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Prospects Gore, Patiño invited to Padres camp

Top-ranked pitchers in organization among club's 27 NRIs
@AJCassavell
January 16, 2020

SAN DIEGO -- MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patiño have entered the Padres' spring rotation race. San Diego unveiled its full list of non-roster invites to Spring Training on Thursday, with top pitching prospects Gore and Patiño headlining a group of 27 players. Along with their full 40-man roster, the Padres

SAN DIEGO -- MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patiño have entered the Padres' spring rotation race.

San Diego unveiled its full list of non-roster invites to Spring Training on Thursday, with top pitching prospects Gore and Patiño headlining a group of 27 players. Along with their full 40-man roster, the Padres plan to bring 67 players to big league camp next month, including eight of the team's top 10 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Gore is coming off a season in which he posted a 1.69 ERA between Class A Advanced and Double-A, and he was named MLB Pipeline's Pitcher of the Year. Patiño, meanwhile, notched a 2.57 mark at the same two levels. Gore and Patiño are currently rated as MLB Pipeline's No. 4 and 30 overall prospects, respectively.

It would take something special for either of the two 20-year-olds to crack the Opening Day roster, of course. As things stand, Chris Paddack and Garrett Richards have locked down the first two rotation spots, with Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies and Joey Lucchesi among the candidates for the final three places.

The Padres might ultimately be best served to have Gore and Patiño open the season in the Minors. But it seems likely both will make an impact on the big league club at some point this season.

"They're talented, and we know they have real ability, front-of-the-rotation-type ability," general manager A.J. Preller said at the Winter Meetings last month. "... We'll have them in the back of our mind. But they'll have to force their way onto the big league club."

Pitchers and catchers are slated to report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12 with the first full-squad workout set for Feb. 18. The Padres open their Cactus League slate with their annual Charity Game against the Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex on Feb. 22. Here's a look at the full list of Padres spring invites by position:

Catchers: Luis Campusano, Webster Rivas, Charlie Valerio

It's doubtful any of these three get a serious chance at cracking the big league roster, but Campusano's first big league camp is certainly noteworthy. The 21-year-old backstop was co-MVP of the California League last season, where he batted .325 with a .906 OPS and showed significant strides defensively.

Infielders: Ivan Castillo, Seth Mejias-Brean, Owen Miller, Hudson Potts, Esteban Quiroz, Jason Vosler

Keep an eye on this group. If there's a place on offense where a non-roster invite might crack the big league roster, it's in the middle infield. Miller and Quiroz are both candidates for a big league role, though they're facing an uphill climb with Jurickson Profar, Greg Garcia and Ty France all in the mix for a second-base job.

Outfielders: Abraham Almonte, Michael Gettys, Taylor Trammell

Almonte, a former Padre who returns to Peoria on a Minor League deal, might be a useful depth piece. But the headliner in this group is Trammell. The team's No. 2 prospect, Trammell isn't expected to push for an Opening Day roster spot. But he could make an impact at some point in 2020. After arriving from Cleveland in the Franmil Reyes trade last summer, Trammell helped lead Double-A Amarillo to a Texas League title, batting .310/.356/.643 in the postseason.

Pitchers: Pedro Avila, Lake Bachar, Kyle Barraclough, Miguel Diaz, Jerad Eickhoff, Mackenzie Gore, Chih-Wei Hu, Chase Johnson, Reggie Lawson, Evan Miller, Luis Patiño, Travis Radke, Dauris Valdez, Steven Wilson, Jimmy Yacabonis

Among the handful of Minor League signings listed here, Eickhoff is probably the most intriguing addition. In five seasons with Philadelphia, the right-hander posted a 4.15 ERA, though he missed most of 2018 with a back injury and owned a 5.71 ERA in 12 appearances last year.

In the bullpen, the competition for places should be fierce. On paper, it's an obvious strength of the Padres, and there might be only one or two spots available. Minor League free agents Barraclough, Hu and Yacabonis all have an outside shot. Keep an eye on strikeout artist Wilson as a sleeper for one of the final bullpen places as well.

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