Matt Wisler is the best pitching prospect in the San Diego Padres‘ system. A 2011 amateur draft-pick, his rise in the farm league has him on the cusp of seeing time in the majors this season. Still 20 and not turning 21 until September, Wisler has a lot upside in a system that cherishes young starting pitching.
His first full season in the minors started at low-A Fort Wayne. His 2012 campaign with Fort Wayne was impressive, posting a 2.53 ERA, 2.2 walks per nine innings and strikeout to walk ratio at 4.04. He’s throwing strikes and making sure his pitches are creating outs. After showing progress in the rotation, he was promoted in 2013 to high-A Lake Elsinore.
His 2013 season featured a split-season in the California League and the Texas League. He posted a .903 WHIP and 1.7 walks per nine innings at Lake Elsinore before being promoted to AA San Antonio. He’s consistently improving in the different levels of baseball, and with San Antonio he posted an 8-5 record while only allowing 85 hits in 105 innings pitched.
His fastball has movement and gets into the low 90s, but he can dial it up to 96 mph. Then his go-to off-speed pitch is a slow curve that gets into the 70s. Scouts list a mid-80s slider, but to continue his progress in the system he has to keep working on his off-speed pitches.
When he comes up to the majors (not an if at this point) this season, Wisler’s control and pitch economy is more suitable for the starting rotation where he’s been successful. The Padres salivate at his abilities and should see him at the earliest in July and latest in September, barring any kind of injury to the starting rotation or to the long-relievers.