Image credit: ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JUNE 22: Scott Barlow #58 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Tropicana Field on June 22, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
The Padres made one final move to upgrade their bullpen at the trade deadline on Tuesday, acquiring closer Scott Barlow from the Royals in exchange for righthanded pitching prospects Henry Williams and Jesus Rios.
Barlow struggled to a 5.35 ERA as the Royals’ closer this year, but he was excellent the previous two seasons and will slide back into a setup relief role with the Padres.
Henry Williams, RHP
A third-round pick out of Duke last season, Henry missed most of the last year recovering from Tommy John surgery but returned to the mound in May. He went 1-5, 5.74 in 12 starts at Low-A Lake Elsinore and had 40 strikeouts and 21 walks in 42.1 innings. Williams is still working his way back from surgery, but at his best he’s a powerful 6-foot-5 righthander with a high-spin 94-98 mph fastball that plays at the top of the strike zone. He also has a wipeout slider and a fading, mid-80s changeup. Williams’ stuff and above-average control are still coming back, and there is a risk they don’t, but he has upside as a potential midrotation starter if they do.
Jesus Rios, RHP
Rios signed with the Padres last offseason after pitching for Mazatlan in the Mexican League. He’s a 6-foot-1, 190-pound reliever with a fastball up to 95 mph and a chance at an above-average slider. He has struggled this year in the Dominican Summer League, posting a 6.38 ERA in 16 relief appearances with 22 hits and 13 earned runs allowed in 18.1 innings.
Scott Barlow, RHP
Barlow was quietly one of the best closers in baseball the last two seasons with a 2.30 ERA and 40 saves in 140 appearances, but his velocity and control have regressed this year and resulted in a career-worst season. Barlow primarily pitches off his low-80s slider and mixes in an upper-70s curveball and low-90s fastball. He does a good job of avoiding hard contact, even with his decreased stuff, but needs to bring down his uncharacteristically high walk rate. He will help serve as a setup option for Josh Hader in the late innings and give the Padres needed bullpen depth down the stretch.