Paddack did not allow a run in three innings of work in a Cactus League matchup against the White Sox on Monday. He gave up two hits and one walk while striking out one. Paddack not only held the White Sox scoreless in the start, he did so while working on his worst pitch. Per Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune, Paddack threw curveballs on nine of 42 pitches as part of a committed effort to improve his third offering. Should he find success with the pitch this season, the 24-year-old could further distinguish himself among the game's best young hurlers.
Paddack is focusing on improving his curveball in spring training, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports. Per Cassavell, Paddack's curve was tighter than usual in his initial Cactus League start Wednesday. His velocity on the pitch also ticked into the high 70s after averaging 76.1 mph last season. A refined curveball could be the key to Paddack taking his game to the next level after an impressive rookie campaign. Per Statcast, opposing batters hit .267 against the pitch last season in contrast to the paltry .198 mark they registered against his other offerings.
Paddack pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring-training appearance Wednesday, allowing one hit and striking out three in a win over Cleveland. Paddack was dominant in the first inning, throwing strikes on nine of 10 pitches and picking up two punchouts. He gave up a double to ex-teammate Franmil Reyes leading off the second inning but retired the following three batters in order. Per Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune, manager Jayce Tingler jokingly indicated that Paddack won't be throwing 250 innings this season -- no MLB pitcher has accomplished that feat since 2011 -- but he should have no restrictions as he looks to build upon an outstanding rookie campaign.
Paddack will not make another start this season, Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He gave up one run on one hit and one walk while striking out nine Tuesday against the Brewers but did not factor in the decision. He pitched well enough to get the win in his final start, but Lorenzo Cain hit a solo home run on the lone hit Paddack surrendered. The Padres played it safe with their young ace, limiting him to 84 pitches (54 strikes) even though he was in complete control through the fifth inning. The only thing standing in the way of Paddack being a true ace going forward is a reliable third pitch, but he is just 23 years old, so it's unfair to say he's a finished product. If he comes back next year with a quality breaking ball, Paddack could emerge as one of the best starters in the game.
Paddack will make a start against the Brewers next week, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports. The Padres have entertained thoughts of shutting Paddack down for the season, as his 135.2 innings have blown away the 90 he pitched in the minors in 2018, but Paddack's desire to remain in the rotation and his success over the past three games likely inspired the organization to give him another turn. Although manager Andy Green did not specify which day Paddack will start, the Padres' six-man rotation has him in line to be on the mound Tuesday in Milwaukee. Over his last three starts, Paddack has thrown 18.1 innings, allowing only one run while striking out 23.
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