San Antonio pitching coach Jimmy Jones was only acquainted with Chris Paddack through game reports and infrequent video cutups. While watching Paddack's first Texas League start Saturday, Jones could quickly tell what he had in the right-hander.
"The way he pitched was what all the reports I was getting about him were saying," Jones said. "He was a guy that threw some quality strikes, he was always around the plate. I've kind of only known him for two days and he's been a pleasure to be with, but his stuff was really good tonight and for me, he had a competitive spirit out there and he never backs down. He was a pitcher out there, a competitive pitcher."
The Padres' eighth-ranked prospect allowed one hit -- a home run -- over six innings as the Missions defeated Arkansas, 7-2, at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
Gameday box score
The Austin, Texas, native debuted in front of a number of boisterous family members and spun 53 of his 79 pitches for strikes with five punchouts and a walk.
"I know he's on cloud nine being here," Jones said
He was limited to 80 to 85 pitches but stll made it through the sixth, which did not surprise his pitching coach.
"He's very efficient with his pitches," Jones said. "That's what I saw in Lake Elsinore, whether it was reading the reports or watching videos, he's always attacking the hitters and he's not really throwing it over the plate to let them hit it, he's trying to make pitches and he does. For me, that's a mature pitcher, a guy that doesn't just pitch to contact. ... He's so aggressive and so clean."
Video: Chris Paddack gets last K
The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder excelled in the in notoriously hitter-friendly California League, going 4-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 52 1/3 innings for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.
Paddack has made 11 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him for all of last season, shortly after he was acquired from the Marlins for veteran reliever Fernando Rodney in 2016.
Paddack's bread and butter is his fastball that features elite command, a trait which caught Jones' eye.
"I haven't seen him throw a whole lot but there's something about his fastball," the eight-year Major League veteran said. "He doesn't throw 99 mph... but there's some deception with his fastball. The ball gets on the hitters pretty quick. He was beating some of the hitters that are usually pretty good with fastballs."
His stock has skyrocketed this season: MLB.com's No. 96 overall prospect started the year at No. 22 in the Padres system.
On Saturday, Paddack settled in after Joey Curletta led off the second with his 15th homer, quickly dispatching the next six Travelers. A leadoff walk to Chuck Taylor in the fourth was quickly erased when Mariners No. 11 prospect Eric Filia hit into a double play. The 2015 eighth-round pick retired the final seven batters in order to wrap his Texas League debut.
Webster Rivas was 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored for the Missions, while Peter Van Gansen went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Ty France chipped in two hits, including a bases-loaded triple.