Name: Luis Patino, RHP
Status: Class A Advanced, California League, Lake Elsinore Storm
Scouting: Luis Patino isn’t the flashiest prospect around, but he has the stuff to be a number 3 starter. With a plus fastball that sits at 95, an above average curveball and slider, and a change that needs a little work, Patino finds himself a forgotten piece of a very deep Padres system. But he might just be the piece you’re looking for.
He’s just 19-years-old, but already boasts the build of a power pitcher. He’s athletic and mature, athletically, so all that’s left is to hone his skills. The key piece for Patino is his control, which gets away from him at times.
Stats: After a promotion to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore to begin the season, Patino has been a model of consistency, allowing 3 or fewer earned runs in each of his 13 starts in 2019. He’s struck out 80 in 61.1 innings, while limiting opponents to a .196 batting average with just 4 long balls.
When added all up, you’ve got an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.21,the “W” in “WHIP” clearly inflating that figure, as we’ll discuss in a moment. Patino’s xFIP sits at an impressive 2.91.
He’s built upon a solid 2018 campaign in which he turned in a 2.16 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP with 98 K’s across 83.1 innings.
As previously mentioned, the major knock on Patino is his control. He’s handed out 72 free passes in 200.2 career innings thus far in the minor leagues.
If you’re invested in Patino, or plan to be, keep an eye on the walks and one other thing. In 2018, he turned in a 1.19 GB/FB ratio, keeping the ball on the ground and out of the seats. However, that ratio has plummeted to 0.76 in 2019, the first stop at which he’s allowed more fly balls than he’s induced grounders. If that walk rate doesn’t come down, and those fly balls turn into homers, we could see a spike in ERA and his stock would fall.
Summary: Patino is currently ranked 40th on MLB.com’s prospect rankings. It surprised me to see his name above more known pitching prospects like Liberatore, Honeywell, and Sheffield, but he’s been very dependable and has earned some notoriety. If he can cut down on the walks while continuing to keep fly balls from reaching the seats, we could be looking at a higher ceiling than originally expected.