Ryan Weathers, Taylor Trammell Draw Rave Reviews In Padres Summer Camp
SAN DIEGO—The Padres have one of the best collections of minor league talent in baseball.
Ask manager Jayce Tingler which of the young prospects has stood out to him the most in summer camp, and the first name off his lips is Ryan Weathers.
Weathers, the Padres No. 10 prospect, reportedly sat 95-97 mph over two innings in the Padres intrasquad game Sunday. That was up from the 91-93 mph he sat over two innings in the Padres On Deck Classic last fall.
The 20-year-old lefthander retired six of eight batters, all big leaguers, including strikeouts of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Francisco Mejia. It was Weathers’ second outing of summer camp after pitching a live batting practice last week.
“He looked like he belonged,” Tingler said. “He was on the attack. The stuff was really good and he didn’t look intimidated (or) fazed by being under the lights facing a big league lineup. He was very impressive.”
Weathers, the Padres first-round pick in 2018, went 3-7, 3.84 at low Class A Fort Wayne in his first full season last year. His velocity fluctuated throughout the season as he battled arm fatigue, dropping to 87-89 mph on his fastball at one point, and his fitness became a source of concern after he ballooned from 210 pounds to 230 pounds.
Tingler, the Padres first-year manager, said he felt Weathers looked good physically. As for Weathers’ stuff, it was clear the velocity concerns of last year are in the past.
“Everything that I heard was that last year he was kind of a 90-91 guy and … now this guy is sitting 96-97 with a quick, short arm, plus breaking ball and a good changeup as well,” Padres catcher Austin Hedges said. “I got a lot of feedback from the guys that were in there facing him saying ‘that stuff is really going to play.’ He’s 20 years old, just a baby. He’s got quite a bright future based off what I saw.”
TAYLOR TRAMMELL SHINES
Taylor Trammell made a positive impression during his first spring training with the Padres before camps shut down in March. He has carried that over into summer camp.
The Padres No. 4 prospect is drawing rave reviews from his manager. Considered a likely left fielder, he instead has shown the ability to ably play all three outfield positions. Most importantly, his bat is looking strong after he slumped to a .234/.340/.349 slash line last year.
“Where I personally enjoy him the most is in the batter’s box,” Tingler said. “He’s a very disciplined hitter. He can hit line drives to all three parts of the field. He goes with the pitch, he sees the zone well and he looks like he’s coming into his own. (I’m) just hoping he continues his career path and growth because he’s got a lot of things he can offer the game.”
Trammell, 22, was acquired by the Padres in the three-way trade that sent outfielder Franmil Reyes to the Indians and righthander Trevor Bauer from Cleveland to Cincinnati last year. The Padres made adjustments to Trammell’s load and posture after acquiring him and began to see results when he posted a .998 OPS in the Texas League playoffs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning of the decisive game of the championship series.
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TOP 100 CATCHER BATTLE
In a battle of former Top 100 prospects, Hedges and Mejia are fighting for the Padres’ starting catching job.
Hedges, who peaked at No. 27 on the BA Top 100 in 2014, remains one of the game’s elite defensive catchers but hit .176/.252/.311 last year, the lowest batting average and second-lowest on-base percentage of any player who received at least 300 plate appearances. Mejia, who rose as high as No. 20 on the BA Top 100 in 2018, took over as the Padres’ primary catcher in July and hit .305/.355/.511 after the all-star break, but his defense continues to draw lukewarm reviews, at best.
Tingler raised the point that who gets more playing time will depend not only on what the catchers do, but what happens around them. If the rest of the Padres’ hitters are performing, Hedges and his elite defense are more likely to be in the lineup. If the Padres offense is slumping, Mejia and his potent bat will find their way into the lineup.
“The one thing that we’re really focused on is how we play,” Tingler said. “If we’re averaging five runs a game and we’re crossing the dish frequently—we’re getting on base, we’re getting those guys in—then it’s going to shift a little bit defensively and the importance of limited runs.
“If this offense is not getting on base, if we cannot manage the zone, we’re going to have to get a little bit more aggressive on finding ways to cross the dish and to score runs.”
Tingler mentioned Luis Torrens, a Rule 5 pick in 2017, third in the catcher pecking order ahead of minor league veteran Webster Rivas. Ty France caught in spring training but will only see time behind the plate as the emergency catcher.