Luis Patino Learns From Early Struggles
Righthander Luis Patiño sat in the mid-80s when the Padres signed him out of Colombia for a modest $130,000, which was a drop in the bucket during San Diego's 2016-17 international spending spree.
Today, the 20-year-old touches 99 mph because he focused on developing his lower half long before turning pro.
"I run for 45 minutes every single day,” Patiño said. "That’s the best thing I do in the offseason to improve my (velocity). I work on my body a lot in Colombia.”
The origins of Patiño’s regimen stem back to running at local soccer fields with his father. The perks of a professional program—adequate nutrition, properly designed weight training programs and honed mechanics—allowed Patiño’s stuff to trend upwards significantly after joining the Padres.
So much so that Patiño jumped from the Dominican Summer League to the Rookie-level Arizona League in his debut season of 2017. He reached low Class A Fort Wayne the next season at age 18.
Patiño enters 2020 ranked as the No. 18 prospect in baseball. But his introduction to the California League at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2019 was bumpy.
"He wasn’t getting the same chases off the plate,” former Storm pitching coach Pete Zamora said last year. "Once we funneled everything back to the plate— and he’s done a ton of work with the changeup—it’s been dominating.”
Patiño paired his fastball and developing changeup with a swing-and-miss slider and an average curveball to lower his ERA to 2.69 through 87 innings at the time of his late-season promotion to Double-A Amarillo.
Patiño made two starts in the Texas League before the Padres shut him down at a career high 94.2 innings. He also was contending with a blister.
"This is a process," Patiño said of his initial struggle in the Cal League. ". . . . and you need to pay attention to what you do bad and work every single day on the little things.
"I feel good now. I started bad, but I finished good. One of the things we say with the Padres is, 'I don’t care where you start. It’s where you finish.' "
Among the Padres’ top-10 prospects, LHP MacKenzie Gore (1), Patiño (2), OF Taylor Trammell (4) and C Luis Campusano(^) (5) received non-roster invitations to big league camp. Other notables who will start spring training on the big league side of the Padres’ Peoria, Ariz., complex include infielder Owen Miller, infielder Hudson Potts and right-hander Reggie Lawson(^).