Padres roster review: Brad Wieck

Sizing up the Padres’ 40-man roster, from A to Z, heading into the 2018 season. BRAD WIECKPosition: Left-handed pitcher2018 Opening Day age: 26Bats/throws: L/LHeight/weight: 6-foot-9 / 255 poundsAcquired: From the Mets in March 2015 tradeContract status: Added to the 40-man roster in November 2017; has yet to make major league debutKey stats (R/AA/AAA): 2-1, 3.96 ERA, 7 saves, 61 Ks, 23 BBs, 1.42 WHIP, .221 opponent avg., 38 2/3 innings (41 games)STAT TO NOTE14.2 – Strikeouts per nine innings across three levels in 2017, a career-high. That number reached 15.0 per nine innings in his 30 2/3 innings at Double-A San Antonio. In 249 innings in the minors, Wieck is averaging 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings.TRENDINGUp – The player to be named later in the Alex Torres trade, Wieck was originally the Mets’ seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma City University in 2014. He arrived in 2015 and posted a 1.17 ERA in 61 1/3 innings in his first full year in the organization in 2016, striking out 93 as he moved from high Single-A Lake Elsinore to Double-A San Antonio for the first time. The breakout year earned Wieck a spot in the Arizona Fall League. Despite a 6.57 ERA in 12 1/3 innings there, Wieck was invited to big league camp the following spring and advanced to Triple-A El Paso in 2017. He struggled in the Pacific Coast League (8 ER in 7 IP) and missed a chunk of the season to a hamstring injury, but showed enough progress for the Padres to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this past November. Wieck was also more effective against right-handers (.169 opponent average) than left-handers in 2017 and fetched more than three outs in six relief appearances, so the Padres’ interest in him eclipses that of a LOOGY.2018 OUTLOOKThe tallest pitcher in the organization, Wieck’s height allows him to get extra angle and extension on a fastball that can touch 97 mph. He also throws a slider and change-up, providing the Padres with another interesting Continue Reading

Montana scores 20 to lead Aztecs over Rams, 97-78

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Even though he had walking pneumonia, senior captain Trey Kell wanted to help his San Diego State Aztecs end a rough three-game losing streak.Kell did more than OK, scoring 17 points as the Aztecs beat Colorado State 97-78 Wednesday night."I obviously wasn't 100 percent," Kell said. "I told coach I would play in short spurts if I could help the team."Max Montana scored a season-high 20 points to lead seven players in double figures for SDSU (12-7, 4-4 Mountain West). The Aztecs had lost their previous three games despite leading with five minutes to go in all three.Matt Mitchell had 15, Devin Watson, Jeremy Hemsley and Jalen McDaniels scored 11 apiece and Malik Pope had 10."I felt like everything was flowing tonight," Kell said. "There was no hesitation. Everyone was playing the right way. It was a big win for us. We had to get back on the winning track and it started tonight."The Aztecs had a 12-point lead 12 minutes into the game and were up 47-33 at halftime. This time, they didn't fritter it away. The Aztecs led by as many as 27 points in the second half and hit several 3-pointers, including two each by Kell and Montana, and one each from Mitchell and Watson.Montana made five of nine from behind the arc."It happens in basketball and we can't obsess over it," SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said about the losing streak. "We have to believe in the process and hang in there."Anthony Bonner scored 22 for Colorado State (10-12, 3-6), which lost its third straight. Nico Carvacho had 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Rams were without leading scorer Prentiss Nixon (17.9 points per game) for a second straight game after he had a high-ankle sprain in the final seconds of a 76-71 loss to Air Force last Wednesday night. He was on the bench in San Diego with a boot on his left ankle."We miss him. We miss him extremely," coach Larry Eustachy said. "He's the heart of our team. But we're doing the best we can without him. When we get him back I think we'll get Continue Reading

Young pitching prospects knocking on Padres’ door

Cal Quantrill is officially a San Diegan, the former first-round pick having moved his home from Canada to Del Mar this offseason.Might even become a big leaguer before too long.Once again, the Padres front office – via minor league deals instead of major league guarantees – has added veteran arms like Tyson Ross and Chris Young to the free-for-all for rotation spots this spring. New to the competition, however, is the initial wave of A.J. Preller-drafted arms that have a great deal to do with the farm system ranking among the game’s strongest.While the likes of Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi and Jacob Nix — all non-roster invitees for the first time — aren’t expected to win jobs outright this spring, their first invites to big league camp is the latest signal that the future is near.“That group of guys is beating on our door to be in our starting rotation,” Padres manager Andy Green said last week at FanFest. “They are not at the front of the line when we get to the season, but they are going to be names that we're going to look at and expect to see a lot of.”To date, Green has watched from afar with great anticipation.The first Preller-acquired talent arrived in a significant way in 2017 as Manuel Margot took over center field on a full-time basis, Carlos Asuaje got his first consistent action at second base and Phil Maton joined the bullpen as the first arrival from the 2015 draft class.As far as rotation help goes, inherited right-hander Dinelson Lamet joined the big league team last year as the top arms from the 2016 draft class – collegians in Quantrill, Lauer and Lucchesi – zoomed from A-ball to Double-A San Antonio in their first full year in pro ball.All three earned mid-season promotions to the Texas League after selections to the California League All-Star Game. The 22-year-old Nix, a high school third-rounder from the 2015 draft class, eventually joined that trio in San Antonio Continue Reading

Controversial radio host Dan Sileo will not be involved with Padres

According to a Padres spokesperson, the team has been “assured” that its radio content for the upcoming season will not include controversial sports-talk host Dan Sileo. Sileo recently left The Mighty 1090 and, according to people familiar with the situation, likely will join Entercom, the Padres’ radio partner. The possibility exists that Sileo, in a yet-to-be-announced capacity, and Padres games will be carried on the same station. Entercom operates several stations in San Diego. They include FM 94.9, the Padres’ home last season, and Energy 97.3, a potential destination for 2018. Both sides have considered a change in format. Bob Bolinger, vice president/market manager of Entercom San Diego, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The Padres do not have input on Entercom hires, and Sileo will not be a club employee. Per their agreement, Entercom also supplies the personnel and format for pre- and post-game shows. The Padres determine in-game content. Radio broadcasters Ted Leitner, Jesse Agler and Tony Gwynn Jr. are expected to return in 2018. Speculation — and, in some circles, outcry — about Sileo’s next job has heightened, even as Sileo has increased his activity on social media. On Thursday, Sileo joined the masses chiming in on reports that President Donald Trump slurred immigrants from certain countries, tweeting a link to a news story along with the following comment: “TELL me this is NOT FUNNY!!” Sileo, who has a history of controversial statements, faced allegations of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism in prior workplaces. Between 2012 and 2013, he was fired by three Florida radio stations, once for remarks he made on air and twice for things he tweeted. He landed with The Mighty 1090, the Padres’ former flagship station, in early 2014. “I’ve stepped on my(self) so many times in this business,” Sileo told the Union-Tribune in an interview that year. “But I Continue Reading

Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt will also try to regularly pitch this season

Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt lit up the radar gun last season when called upon to pitch in garbage time. In 2017, he’ll be testing his arm in more meaningful action. Bethancourt will try to both pitch and catch regularly this season for the Padres, according to the USA Today. San Diego manager Andy Green and general manager A.J. Preller came up with the idea after Bethancourt pitched twice in a two-week span in 2016, allowing no runs and one hit over 1.2 inning in the two appearances. More important than scoreless performances, though, was the velocity. Bethancourt’s fastball topped out at 96 miles per hour and averaged 92.1 mph. His two-seam fastball averaged 93.3 mph, according to Fangraphs. Those numbers primarily prompted the decision from management. “This is an opportunity to do something nobody else in the game does, catch and pitch,” Green said. “It’s almost like that Little League mentality: ‘Hey, I’ll do whatever. I just want to help the team win.’” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is the most notable and successful example of a position player transitioning into pitching. As has been noted ad nauseam, Jansen was a minor-league catcher before taking the mound, learning to throw a nasty cutter and developing into one of the most dominant relievers in the game. Bethancourt’s task will be a little more difficult. He will remain the Padres backup catcher behind Austin Hedges while also serving as a relief option for Green. According to USA Today, after working on his pitching during the offseason and spring training, Bethancourt now throws 97-98 mph and features a slider and a changeup. Before last season, Bethancourt last pitched when he was 12 years old and a star player for the Panama Little League World Series team in 2004. “It’s strange because I felt comfortable, not like it was the first time I was doing it or like it was Continue Reading

Wilmer Flores helps Mets overcome Jeurys Familia’s blown save in walk-off win over Padres

It wasn’t quite as dramatic as his walk-off homer last season, but the Mets will take it from folk hero Wilmer Flores. Flores hit a walk-off fielder’s choice in the 11th inning Saturday night, scoring Neil Walker and giving the Mets a badly needed 3-2 win over the Padres after Jeurys Familia wasted Jacob deGrom’s seven strong innings by blowing a save with two outs in the ninth. The infielder hit a grounder to second baseman Ryan Schimpf with runners on first and third and one out, and despite a clear chance at a double play with James Loney on first, Schimpf threw home to try to get Walker at the plate and missed wildly. The Mets (58-58) snapped a four-game losing streak and are now 2.5 games out of the second wild-card spot in the National League. The walk-off RBI was the fifth of Flores’ career and the first since his famous home run, the same day the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes on the July 31 trade deadline last year against the Nationals, two days after Flores cried on the field after hearing he might be traded to the Brewers. “I thought he was going to turn two,” Flores said. “That’s one of the things about putting the ball in play: anything can happen.” Schimpf, who hit two homers on Friday, admitted afterward he made the wrong play. “In that situation, once I heard the broken bat, I just decided to make a decision to come in and make the play at home, and I kind put myself in a bad position to make the throw,” Schimpf said. “Looking back on it now, we had a chance to turn two, and I let us down tonight, and just got to learn from it and not let it happen again.” It was a fortunate turn of events for the Mets, rare as of late. “We’ve lost so many tough games, so many close games; late in the game something happens and we lose a one-run game,” Terry Collins said. “So Continue Reading

Zack Wheeler collects career-high 12 strikeouts as Marlon Byrd double pushes Mets past Padres

METS 4, PADRES 1 SAN DIEGO -- It’s trust. That's what was the big difference for Zack Wheeler in his 11th major league game. The rookie righthander is learning to trust himself and his pitches against big-league hitters. Even though he didn’t have his best stuff, Wheeler went out and overpowered the Padres for a career night. Wheeler struck out a career-high 12 batters in six innings as the Mets beat the Padres 4-1 in the series opener at Petco Park Thursday. After being swept by the Dodgers, the Mets (55-64) rebounded to 3-4 on this 11-game, four-city road trip with the win. It was the second straight loss for the Padres (54-67) Marlon Byrd’s two-run double over Padres right fielder Chris Denorfia’s head in the eighth broke up the 1-1 tie, and John Buck snapped a 25-game home-run drought in the ninth to give Scott Atchison, who pitched a scoreless seventh, the win. Gonzalez Germen picked up the save, the first of his career, with two innings work. Wheeler took his fourth no-decision after going six innings. He allowed one run on seven hits. He walked one. The 12 strikeouts topped the mark he set in his major-league debut in Atlanta in June. “When I first came up I was just trying to do too much," Wheeler explained. " ‘Oh I got to hit the outside corner to this guy’ or ‘I got to throw hard in to this guy,’ when you just have to throw it inside and let your ball run and do its own thing. “You don’t have to make the perfect pitch on the slider all the time, just throw it and trust it’s gonna break.” At 23 years old, Wheeler is the youngest Mets pitcher with a dozen strikeouts in a game since Dwight Gooden struck out 13 on June 13, 1986 as a 21-year-old. Wheeler is one of four Mets who have had 12 or more strikeouts in a game within their first 11 major-league starts, joining Gooden, Nolan Ryan and Dick Selma. Buck said he has seen Wheeler start to build that confidence Continue Reading

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees take over top spot as winning streak hits nine games, Dodgers, Rangers round out top-3

It's not that the Dodgers did anything wrong last week — they still have the majors' best record — but the Yankees just don't lose anymore and we've decided to "respect the streak." Yes, "Bull Durham" was on last night. Anyway, the Yankees have won nine in a row, have been getting such good starting pitching it's like R.A. Dickey starts every day for them and have the best record in the American League, the better of the two big leagues. Ergo, they have moved up into the top spot in our MLB Power Rankings. With six games this week against National League teams — the Braves and Mets — the winning could continue, too. Are the Yanks really this good? Check back with us in a few weeks. Now we rank 'em: 1. New York Yankees (40-25, last week No. 5): Their rotation is 11-1 with a 1.97 ERA in June and CC Sabathia's only been OK. 2. Los Angeles Dodgers (42-25, last week No. 1): Took two of three from a fellow division leader — the White Sox — over the weekend. 3. Texas Rangers (40-27, last week No. 3): Rangers are averaging 5.3 runs, tops in baseball. 4. Washington Nationals (38-26, last week No. 2): Will the Nats be up here all year? That's a clown question, bro. 5. Baltimore Orioles (39-27, last week No. 7): Still don't believe they're for real? That's a clown way of thinking, bro. 6. Cincinnati Reds (38-27, last week No. 10): Six straight wins against fringy contenders Indians and Mets. Joey Votto making an out seems as rare as an eclipse. 7. Tampa Bay Rays (37-29, last week No. 4): Rays start a nine-game road trip with a series in Washington beginning Tuesday. 8. San Francisco Giants (37-30, last week No. 8): Bruce Bochy believes Tim Lincecum will be the old Timmy soon. A top 10 spot might hinge on Bochy — and Lincecum — being right. 9. Los Angeles Angels (36-31, last week No. 13): Angels have won 18 of 24. Now we believe. 10. Atlanta Braves (35-31, last week No. 6): Surge, fall back, Continue Reading

Padres provide valuable lesson as San Diego is only game-and-a-half and $173 million behind Yankees

Their names are Will Venable, out of Princeton University, Chase Headley and Nick Hundley, who sound as if they could once have starred in "The O.C.," and Everth Cabrera and Clayton Richard. And if you don't know what they have in common, don't beat yourself up, you're not a bad baseball fan. You don't know Venable and Headley and Hundley and Cabrera and Richard were in the starting lineup for the Padres on Wednesday night against the Cubs because nobody outside of San Diego and the real O.C. knows that, either. But who they are, going into play on Thursday, is the best record in baseball after the Yankees and the Rays. The Padres spend $173 million less on baseball players than the Yankees do and nearly $25 million less than even the Rays do and you know what they really become if they hang on to win the National League West and maybe even make it to the World Series this year? One of the great baseball stories of all times. It is the kind of Moneyball story that can only still exist in baseball because there is no salary cap. Even though down the road - like when we get to the next collective bargaining agreement - the leaders of the Players Association might have to explain why they are threatening to go out on strike so the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman and the Yankees get to spend as much as they want every year. The Padres' payroll is right around $37 million. When the Marlins shocked the world by beating the Yankees and winning the World Series in 2003, they were at $48 million. If you are keeping score at home, $37 million isn't as much as A-Rod and Jeter make on the left side of the Yankees' infield. So my favorite race in baseball isn't the one between the Yankees and the Rays for the best record in the sport, it's the one between the Yankees and Bud Black's Padres. Coming into Thursday' play, the standings in that two-team race looked like this: Yankees 74-46. Padres  72-47. Game-and-a-half separating them. That and $173 million. Continue Reading

Padres’ Wells set to pitch with diabetes

PEORIA, Ariz. - Padres lefthander David Wells has Type 2 diabetes, which the team says is controllable."It's something he'll have to manage and something we'll have to help him manage," chief executive officer Sandy Alderson said yesterday. "It's not unprecedented by any means."Wells was diagnosed two weeks ago, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.Asked if he feels less energy at times, Wells said: "It depends." He declined further comment.Manager Bud Black said Wells needs to meet with doctors."From what I've been told, it'll be manageable," Black said.Wells has pitched for eight teams, including the Yankees in '97-98 and '02-03. The 43-year-old old signed a one-year contract in January to return to his hometown Padres as the No.5 starter. The 6-3, 248-pound Wells has often battled his weight, and was scratched from a start late last season due to gout in his right foot. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading