Just last week, the Padres talked about how quickly Joey Lucchesi could move through their system. They were not joking.San Diego is calling up its No. 9 prospect to make his Major League debut in the second game of the season Friday against the Brewers, the team announced before its
Just last week, the Padres talked about how quickly Joey Lucchesi could move through their system. They were not joking.
San Diego is calling up its No. 9 prospect to make his Major League debut in the second game of the season Friday against the Brewers, the team announced before its season opener Thursday. Lucchesi will have to be added to the Padres' 25- and 40-man rosters. He'll take the place of the injured Dinelson Lamet in the Padres rotation.
Lucchesi, a 2016 fourth-rounder out of Southeast Missouri State, was a standout in his first Major League camp as a non-roster invitee. The 24-year-old left-hander allowed only two earned runs and struck out nine in 11 2/3 innings over four appearances. He struggled with his control, walking five, but held Cactus League hitters to a .128 average. The Major League staff took notice.
"He has a competitive nature, ability to focus on the mound," manager Andy Green told reporters Thursday. "There's real deception to his stuff. The big thing for him is to pitch like he always has. We have tons of confidence in Joey starting and being a part of the rotation for a long time."
Lucchesi is also coming off a dominant first full campaign in the Minor Leagues last season. He was a MiLB.com Organization All-Star in a loaded Padres system after posting a 2.20 ERA with 148 strikeouts and only 33 walks over 139 innings with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. His 0.97 WHIP was seventh-lowest among all Minor League full-season hurlers.
The 6-foot-5 southpaw has a unique delivery out of the windup, with lots of movement (including raising his arms well above his head before settling in) that provides deception. As a result, Double-A left-handed hitters batted just .129 against him last season, though right-handed hitters won't boast about their .239 average either. As unusual as his delivery looks, Lucchesi is able to show impressive control with three above-average pitches in his fastball, curveball and changeup.
Because of his advanced age and arsenal, San Diego believed Lucchesi could climb the ladder quickly in his second full pro season but were impressed enough this spring to speed things up even further.
"Our scouts definitely identified him as a guy who can move quickly [through the organization], and we've seen that," director of player development Sam Geaney told MiLB.com's Josh Jackson last week. "We have not had to do a whole lot with Joey. He came to us a little older but very advanced -- command of three pitches [fastball, curveball, changeup] -- three real pitches. He does it a little differently. In this case, he knows his delivery and he repeats it. I think it's very much a positive that it's a unique look."
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.