Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet may not be among Major League Baseball’s household names yet, but it could be only a matter of time before he joins those ranks. While Lamet hasn’t come close to preventing runs at an elite clip since he made his MLB debut in 2017, he has shown flashes that suggest a true breakout may not be out of the question.
Now 27 years old, Lamet caught on with the Padres out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. The franchise brought in Lamet, then 21, for $100K two years after a deal with the Phillies fell through. San Diego has since benefited from that fairly low-risk move.
After ascending through the minors, where he didn’t garner a significant amount of Triple-A experience, Lamet showed off a tantalizing fastball-slider mix during his first taste of MLB action three years ago. He wound up making 21 starts and tossing 114 1/3 innings of 4.57 ERA/4.35 FIP ball with 10.94 K/9 and 4.25 BB/9.
The hope, of course, was that Lamet would build on his respectable first-year effort the next season. Instead, though, he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in April 2018. The procedure cost Lamet that entire year and the majority of his last season, but he enjoyed an extremely promising showing after returning July 4.
Lamet shook off the rust with 14 starts and 73 frames of 4.07 ERA/3.91 FIP pitching. Those run prevention totals may not look sensational, but a deeper dive gives reason to believe that Lamet will continue his rise. Not only did Lamet cut his walk rate (3.7 per nine), but his strikeout rate rose to a jaw-dropping 12.95. Among 146 starters who threw at least 70 innings, Lamet ranked behind only Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale in K/9. His strikeout percentage (33.6) trailed just Cole, Sale, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Mike Clevinger. The other members of the top 10? Blake Snell, Lucas Giolito, Jacob deGrom and Robbie Ray. With the exceptions of Lamet and Ray (a solid starter in his own right), there isn’t a single pitcher there who’s not a front-line option.
Adding to the good news, Lamet was something of a Statcast hero during his abbreviated 2019. Take a look at where he ranked in these categories…
- Hard-hit rate: 69th percentile
- Expected weighted on-base average: 71st percentile
- Average exit velocity: 77th percentile
- Curve spin: 79th percentile
- Fastball spin: 81st percentile
- Average fastball velocity: 89th percentile
- Strikeout percentage: 93rd percentile
Well above average across the board. Lamet got there owing in part to an increase in velo (his average fastball reached 96.1 mph) and a slider that, according to Fangraphs’ pitch values, was among the most dominant offerings of its kind. As Ben Clemens of FanGraphs explained last August, Lamet was benefiting at the time from adding a second slider to his repertoire.
Lamet’s repertoire may have him on the cusp of busting out, though he’ll have to get the home runs under control. Granted, last season was a homer-happy year across baseball, but Lamet’s HR-to-fly ball percentage (19.7) was still bloated compared to most starters’. And that’s not going to work for someone who has induced grounders at a paltry 36.8 percent rate since he first set foot in the majors.
Aside from a need to cut down on HRs moving forward, Lamet also must show he can continue to stay healthy. That’s obviously not always easy for any hurler, let alone one with such a serious surgery in his past. But if Lamet can hold up, the Padres may have a potential breakout starter on their hands. That would be all the more welcome for a team that already has Chris Paddack fronting its rotation with MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino among its prospects getting closer to the bigs.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
I have 3 suggestions on breakout candidates, Nick Solak, Jordan Yamamoto, and Jose Urquidy.
Maybe even Isiah Kiner-Falefa, I’m really high on him.
This is a Padres post, pinhead. Got anything to say about Lamet? No? Then keep it short, Shorty. The Rangers ain’t got it.
You can post on other team’s threads, you do realize that. BTW all the people I listed aren’t Rangers , I was just giving my suggestions to the writers at MLBTR for who I’d like to see on these Breakout Candidate posts.
Just because you got a Padres alert, doesn’t mean it’s Padres post. It’s a Lamet post or it’s a breakout post. Definitely not a Padres post.
Get Off My Mound
@Rangers29 But Kiner-Falefa is a Ranger tho?
Lamet will suck in 2020
No he won’t. This guy has serious talent.
you must be a Gnat fan
Lamet has become almost too trendy. He has a chance to be decent but some Padre fans need to slow their roll with him.
Lamet already is decent. He has a chance to be awesome. He has the goods to become a true ACE. A’s fans go crazy over Puk. Why shouldn’t Padres fans go crazy over Lamet? They have very similar stuff and very similar numbers, but Lamet has a much larger sample size. He looks very much like a breakout candidate.
And theres part of the problem tossing around ace like nothing. 99 percent of starting pitchers in the majors has potential and stuff to be an ace. Lamet has to show a lot more than he has to get there. Puk is left handed so they aren’t comparable.
K/9-over 12, BB/9-right around 4, FB that touches 100 and 2 of the best sliders in mlb. Other than Lamet being RH and Puk being LH, how are they different Afk711?
Lamet has been dominating on a regular basis recently. If he can cut down on or eliminate his occasional bad to terrible game he is exactly what you want in an ACE. 90-95% of the pitchers in mlb don’t have the stuff and never have a game where they truly dominate the opposition and make them look stupid. Lamet does so frequently.
LOL are you talking about Lamet or Max Scherzer? How about he keeps his ERA under 4 before you call it “frequently domonating the opposition”
Get Off My Mound
@Javia Just seems like you wanted to hate on A’s pitching and spout nonsense about a decent pitcher ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Did you see me say anything negative about Puk at all? I compared him to Lamet and I am a big fan of Lamet.
The padres have no more than 6 players on their team that will be on their team if they ever get good. Especially their pitchers.
If the Padres bother you why are you here?
The Padres need some breakout starting pitching, and breakout hitting. Somebody needs to earn their money. Might as well be Lamet. I’m all for it. Go Padres.
It’s not a Padres post, so “Go Padres” is not applicable to this thread.
Lamet is a Padres pitcher moron.
This post has under 30 comments as I post this, read all of them and you’ll see you are missing some critical information of this battle between Longboarder and nymetsking
Lamet has become the overrated-underrated guy. The guy everyone believes is so underrated, he actually becomes overrated due to how underrated he is.
Not to be confused with the underrated-overrated guy. The guy who everyone believes is so overrated, he actually becomes underrated due to how overrated he is. Kinda like the Chris Archer article from the other day.
It also works Vice-versa. Michael Pineda has kind of been that way his entire career too (minus the PED suspensions), he actually had a pretty decent season last year, and it went really under the radar.
Don’t click if it bothers you so much.
Who’s bothered? I love the breakout candidate series
Two of the players in this series (Lamet and Archer) are on my fantasy team. I feel like I’m doomed…if the season ever starts again.
Rich Hill’s Elbow
I’ve got Lamet and Paddack, not really sure if I should be excited or nervous.
Paddack is lightyears better then Archer.
I think Lamet is a lot more consistent than Paddack at this point. Paddack gets hammered from time to time. Of course, Lamet is 27 while Paddack is 23, so I guess that’s to be expected.
I feel.like if things don’t change soon this list will become the most likely to test positive next.
I’m not being anti sabermetrics but how valid is the flyball/home run ratio? Im reaching back some years but HOF caliber guys such as Fergie Jenkins and Catfish Hunter were always among the leaders in home runs allowed, however it was often a bases empty shot.
HR/FB is a metric that typically shows correlations not overall talent. If a guy usually has a 15% HR/FB rate and then has a random year where it’s 25%, one could make the assumption it would return to normal the next year, and then put the previous year’s production in context. (i.e. He had an ERA spike but his HR/FB doubled meaning it could have just been an unlucky year.) However if a guy is a 15% HR/FB guy and then puts up 2-3 years in a row of 25% HR/FB rates then one could assume stuff or command has changed and he is now a worse pitcher.
High FB/HR rates also don’t mean a bad pitcher, as a sinker baller may have a high HR/FB rate due to the fact that he doesn’t give up many fly balls, and if 1 in 3 fly balls are homers but he only gives up 30 fly balls all year, then that’s not a lot of HRs at all.
Analysts isn’t necessarily about saying how productive a guy is, it is more used to project production over future years. FOs are essentially making educated guesses, and since a lot of what happens to the baseball after it leaves the pitchers hand is luck, they try to use all the information they can to make those guesses.
That is one of the better explanations I’ve read.
Well Connor Byrne….if your intent was to stir up a hornets nest….mission accomplished!
My opinion….Padres Fans….root for your team and the individuals that make up that team but you need to understand that most of the rest of us MLB fans are pretty tired of hearing about all the “potential”on or in the Padres system….all the while winning nothing. Padres farm system….blah, blah, blah….rumors about each and every free agent coming to the Padres…blah, blah, blah,….a GM that is NEVER satisfied with the completion of the team….. When one of your guys, either pitchers or position players dominate their positions as compared to the rest of the league……when you win something….then talk….until then….root but don’t denigrate others that differ with Padre player evals.
You are a hero, preemptively telling a whole fan base how to react to criticism.
It’s also super ironic how you have a tantrum every time someone makes even the most well-thought Yankees criticism. Hypocrisy – 1; self-awareness – 0.
Wow. A YANKEES fan is tired of hearing about all of the stuff written about the PADRES? That’s a new one. Yes pot, the kettle is black.
You think that those of us in San Diego aren’t tired of hearing about “potential”? I want to see some of these guys start having breakout years in SD, not somewhere else like Grandal and Trea Turner.
Add Luis Urias to that list in 2020. Or 2021 if COVID-19 ends up cancelling the whole season.
Urias will be a good .240 hitter lifetime with ave. D
Trea Turner, Max Fried and Luis Urias. 3 strikes and Preller’s out.
Fernando Tatis, Chris Paddack and Trent Grisham far, far more than make up for it.
Grisham? What has that guy ever done in his career to this point besides blow the 2019 Wild Card game for Milwaukee?
Turner is far better than Tatis.
On Fried vs. Paddack, you might have a case there. It will be interesting to see where their respective careers go from here. But even then it won’t “far far more than make up for” trading away Trea Turner and Luis Urias.
What has Grisham done in his career? Well, what has Urias done in his career? They are at the same point in their careers, neither has done anything, so they are a wash so far.
Turner is far better than Tatis? I think every manager and executive in baseball would disagree with you strenuously on that point. Turner will give you 10-15 more SB and Tatis will give you 10-15 more HR. Which do you think most baseball people would rather have?
Grisham was a non-prospect who had three good months in a hitter’s league in early 2019. Urias got better and better with each month in 2019. Completely ridiculous that you would try to include Grisham in your list of players that “far far more than make up for” Preller’s horrible trades.
Trea Turner is a World Series champion. Fernando Tatis Jr is always hurt.
And another thing. Turner wasn’t traded for Tatis. So we could have had both.
Rock7 And who died and left you the head spoke person? plus your tag name is a laughing matter
Lamet will suck in 2020, like most Padres players.
That is one serious crystal ball you got there
larry48 I sense some real envy in your tone
The Padres score so few runs, they are negative run differential which makes pitchers know if they give up 4 runs they will lose. this works on their head
If Lamet can lower his ERA to 3.75 it would be a nice improvement. Then I’d start to buy on possible future dominance. It sure would be nice if he can find a decent groundball pitch.
He’s going to need it for Profar’s yippie arm and to a lesser extent, Tatis.
I guess all this banter is useless since there won’t be any baseball this year, you do realize that right!!