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Quantrill progressing as Futures Game nears

Righty to represent Padres, along with first baseman Naylor
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres selected Cal Quantrill at No. 8 overall in the 2016 Draft, he was considered by many to be a high-risk, high-reward selection. The right-hander's talent was undeniable. But coming off Tommy John surgery, his response to the operation was an unknown.

Through one year of professional ball, Quantrill, ranked as the organization's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, has been much more reward than risk for the Padres.

SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres selected Cal Quantrill at No. 8 overall in the 2016 Draft, he was considered by many to be a high-risk, high-reward selection. The right-hander's talent was undeniable. But coming off Tommy John surgery, his response to the operation was an unknown.

Through one year of professional ball, Quantrill, ranked as the organization's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, has been much more reward than risk for the Padres.

Along with first baseman Josh Naylor, Quantrill will represent the Padres at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game today at 1 p.m. PT at Marlins Park in Miami. The game can be viewed live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

:: 2017 Futures Game coverage ::

"He's pitched very well, doesn't seem to have skipped a whole lot from what he was doing his freshman year at Stanford to what he's doing in the Cal League," pitching coordinator Mark Prior said. "It probably goes unnoticed. But he missed two years of baseball, effectively, and he jumps right into High A in the Cal League and has success right away. That's pretty special."

Quantrill missed the end of his sophomore season and the entirety of his junior year at Stanford. When the Padres drafted him, his elbow had fully healed, but the question marks lingered. He made five starts for Tri-City last year, posting a 1.93 ERA. He's followed that up with a 3.67 mark and 76 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings for Lake Elsinore this season.

"When we got him, we were very conscious and aware of where he was in his rehab process," Prior said. "We tried to monitor his first year with the goal of basically having 2017 as his first full year. We wanted to get him primed and ready for that. He's gone out, and he's had a great first half of the season."

In short, Quantrill has been the pitcher the Padres hoped for -- though there's still room for growth.

"He was healthy last year, but he's still kind of making up for some time, having missed his junior season after surgery," farm director Sam Geaney said. "On the field, he had a very strong summer last year to get going. As far as his command of three, and at times four pitches, he's been very, very strong."

Quantrill already has a very good feel for his impressive mid-90s fastball. Prior added that he has equally effective control of a "swing-and-miss changeup," which he can locate to both sides of the plate against lefties and righties.

As for Quantrill's two breaking pitches -- a slider and a curveball -- both have been effective. The next challenge is for Quantrill to grow comfortable enough to throw them to any spot in any situation.

Following the injuries, Prior and Co. also worked to harness Quantrill's delivery. Only minor tinkering was necessary.

"It's an aggressive delivery, and it's an athletic delivery at the same time," Prior said. "Our philosophy as an organization is to never take away someone's athleticism. We made some minor tweaks, played a little bit with his footwork and the overall tempo of it."

For Quantrill (and for Naylor, as well) this year's Futures Game represents a stark contrast to the club's representatives in San Diego last year. All three reps -- Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje -- are currently starting for the big league club.

Quantrill and Naylor are undoubtedly farther from reaching the spotlight. But the Padres firmly believe they have a front-of-the-rotation candidate in Quantrill, even if he's at least a year away from making an impact.

"There have been some positive changes he's made in his delivery," Geaney said. "... He's got, hopefully, a chance to be a part of the rotation in San Diego in the not-too-distant future."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres