With the trade of Blake Snell to the Padres in return for headliner Luis Patino, the Padres send a clear message to the Dodgers, while the Rays continue to try and operate the “moneyball” approach. The Rays also received Francisco Mejía, Blake Hunt and Cole Wilcox.
While most were not shocked with Snell moving on, he’s been rumored for some time, but the Padres sending Luis Patino intrigued me quite a bit. Patino is a top 20 prospect that saw his first big league action this year. It didn’t go as planned, starting in the bullpen, but the Padres needed arms at that time, even with Patino being rushed to the Majors.
Patino was barely considered a AA ball player, having only 7.2 innings of AA, the bulk of his career was A+ and below. A strikeout artist, his career minors ERA of 2.35 over 234 innings, he amassed 279 strikeouts. Patino is still only 20 and pre 2020, Baseball America ranked him at #18. There’s just a lot to like about this kid.
Here’s what Fangraphs said about him:
Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 60
Patiño’s velocity came on in a huge way as he got on a pro strength program and he’s added 40 pounds of good weight and about 10 ticks of velo since he signed. He’s a charismatic autodidact who has taken a similarly proactive approach to learning a new language (he became fluent in English very quickly, totally of his own volition) as he has to incorporating little tricks and twists into his delivery (he’s borrowed from Mac Gore) to mess with hitters. Were this a college prospect, he’d be in the conversation for the draft’s top pick, and I’m very comfortable projecting on the command and changeup because of the athleticism/makeup combination. I expect Patiño will reach the big leagues this year in a bullpen capacity and compete for a rotation spot in 2021.
That’s high praise folks. I like Patino and he gets rave reviews across the board. Here’s what Jeff Passan said about him:
Tampa Bay's return:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 28, 2020
Luis Patiño: Sits 97, T100, wipeout slider
Francisco Mejia: Buying low on a former top 10 prospect at a position of need
Cole Wilcox: Got $3.3M this year as a third rounder with clear first-round talent and upside
Blake Hunt: See below. https://t.co/h7dIhlf8SE
This was a no brainer for the Rays. I don’t think they even hesistated too much once they got this proposal. Snell was a large chunck of thier payroll. Now, with a little more seasoning, Patino could fill Snell’s role as the ace in the near future. Perhaps by the end of 2021. They also now have some cash available to get some more pieces they need.