Sunday, September 15, 2013

Breakout Prospect: RHP Matt Wisler

The Padres have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason, so it is time to start looking at some prospects that could help us as soon as next season. In 2011, the Padres had 6 picks in the first 2 rounds. The group Cory Spangenberg, Joe Ross, Michael Kelly, Travis Jankowski, Brett Austin, and Austin Hedges was the haul the Padres brought in with so many high picks. Catcher Austin Hedges, the second rounder, looks like he could easily end up as the best of the bunch. He is the best defensive catcher in the minors and isn't too bad with the bat. The Padres missed on Austin (DNS) and Kelly (Injuries), but hit on Hedges and Ross. Interestingly enough, both Hedges and Ross had commitments with UCLA and were considered extremely tough signs, but San Diego decided to invest in the draft that year  and so far it is paying off. After Ross and Hedges, the Padres hit on several picks in later rounds. Matt Andriese (4th), Matt Wisler (7th), Kevin Quackenbush (8th), Burch Smith (14th), and Matt Stites (17th) all look like possible major league players from the 2011 draft. Burch Smith actually won his first major league game today, striking out ten batters and holding on to a no-hitter through five innings.



I am going to zoom in on one of those prospects. Matt Wisler from Bryan High School in Ohio was drafted in the 7th round by the Padres in 2011. He was committed to Ohio State, and considered a very tough sign. The Padres offered him a half million dollars to bribe him into going straight into the minor leagues. Wisler accepted the signing bonus and joined the Padres organization. As a freshman in high school, Matt only threw 73 miles an hour, so he decided that since he wouldn't overpower hitters, he had to trick them. He created an arsenal of five pitches, two fastballs (two-seam and cut), curveball, slider, and change up. As a result, he ended up being a very polished pitcher for his age, and eventually his velocity on his fastball crept up to the lower 90's. Wisler became a pitcher who could throw hard. He was the 2012 Padres Minor League Pitcher of the Year and this year led the San Antonio Missions in the playoffs to the Texas League Championship. Wisler was 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 31 innings in Lake Elsinore, which bought him a promotion to San Antonio. He went 8-5 in 20 starts with a 3.00 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 105 innings. The 6-3 righty threw extremely well in the playoffs, posting an ERA of 0.56 and winning game one of the Texas League championship. Matt Wisler has been compared to another pitcher who was drafted in late rounds out of high school by the Padres, Mat Latos. This comparison does make sense, and he does have the stuff to be an ace.

Matt Wisler needs to be up much higher on prospect lists. I consider Wisler to be the Padres second best prospect and a potential top 30 prospect in baseball. I am a big fan of this 20-year old right hander, and hope to see him be up in the major leagues as soon as next season!

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