90 MPH and is able to keep his breaking stuff down, which has induced a lot of soft contact. When he’s on, you get the same results that a good Clayton Richard can show us. Is it jaw-dropping? Not necessarily, though, he did throw a no-hitter for the Missions on May 13th against the Frisco RoughRiders, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. That, coupled with posting a pair of double-digit strikeout performances and a 1.136 WHIP, showed that he was ready for life in the Pacific Coast League.
Filling in for Franchy in the outfield is Nick Schulz. Schulz wasn’t drafted, but was signed by the Padres out of San Jose State in 2014. While he doesn’t have a ton of speed on the base paths, he has made good reads on the field and has played all three outfield positions this year. He started off the season red-hot, posting a .317/.434/.671 line in the month of April, good for a 1.105 OPS. May was far less kind to him, as he went .178/.272/.311 in the 24 games leading up to his promotion. Here’s hoping that the Pacific Coast League can add some spark into his bat.**
How long Cordero and Lamet stay with the big club remains to be seen as both were added when injuries hit (Manuel Margot and Jered Weaver); though, both are preforming well. If either is sent back to Triple-A, it’s possible that either Schulz or Lloyd could return to the Texas League, but both are 26-years-old, so you’d like to see how they do against higher quality competition.
Are they among the top ten prospects in the organization? No, however, they’ve risen to within a level of the big leagues, and that is definitely something. One player who wasn’t even taken in the MLB Draft and another who has thrown a no-hitter? That’s a pair that could most certainly be worth paying attention to.
* There are just five players left in the organization from the 2013 draft: Renfroe, Lloyd, Adam Cimber (pitcher, Triple-A), Rod Boykin (outfielder, Single-A), and Adrian De Horta (pitcher, Single-A).
** Schulz hit his first home run of the season for El Paso last night, raising his Triple-A slash line to .190/.350/.422 in a small 24 plate appearance sample size.