The Padres announced this afternoon that they’ve designated left-hander Buddy Baumann for assignment in order to open roster space for southpaw Eric Lauer, who’ll start for San Diego in his MLB debut tonight. Additionally, first baseman Eric Hosmer has been placed on the family medical leave list.
Baumann, 30, gave the Padres 27 1/3 innings of quality relief from 2016-17, averaging 10.2 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 with a 2.96 earned run average. But he was hit hard in his lone outing this season, retiring just one of the six men he faced and yielding five runs (two earned) on a pair of hits and a pair of walks (in addition to an error committed behind him). Baumann’s big league experience is limited to the past three years, but he has a strong track record in Triple-A: a 3.15 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 in 257 1/3 innings there.
As for Lauer, the 22-year-old former first-rounder (25th overall, 2016) becomes the latest potential core piece for the Padres to reach the Major Leagues. He’s considered among the top 15 farmhands in a stacked Padres system, ranking 12th at MLB.com and Baseball America and eighth per both ESPN’s Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus. Lauer has made three starts in Triple-A this year and turned in a 3.00 ERA with a 19-to-6 K/BB ratio and a 40.9 percent ground-ball rate. Scouting reports on him vary, of course, but the general consensus on the southpaw is that while he lacks a true out pitch, he has a fairly high floor and is a near-MLB-ready fourth or fifth starter.
As the Padres have demonstrated with Joey Lucchesi thus far in the young season, they’re not afraid to make an aggressive promotion and give a young arm the opportunity to claim a spot in the long-term rotation picture if performance dictates. With Luis Perdomo recently being optioned after an ugly start to the season, Lauer should have the opportunity to claim a spot alongside Lucchesi, Clayton Richard, Bryan Mitchell and Tyson Ross.