“What is the most important thing for a company? Is it the cash flow? Is it the inventory? Nuh-uh. It’s the people. The people. My proudest moment here was not when I increased profits by 17% or when I cut expenses without losing a single employee. No, no, no, no, no. It was a young Guatemalan guy. First job in the country, barely spoke English. He came to me, and said, “Mr. Scott, would you be the godfather of my child?” Wow. Wow. Didn’t work out in the end. We had to let him go. He sucked.” – Michael Scott
There are times when I want to write about something, but there’s not enough meat on the bone for a full-blown article. Other times, there’s something that I feel like is worth mentioning, but don’t feel like getting too deep into it. I’m going to try to save a few of those things for a Friday column. This is that column.
Jacob Nix Joins San Antonio
Covering the Padres, anytime someone gets promoted is an exciting day. Obviously some promotions are more exciting than others (sorry we didn’t give you your own post Rod Boykin), and while not as big as a top top prospect, Jacob Nix is up there, in my eyes. When I interviewed Austin Allen last month he said that Nix has “the easiest mid-90s I’ve ever seen”, with an approach that says “here’s my stuff, I dare you to hit it.”
Nix leaves the California league with a 4.32 ERA, having allowed 10.5 H/9 and a nice but not great 6.9 K/9. Not numbers that exactly scream promotion. Then I got thinking about a tweet sent my way:
which do you think he's more grateful for, promotion to AA or possibility of never pitching in Lancaster again?
— EndOfThread (@bmetzmetz) August 3, 2017
Hmmm… well, I know that Lancaster isn’t a great place for pitchers, but it can’t be that much of a deal, right? The whole Cal League is rough for hitters, isn’t it?
Well, when subtracting out the three starts that Nix has had there, his numbers change quite a bit. His ERA drops over a run (3.12), his H/9 drops to 7.8, and an his 8.0 K/9 is a little more appealing. Still not dominant, but much improved.
Anyways, Nix has had some dominant starts (including a complete game 2-hitter), and still young at 21-years-old. Getting the gang back together in San Antonio (pairing up with Cal Quantrill, Joey Lucchesi, and Eric Lauer) and adding them to the rotation with Brett Kennedy and Enyel De Los Santos makes the Missions easily the most exciting rotation in the Padres system, and they’ll be a tough team to beat in the postseason.
Are The Padres Still Tanking?
Sorry, no hot takes here. This is a question I’ve seen get a lot of run on Twitter, and all I can say if if they’re done tanking, that was pretty quick. We’re about 20 months removed from the Craig Kimbrel trade, which I consider to be a decent starting point for the tank.
However, that’s not what I really want to talk about. I want to give a shout out to a few players that I hardly if ever pay attention to: El Paso outfielders Nick Buss and Collin Cowgill.
When I saw that the Padres signed these two, it fit perfectly with the tanking philosophy: deal away talent, have scrubs fill in until the young guys are ready. Now, if you had told me that neither Buss nor Cowgill would have made an appearance in San Diego this year, I would’ve been surprised. Instead, they’ve brought up José Pírela, Franchy Cordero, and Jabari Blash throughout the season.
While Pírela has been a surprise, Cordero is still very young, and Blash… well, we kinda know what we have with Blash, to a certain degree. So, while I’m not going to sit here and say that the tank is over, I will say that I’m surprised that Cowgill (who’s not having a great season in Triple-A) and Buss (who was El Paso’s only All-Star representative and is hitting .373/.426/.579) haven’t been promoted at some point this season. And I kinda feel for them, because I’m sure that they figured being a Quad-A player in a rebuilding organization like the Padres would mean that they’d get a shot at the bigs.
Hunter Jarmon Update
While not having the same cachet as Tim Tebow (or even his teammate with the AZL Padres 2 squad Vijay Miller), Hunter Jarmon has been making strides with baseball, since being best known as a college football player. Jarmon was a wide receiver for Oregon State, and opted out of his final year of football eligibility to sign with the Padres after the MLB Draft in June.
It seems like an interesting move for Jarmon, who according to this NBC report, hadn’t played baseball since high school in 2014.
Since joining the AZL Padres 2, he’s played seven games, going 6 for 21 (.286) with six walks and five strikeouts, to go along with a pair of stolen bases. All in all, a decent enough start for someone who wasn’t even taken in the draft and could turn into something. The aforementioned Miller, as referenced in an article on the Padres website, played at East Mississippi Community College, the school featured in Netflix’s Last Chance U. He has a 5.14 ERA and a 9.6 K/9 rate through 14 AZL innings.
Missions From The Last Championship Run
Between Luis Urías getting close to game action after an injury that put him in a walking boot almost two weeks ago, and Jacob Nix getting promoted, San Antonio is chomping at the bit for the playoffs. When I visited this week, it was interesting to see a few photos of former Missions teams near the elevator to the press box. This was my favorite one.
Anybody recognize these faces? I can figure out a few of them, but there’s not that many that are still with the Padres organization, which I guess makes sense since it’s from 2013. I think I can see a young Cory Spangenberg on the far left, a leaping Yeison Asencio in the middle, and eye-blacked Austin Hedges in the background, in front of *maybe* current-Brave Matt Wisler. I fee like it might be Cody Decker on the far right, but it turns out that he spent the majority of that season in Triple-A.
It was a fun walk down memory lane, but also a reminder that very few of the guys who’s names and faces I’ve memorized will be a part of the big league squad, even if they make a big playoff run. *sheds a tear*
Other things that just missed the cut:
- Other Tony Gwynn stats, since it’s apparently Tony Gwynn stat month.
- Who to get excited about at Lake Elsinore (mostly Logan and Austin Allen, but I still hold out hope for Ruddy Giron and Michael Gettys, Rod Boykin has been a pleasant surprise, and there’s some decent bullpen pieces there).
- Thoughts on other possible Padre player promotions like the Austin Hedges Saxy Section.
*cue Careless Whisper*
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 4, 2017