2020 Projection: Chris Paddack: Is He An Ace In The Making Or Will A Limited Arsenal Lead To Disaster?


The Padres’ Chris Paddack grabbed plenty of attention in 2020 as he made the leap from Double-A to the Majors and posted impressive numbers across the board:

140.2 IP
9 Wins
3.33 ERA
0.98 WHIP
153 Strikeouts (9.79 K/9)
31 Walks (1.98 BB/9)
40.2% Groundball Rate
.237 BABIP

Obviously the ERA and WHIP are going to grab your attention, but there are a lot of questions surrounding his ability to maintain them.  Right off the bat his BABIP is going to raise red flags, as it’s an obviously unmaintainable number regardless of anything else.  Considering his 42.1% Hard% the outlook gets a little bit worse, especially since you can argue that he has a limited arsenal at his disposal:

  • Fourseam Fastball – 61.04%
  • Changeup – 28.52%
  • Curveball – 10.44%

Opponents hit .267 against his curveball, which could be why he used it sparingly.  However if that can’t develop you have to wonder what kind of adjustments opposing hitters will make and how many times he’ll be able to get through a lineup.

That’s not to say that he’s going to fall off a cliff, considering his elite control (1.0 BB/9 throughout his minor league career) and ability to miss bats (11.4% SwStr%, 17.38% Whiff% on his changeup).  Is that enough, though?  Even pitching half his games in San Diego he wasn’t capable of keeping the ball in the ballpark, with a 1.47 HR/9 overall.  There was an obvious split, and there is hope for an improvement:

  • Home – 1.02
  • Road – 1.82

He should improve that road mark, at least slightly, and that will help to offset the expected regression in his luck.  However it all comes back to his ability to get through the lineup again and again.  Just look at his K/9 as he goes through a lineup:

  • First Time Through – 11.76
  • Second Time Through – 9.45
  • Third Time Through – 5.68

Clearly opposing hitters are making adjustments, and if he can’t develop that third pitch it’s an issue that will ultimately cost him.  It all comes together for the following projection heading into 2020:

2020 Projection:

175.0 IP, 11 W, 3.96 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 185 K (9.51 K/9), 41 BB (2.11 BB/9)

There’s a lot to like in that profile and it’s easy to anticipate a slightly better ERA (the projection has a .300 BABIP and 1.34 HR/9).  However the key is going to be the maturation of his pitches and his ability to add a dependable third pitch.  Generally we ignore the spring chatter about “best shape”, but if the narrative for Paddack is pitch development we’ll be a lot more bullish on his outlook.  As is, however, there’s a good chance that he ultimately gets overdrafted heading into the year.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here