This afternoon, it was announced that the Padres had called up Kyle Lloyd from Triple-A El Paso. José Ruiz, who made his MLB debut last night in an inning of relief, was optioned back to High-A Lake Elsinore. Though Jhoulys Chacín was the listed as today’s probable starter, Lloyd has taken his place, and will make his debut tonight, starting against Seth Lugo and the New York Mets. Lloyd was added to the 40-man roster, taking the place of the newly departed Trevor Cahill.
Lloyd, a 29th round pick in 2013 (out of the same college as former Padre star Andy Benes), started the season in Double-A San Antonio, and bounced back and forth a bit between the Missions and Triple-A El Paso. He had a lot of success in the Texas League, which makes sense, since he spent all of 2016 with San Antonio as well. In addition to a 3.71 ERA, an 8.9 K/9 rate, and a career low 2.6 BB/9 rate, he also threw a no-hitter and was named to the Texas League All-Star Game.
The 26-year-old didn’t have the same kind of success at the Triple-A level, which is to be expected, facing advanced hitting in a hitter-friendly environment. In five starts, he posted a 5.65 ERA, with his K/9 dipping slightly to 7.2 and his BB/9 bumping up to 3.1. While his numbers might not jump off the page, he hasn’t allowed more than five runs in any of his starts, and not getting blown out in the PCL is impressive in and of itself. In his two most recent starts for El Paso, he went 11.1 total innings, allowing five earned runs and four walks, while notching 14 strikeouts.
He sports a fastball that tops out around 91 MPH and has a split-finger that he can go to late in the count to put hitters away. It will be interesting to see how he fares against the left-handed hitters in the Mets lineup, namely Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Lucas Duda – his OPS allowed to lefties is .766, more than 200 points higher than it is against righties (.565).
With Cahill gone and Chacín a trade possibility, this isn’t necessarily the “one-and-done” appearance like it was for Ruiz – there’s a chance that Lloyd will make multiple appearances for the Padres this year. He’s in a competition with the rest of the El Paso starters, namely Dillon Overton and Michael Kelly. Tonight, he’ll be auditioning on a much larger stage, and is hoping to impress.