The Padres #5 ranked prospect per MLB.com (#34 overall) is angling to get the nod on Opening Day, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Chris Paddack threw four scoreless innings, which included a stretch in which he struck out five consecutive Oakland A’s batters in his most recent spring start. Last season, Paddack made seven starts in Double-A after cruising through High-A, where he notched an eye-popping 14.3 K/9 versus 0.7 BB/9 in 52 1/3 innings. Double-A didn’t slow him much, going 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 7 starts, 8.8 K/9 to 1.0 BB/9. Still, from Double-A to an Opening Day start would be quite the jump for the 23-year-old, just a year removed from missing all of 2017 to Tommy John surgery. The competition is fairly wide open, however, as the Padres, by design, brought very little in the way of established talent to camp. Since the offseason departures of veterans Clayton Richard (traded to Blue Jays) and Tyson Ross (signed with Tigers), Robbie Erlin boasts the most experience in the group, and he’s not even a lock to make the rotation. Fellow southpaws Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer each have a shot to get the Opening Day nod, as well. Let’s check in on the Rangers’ and Cubs’ camps as teams begin to whittle their spring rosters…
- The Rangers culled their number of players in camp to 60. Pitchers Taylor Guerrieri, Michael Tonkin, Miguel Del Pozo and Brady Feigl were all assigned to minor league camp, per the Rangers’ executive VP of communications John Blake (via Twitter). Guerrieri, 26, joined the Rangers after making his major league debut last season with the Blue Jays. A former first round pick of the Rays, he was a starter in the minor leagues until missing most of the 2017 season due to injury. Toronto claimed him off waivers before last season, where started 7 games in Triple-A before appearing 9 times out of the Blue Jays pen, pitching to a 5.02 FIP in a small-sample 9 2/3 big league innings. Tonkin, 29, appeared in parts of five seasons for the Twins from 2013 to 2017 with a 4.57 FIP across 141 games. Del Pozo, 26, reached as far as Double-A in the Marlins system before joining the Rangers as a non-roster invitee. While Feigl, 28, is back in the Rangers system where he has pitched for the past two seasons.
- The Cubs made a number of roster moves today, with promising righties Adbert Alzolay and Jen-Ho Tseng being optioned to Triple-A, while Justin Steele and Oscar De La Cruz were sent to Double-A, per the Athletic’s Patrick Mooney (Twitter links). Also on the move, Duncan Robinson, Ian Clarkin, Colin Rea, Ian Rice, Charcer Burks and Jacob Hannemann are being moved to minor league camp (Twitter link). Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter) adds Craig Brooks, Alberto Baldonado and Evan Marzilli to the list of players headed to minor league camp. The Cubs spring roster has now been cut to 54.
- Rob Scahill, meanwhile, was released outright by the Cubs, per Mooney (via Twitter). Scahill has pitched at the big league level for parts of seven seasons running, topping out at 31 appearances in 2016 spread between Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. In total, the 32-year-old boasts a career 3.95 ERA (4.67 FIP) in 124 games for Rockies, Pirates, Brewers and White Sox.