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Where Padres prospect Luis Patiño came from and what he can be

Jeff Sanders, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Baseball

SAN DIEGO -- Luis Patino has known for a while this day was coming.

You don't pitch in the All-Star Futures game (or strike out three of the five batters you face) if you aren't big-league bound.

You aren't asked to speak to the media at a FanFest alongside Manny Machado and Chris Paddack before any Triple-A time if you're not part of the Padres' future.

You're not in big league camp in spring training and later pitching in summer camp intrasquad games if the Padres aren't counting on you to help at some point in the near future.

The 20-year-old Patino has remained grounded throughout his rise to San Diego.

"I can learn from them," Patino said early last month of his expectations while in summer camp. "I can learn from their experience. I can learn any sort of lesson they have to offer and I can get better. For me, it's how can I improve as much as possible and help this team win and make the team, and then help this team win in 2020."

 

The Padres now believe he can help a bullpen that has struggled to find its footing.

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Long-term, of course, Patino's ceiling could make him a No. 2 starter. He's ranked No. 20 in Baseball America's top-100 (MacKenzie Gore is No. 6) because he's got a fastball that pushes 99 mph, a swing-and miss slider that sits in the high-80s, a curve and a change-up.

Not bad for a $130,000 investment after international scouting director Chris Kemp stumbled upon him in Colombia while dumping more than $80 million, including overage taxes, into the 2016-17 international amateur class.

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