When the Padres promoted left-hander Logan Allen from Single-A Fort Wayne to High-A Lake Elsinore this past Tuesday, there was rampant speculation that Eric Lauer would be assigned to Double-A San Antonio even though the Jerry Keel injury had opened up a rotation spot on the Storm. Well, it took a few days for it become official, but the organization has announced that move per a report by Kyle Glaser of Baseball America.
Lauer’s promotion comes barely a year after being drafted by the Padres with the twenty-fifth pick in the 2016 draft. After posting the lowest ERA (0.69) in Division 1 baseball since 1979, it was expected that he could move quickly through the system, but no one could have anticipated him reaching San Antonio this quickly. Yet, with the way he’s pitched at every stop, there was not much reason to keep him with the Storm.
In a seven game stint with the Tri-City Dust Devils last season, Lauer struck out more than ten batters per nine innings while posting an incredible 1.44 ERA. He then made a one game appearance at the next level, but the performance at Low-A and the glut of pitching prospect in the lower minors gave the Padres’ brass the confidence to push him straight to Lake Elsinore to start this season, where he joined teammate Joey Lucchesi in the battle for best ERA in the California League.
Additionally, Lauer excelled at limiting both walks and home runs, allowing just twenty-eight and five respectively over roughly 100 innings in the Padres’ system. Considering he’s struck out 121 batters in that same span, it’s evident that he isn’t just getting lucky or inducing soft contact but that he is hammering the zone with authority and deception.
Despite the unmitigated success, Lauer still projects to be a mid rotation starter at best and will need to continue to perfect his secondary offerings at San Antonio with a fastball that lacks elite velocity, sitting in the low 90’s and peaking at 94 mph.
He is expected to make his debut with the Missions on Sunday at 4:05 pm CST as they face off against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.