Image credit: San Diego Padres
Sixteen Padres made their major league debut in 2018, including five starting pitchers from a farm system that’s as deep as any in the game.
Of the next crop of pitching prospects knocking on the door, Chris Paddack has the highest profile after a breakthrough campaign in 2018 coming off of Tommy John surgery.
But the first opportunity in 2019? That could very well go to Logan Allen, a 21-year-old lefthander who forced his way onto the national radar in the shadow of Paddack, MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon and even pop-up prospect Luis Patino.
In 2018, Allen went 10-6, 2.75 with 125 strikeouts in 121 innings as the Double-A Texas League pitcher of the year, closed the season with five strong starts in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (1.63 ERA) and was as worthy as any of the Padres’ many big league callups last year.
“A lot of teams take their players and they can sit in High-A or Low-A or Double-A for a couple years,” Allen said last summer. “Here, we’re taking these young players we’re developing and putting them in the big leagues. A lot of them are doing really well and it’s exciting.
“And it’s good to see, especially being in the minor leagues, that you’re not as far off as you may think.”
Because he was not Rule-5 eligible this winter, the Padres left him off the 40-man roster.
He was, however, invited to his first big league camp after leading the Padres’ system last season in wins (14) and strikeouts (151), tying for the system lead in innings (148.2) and setting personal full-season bests in ERA (2.54), WHIP (1.08) and opponent average (.205).
The breakthrough arrived after posting a 3.47 ERA in 62.1 innings in the low minors in 2016—his first in the organization after arriving in the Craig Kimbrel trade,—and recording a 2.95 ERA in 125 innings split between the Padres’ two A-ball affiliates in 2017.
One chief reason for the big step forward: Allen completed at least six innings 16 times in 24 regular season starts—including seven shutout frames in a combined no-hitter in May for San Antonio—which was up from 11 the previous year and just one time in 2016.
“I’ve been pretty efficient and throwing the ball better,” Allen said. “I’ve just beared down and worked on some of my pitches and stopped worrying about all the things that can go wrong or what I’m not doing right.
“I’ve just competed my way through every game.”