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Offense goes quiet as Padres drop series

MLB.com

DENVER -- During a 13-run onslaught in Colorado on Monday night, the Padres insisted their bats had finally come to life. Over the next two days, their offense was rocked right back to sleep.

San Diego mustered two runs in a pair of losses to the Rockies, the latest a 5-2 defeat on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field. Colorado right-hander Jon Gray worked six scoreless innings, and recorded 11 of the 16 strikeouts by Rockies pitchers. Many of the same issues surfaced for a slumping, swing-happy Padres offense.

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DENVER -- During a 13-run onslaught in Colorado on Monday night, the Padres insisted their bats had finally come to life. Over the next two days, their offense was rocked right back to sleep.

San Diego mustered two runs in a pair of losses to the Rockies, the latest a 5-2 defeat on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field. Colorado right-hander Jon Gray worked six scoreless innings, and recorded 11 of the 16 strikeouts by Rockies pitchers. Many of the same issues surfaced for a slumping, swing-happy Padres offense.

View Full Game Coverage

"We had our pitches to hit off Jon Gray early in counts, and we missed them," manager Andy Green said. "We gave [pitchers] who strike guys out an opportunity to punch us out."

Of course, the Padres are playing without Eric Hosmer (family leave) and Christian Villanueva (tight left hamstring), who have anchored the heart of their order for most of the season. Both are expected back Friday, and their return can't come soon enough. Hosmer, in particular, drew four walks Monday before his departure. The rest of the Padres, meanwhile, have desperately searched for that type of plate discipline.

Those struggles were tested further by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. In the final two frames, three Padres went down looking on questionable calls. After a leadoff double from Wil Myers in the ninth, rookie Franchy Cordero was rung up on a pitch that appeared well below his knees.

"He shouldn't be getting rung up on that," Green said. "That should be something that's celebrated. He should be walking to first base off their closer in the ninth inning. But it's a ball that's called a strike. You want your guys rewarded for that when they're working that hard."

The Padres got some late consolation with a Manuel Margot sac fly in the seventh and a Chase Headley RBI groundout in the ninth. But they never mounted a serious threat.

Video: SD@COL: Margot gets Padres on the board with sac fly

Meanwhile, San Diego righty Tyson Ross was undone by a three-run third that gave the Rockies an early 4-0 edge. Ross walked the first two hitters of the frame, and David Dahl tripled them home. He'd score one batter later on a sacrifice fly.

Ross was removed with his pitch count at 94 after four innings -- not the encore he was hoping for following Friday's no-hit bid in Arizona. He threw 127 pitches in that start, and Green noted some potential fatigue. Ross wasn't about to use that as an excuse.

"I had normal rest, normal recovery, was ready to go today," Ross said. "Unfortunately I just had some long innings early."

Video: SD@COL: Dahl drills a two-run triple off the wall

Ross allowed six hits and three walks while striking out seven -- by no means a disastrous showing in a day game at hitter-friendly Coors Field. But his offense would do him no favors.

"The game ... can humble you quick," said Myers, who went 2-for-4 and played first base for the first time this season in Hosmer's absence. "You can go out and have a great day, then come back and have a terrible day. And vice versa."

Video: SD@COL: Gray strikes out Myers, side in top of 1st

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Methodical rally: The Rockies opened the scoring with a tough-luck second inning for Ross. Trevor Story led off by reaching on an errant throw from Headley, a play which was ruled a hit. Two pitches later, Ross appeared to have picked off Story, but Wendelstedt had called time a moment prior. Ross would surrender two more seeing-eye hits, and Colorado had plated its first run courtesy of three singles with an average hit probability of 30 percent.

No swiping: With two outs in the sixth, Jose Pirela broke for second base and was nailed on a nice throw from Rockies catcher Tony Wolters. The Padres challenged the ruling, as it appeared Pirela's slide beat the throw. But replays proved inconclusive, and the call stood. Down by four with Myers at the plate, Pirela's break seemed questionable. Afterward, Green took responsibility for taking "an aggressive chance."

"I don't want to get thrown out stealing in that situation," Green said. "But if we can scratch a run across with two outs, we're one run closer to coming back into the game. It's an aggressive chance, and it didn't work out."

Video: SD@COL: Wolters throws out Pirela, call stands

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
When Cordero makes contact, he hits the ball hard. Harder than just about anyone in the sport, in fact. Cordero struck out twice and walked once Wednesday, but in the top of the second, he ripped a 116.8 mph rocket that one-hopped DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies second baseman made the play look easy, though it assuredly wasn't. In the past week, Cordero has crushed three lasers at 116 mph or harder -- the Padres' three highest exit velocities ever recorded by Statcast™.

Video: SD@CO: LeMahieu picks a sharp grounder to rob Cordero

HE SAID IT
"We've been beat up. That's been obvious. But you've got Major League players on the field that can make baseball plays and didn't make plays. It's probably hurt us most offensively. You take anybody's 3-, 4-hole hitters out of the lineup, it hurts." -- Green

UP NEXT
Following an off-day Thursday, the Padres return home for a three-game series against the Mets beginning Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT. Clayton Richard starts for San Diego opposite New York's Jacob deGrom. Hosmer (family leave) and Villanueva (tight left hamstring) are expected to return to the lineup.

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

San Diego Padres, Tyson Ross

Hand displays multi-faceted role in bullpen

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Padres named Brad Hand their closer early in Spring Training, but from the start they hinted it might not be in the most traditional sense.

Manager Andy Green may have given the first indication of Hand's unconventional usage in Wednesday afternoon's 5-2 loss to the Rockies.

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DENVER -- The Padres named Brad Hand their closer early in Spring Training, but from the start they hinted it might not be in the most traditional sense.

Manager Andy Green may have given the first indication of Hand's unconventional usage in Wednesday afternoon's 5-2 loss to the Rockies.

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With San Diego trailing by three in the seventh, Colorado sent the heart of its order -- Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado and David Dahl -- to the plate. Green called for Hand, who hadn't pitched since Friday night in Arizona.

"It made sense," Hand said. "I hadn't pitched in a while, and I'm not going to pitch tomorrow [an off-day]. Two lefties coming up that inning, you've got to keep the ballgame within striking distance."

Hand allowed a single to Arenado but kept the Rockies in check otherwise. His usage won't turn many heads, given that it didn't affect the result.

But consider this: Had the Padres been ahead in that same situation, Green said it's possible he'd have made the same call. The logic behind his decision on Wednesday certainly seems to hold up in both scenarios.

"Once you're into the teeth of that lineup in the seventh inning, that's the spot that I'd like to use Brad -- when you're staring Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado down," Green said. "There's no guarantee that pops back around in the eighth or the ninth.

"I feel confident in Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen if we go ahead and fire Brad off right there."

The merits of a traditional closer have come into question over the past few years. In recent postseasons, closers have been asked to pitch well outside their comfort zones.

During the regular season, the role of closer has mostly remained unchanged. But if the Padres want to change it, that's just fine with Hand.

"You do what the situation calls for," he said. "You can't only want to pitch in save situations, because sometimes you can't control the save opportunities you're going to get. Your job is still the same. It doesn't change whether you're saving a game or coming into a game in the sixth, seventh, whatever it is."

It helps, of course, that the Padres have a pair of experienced righty set-up men in Yates and Stammen to complement Hand. They've been excellent this season, too, combining for a 1.89 ERA and 20 strikeouts with just two walks.

As for the idea that a reliever is only at his best when pitching in a defined role, Yates dismissed the notion as somewhat out-of-date.

"If there's consistency involved in the decision-making, based on lineups, matchups, we can dissect on our own when [we're going to pitch]," said Yates. "I know how Andy likes to use me, and I generally know who I'm going to face on a nightly basis. ... As long as there's consistency, I don't think it really matters."

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

San Diego Padres, Brad Hand

Myers enjoying opportunity to play 1B again

Padres outfielder returns to his old stomping grounds in Hosmer's absence; MLB umpires hold 10th annual charity auction
MLB.com

DENVER -- Wil Myers spent the entirety of the last two seasons anchoring first base in San Diego.

But from the moment Eric Hosmer signed his franchise-record eight-year deal in February, Myers hadn't taken a single grounder there. Until Wednesday morning, that is.

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DENVER -- Wil Myers spent the entirety of the last two seasons anchoring first base in San Diego.

But from the moment Eric Hosmer signed his franchise-record eight-year deal in February, Myers hadn't taken a single grounder there. Until Wednesday morning, that is.

View Full Game Coverage

"I don't think it'll be that difficult," said Myers, before Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Rockies. "I played there for two years. It's like riding a bike."

He paused a second, adding: "Hopefully."

Myers filled in for Hosmer, who is currently on the family leave list, and he held his own at first base -- though it wasn't without a seventh-inning misadventure. As he ranged to his right for a grounder and attempted to start a double play, Myers tripped over his own feet, yet somehow still threw accurately to second.

Video: SD@COL: Myers gets force at second despite tripping

When Hosmer arrived, the Padres committed to remaking Myers as their long-term right fielder. The sample size is limited, but he's been solid in right thus far.

In Spring Training, manager Andy Green noted that he'd shy away from using Myers at first base, but the Padres have since walked that back. Had it not been for Myers' right-arm injury, he would've played first base earlier this month, while Hosmer served as DH for a day in Houston.

"It's a position I really enjoy, and I'm looking forward to talking to some people," Myers quipped. "It's too boring out there in the outfield."

In Myers' debut season at first, he posted an outstanding defensive 2016, finishing among the National League's three Gold Glove Award finalists. He took a step back in '17, then moved away from the position entirely with four-time Gold Glover Hosmer on board.

Hosmer is expected to return to the lineup on Friday against the Mets, meaning Myers will soon return to the outfield. But he could see a few more games at first as the season progresses, possibly in American League ballparks.

Charity auction underway
MLB umpires are offering more than 300 items -- including priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages -- during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction.

The auction is currently underway at www.mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 7 p.m. PT on Monday. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos, and baseballs from some of the biggest stars in baseball. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice up close on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children, and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said Gary Darling, former MLB umpire and Board President for UMPS CARE Charities. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

Among the Padres items up for bid are a batting-practice experience and game tickets for four, and a two-night stay at the Andaz Hotel with two tickets to see the Padres.

Padres to attend Monarch School fundraiser
A number of prominent Padres will be on hand Thursday night for the Monarch School's annual fundraiser. Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman, Green and executive chairman Ron Fowler will take part in the "Building Bright Futures" event, with the aim to raise more than $500,000 to educate homeless students in San Diego.

Hoffman and his wife, Tracy, will serve as chairpersons for the event. It's expected to be the largest fundraising event in the 30-year history of the Monarch School, which exclusively serves homeless students, students at risk of being homeless, or students impacted by homelessness.

"You realize how blessed you are, and you realize the opportunity you have to bless other people by partnering with them, watching what they do and how they do it and how much they love those kids," Green said. "It's tremendous perspective, and it's a great mission down there."

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

San Diego Padres, Wil Myers

Wednesday's top prospect performers

Blue Jays products impress in upper Minors
MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

A plethora of Blue Jays prospects showcased their skills across multiple levels as a trio of the organization's top prospects led Triple-A Buffalo to a win and the top prospects in the system fared well for Double-A New Hampshire.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

A plethora of Blue Jays prospects showcased their skills across multiple levels as a trio of the organization's top prospects led Triple-A Buffalo to a win and the top prospects in the system fared well for Double-A New Hampshire.

The Fisher Cats were unable to win the game, but No. 3 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1) and Bo Bichette (No. 13 overall, Blue Jays' No. 2) once again showed why they are ranked so high. Bichette, 20, went 2-for-5 with a double and is batting .303 after going 4-for-10 over his past two games.

Guerrero registers second RBI

Guerrero, also experiencing the Double-A level for the first time, put together his second three-hit game of the season and drove in a trio of runs, including a game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Up at the Triple-A level, it was No. 47 overall prospect Anthony Alford (Blue Jay's No. 3), Ryan Borucki (No. 8) and Reese McGuire (No. 14) leading the Bisons to a win over Durham.

Alford and McGuire combined to go 4-for-6 with three RBIs and McGuire hit his first homer of the season, a two-run blast in the fourth, in the process.

On the mound, Borucki spun his best start of the season, giving up one run on five hits over six innings. The lefty also threw 61 of his 90 pitches for strikes, walked one and struck out seven, a season high.

Other top prospect performances from Wednesday's action:

• No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech (White Sox No. 2) put together another strong start for Triple-A Charlotte. Kopech, who has given up one earned run or fewer in three of his four starts, gave up one run on one hit in six innings. The right-hander walked two and also struck out eight, bringing his total to 29 through 21 innings this season.

Kopech fans eight

• No. 22 overall prospect Willy Adames (Rays' No. 2) continued his hot stretch with Triple-A Durham. Adames, who hit for the cycle on Monday, extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 effort. The 22-year-old has increased his average from .212 to .355 during that span and has two or more hits in three of his past four games. Rays No. 4 prospect Jesus Sanchez (No. 57 overall) also had a good game for Class A Advanced Charlotte, going 2-for-4 with a double and his fifth homer of the season.

• No. 48 overall prospect Justus Sheffield (Yankees' No. 3) continues to pile up the strikeouts with Double-A Trenton. The lefty gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings while striking out eight. Sheffield has spun 22 innings this season and collected 30 strikeouts.

• No. 50 overall prospect Adrian Morejon (Padres' No. 6) was lights-out for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. After giving up four runs in his last start, Morejon limited the damage this time around to one run on two hits. The lefty also struck out five in as many innings.

• No. 95 overall prospect Adam Haseley (Phillies' No. 6) is heating up for Class A Advanced Clearwater. After going 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, Haseley has two hits in four of his past five games and at least one hit in 12 of his last 13. He's also increased his batting average from .200 to .280 in that span.

Post game Interview: Haseley

Angels No. 11 prospect Jesus Castillo was nearly flawless for seven innings with Double-A Mobile. The 22-year-old right-hander didn't surrender a hit and threw 51 of his 70 pitches for strikes in his first scoreless start of the season. Castillo struck out four and only allowed one baserunner via a hit batter.

Castillo notches the K

Braves No. 16 prospect Dustin Peterson put together his second straight three-hit day for Triple-A Gwinnett. Peterson, who went 3-for-5 with a double and a homer, is 6-for-10 with two homers and six RBIs over his past two games.

Indians No. 7 prospect Will Benson showed off some power with his third career two-homer game. Benson went 2-for-3 with a pair of solo home runs for Class A Lake County in Game 1 of a doubleheader, a game that also featured a no-hitter.

Orioles prospects Cedric Mullins (No. 7) and Keegan Akin (No. 9) led Double-A Bowie to a win over Richmond. Mullins extended his hitting streak to six games with a 2-for-4 performance that included a double and a solo homer. On the mound, Akin yielded just three hits and struck out five across six scoreless innings. The 23-year-old gave up seven runs over nine innings to start the season but has since allowed just one run in his past 12 frames.

Twins No. 14 prospect Travis Blankenhorn hit a pair of solo homers for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Blankenhorn, who has four home runs this season, has gone deep three times over the past three games. The two-homer game also marked his first of the season and the second of his career.

White Sox No. 10 prospect Micker Adolfo went deep in both games of Class A Advanced Winston Salem's doubleheader. The 21-year-old, who now has five homers this season, went 1-for-2 with a solo homer in the first game, then exploded for five RBIs - via an RBI double, sacrifice fly and three-run homer - in the second game.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Prospect Lauer knocked around in MLB debut

Left-hander can't hold Rockies at Coors Field as Padres' bats go quiet
MLB.com

DENVER -- The Padres placed a daunting task before Eric Lauer on Tuesday night, asking their 22-year-old pitching prospect to conquer the Rockies and Coors Field in his Major League debut. Mother Nature made that task next to impossible.

Snow had given way to freezing rain by the time Lauer took the mound after a 46-minute delay. The Padres' No. 12 prospect was summarily knocked around over three-plus innings in an 8-0 loss. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks.

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DENVER -- The Padres placed a daunting task before Eric Lauer on Tuesday night, asking their 22-year-old pitching prospect to conquer the Rockies and Coors Field in his Major League debut. Mother Nature made that task next to impossible.

Snow had given way to freezing rain by the time Lauer took the mound after a 46-minute delay. The Padres' No. 12 prospect was summarily knocked around over three-plus innings in an 8-0 loss. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks.

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The list of starters to debut at Coors Field as visitors isn't a long one -- and perhaps for good reason. Lauer was just the seventh, and they've combined to post an 8.69 ERA with none lasting more than five innings.

"You can spin it whichever way you want, but at the end of the day those aren't the results I want, and that's not going to keep me here," Lauer said. "I've just got to get better."

Lauer made it to the fourth, though his fate was decided by the second when the Rockies poured on five runs with two outs. DJ LeMahieu made it 3-0 with an RBI single, and Charlie Blackmon followed with a single of his own. Nolan Arenado worked a two-out walk to load the bases, before Trevor Story demolished a 1-1 fastball for a grand slam to make it 7-0.

Following a 1-2-3 third inning, Lauer was removed after he issued a leadoff walk in the fourth. Padres manager Andy Green had a message for him when he took the ball.

"There's going to be a lot of really good days ahead," Green said. "You're going to remember this one, because you're going to come back from this one and have a lot of really good days."

Lauer took those words to heart.

"I appreciate that, and I don't think today really represents what I want to do with my career and how I'm going to finish and continue to work," Lauer said. "I don't think today was an accurate representation of who I am as a pitcher."

He added: "I've just got to get back to basics. Today was one of those days where I just couldn't settle myself down. Usually I can do that pretty easily, but tonight it wasn't working for me."

Of course, Lauer's offense did him no favors by following Monday's 13-run outburst with a dud. San Diego mustered just four hits and couldn't solve Rockies starter Kyle Freeland.

Lauer's debut won't dampen the Padres' plans for him. He's one of the club's top pitching prospects and just the second pitcher to reach the Major Leagues out of the 2016 Draft class.

Joey Lucchesi, another Padres lefty and one of Lauer's closest friends, was the first. He also struggled in his debut, though the raw numbers weren't quite so ugly. Since then, Lucchesi has settled in as arguably the Padres' best starter this year.

Like Lucchesi, Lauer will be given every chance to earn his place in San Diego's rotation of the future. If he does, Monday's start will soon be regarded as a footnote.

"He's here to pitch," Green said. "He's going to get opportunity. We like a lot of things about him. That doesn't change on one cold night at Coors Field."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Assume the double play: Lauer came oh-so close to a scoreless first inning after loading the bases with one out. Chris Iannetta sent a chopper to shortstop, where Freddy Galvis started what could've been an inning-ending double play. But Jose Pirela -- making his second appearance at second base this season -- bounced his throw, and Chase Headley couldn't pick it. Two runs scored.

Video: SD@COL: Iannetta reaches on error, two score

Down looking: Lauer bounced back immediately after Pirela's costly error. He froze David Dahl with a pristine 93 mph fastball on the outside corner for the final out of the first. It was Lauer's first career strikeout, and he'd set down two more. In the third, Lauer would tack on another first when he blooped a single into right for his first hit at any level since high school.

Video: SD@COL: Lauer records first MLB hit in debut

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
It took a few weeks, but Kazuhisa Makita is finding his groove in the big leagues. The 33-year-old rookie from Japan has notched five straight scoreless innings, including the sixth and the seventh innings of Tuesday's loss.

Makita is perhaps best known for his quirky submarine delivery and his mind-bendingly slow eephus-type curveball. He opened his seventh-inning showdown against Story with a 58-mph curve right down the middle. Story was frozen. He would later strike out on an 80-mph fastball that must've looked like 100 in comparison.

Tweet from @AJCassavell: 58 mph. Down the middle. Frozen. pic.twitter.com/3Lr7JHmi5Y

HE SAID IT
"One bad pitch to Story. If we get Story, I think we're rolling. It's not like he made 70 bad pitches, he made one bad one, and a lot of good ones. He should focus on the good ones. We've got a lot of really high hopes for him." -- Padres catcher Austin Hedges, on Lauer

UP NEXT
Tyson Ross is looking for an encore performance to his near no-hitter in Arizona on Wednesday. He's been excellent in his return to the Padres but clearly isn't content with success through four starts. The Rockies counter with Jon Gray, who blanked the Padres for seven innings earlier this month. First pitch is slated for 12:10 p.m. PT.

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

San Diego Padres

Kazuhisa Makita threw a 58 mph curveball that froze Trevor Story

There are a lot of pitches in baseball you probably know you can't hit. Noah Syndergaard's fastball? No way. Rich Hill's curveball has a ton of break, so you probably can't do much with that, either. There's a reason the people on the field are there and the rest of us aren't.

But, every so often, something happens on the field that offers a glimmer of hope that we wouldn't look completely foolish. Take this 58 mph slider Padres reliever Kazuhisa Makita threw to Trevor Story in the seventh inning of Tuesday's loss to the Rockies, 8-0:

Tuesday's top prospect performers

A's No. 2 impresses in Double-A debut
MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Jesus Luzardo allowed two runs on two hits in the first inning of his Double-A debut but was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, completing five strong innings of three-hit ball as Midland edged Corpus Christi, 3-2.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Jesus Luzardo allowed two runs on two hits in the first inning of his Double-A debut but was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, completing five strong innings of three-hit ball as Midland edged Corpus Christi, 3-2.

Luzardo, Oakland's No. 2 prospect (No. 60 overall), struck out the side in the second inning before finishing with five strikeouts and one walk. He also induced a handful of ground-ball outs in the performance, throwing 45 of his 78 pitches for strikes.

Luzardo's promotion to the Texas League in the first month of the season was the latest in what has been a series of quick promotions for the 20-year-old left-hander.

Luzardo fans fifth batter of day

A third-round pick by the Nationals in 2016 despite having undergone Tommy John surgery a few months prior, Luzardo received a well-above-slot bonus to forgo his Miami commitment. He made his highly anticipated pro debut nearly a year later and dazzled in a trio of Rookie-level Gulf Coast League starts before joining the A's at the July Trade Deadline in the deal that netted Washington Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Luzardo continued to impress following the trade, too, pitching to a 1.82 ERA with 33 strikeouts and a .194 BAA in 29 2/3 innings (nine starts) between the Rookie-level Arizona and the Class A Short Season New York-Penn Leagues.

Luzardo's performance convinced the A's that the precocious sophomore was ready for a greater challenge, as he made just three starts in the hitter-friendly Class A Advanced California League -- posting a 1.23 ERA, a .120 opponents' average and a 25-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 2/3 innings -- before a bump up to Double-A.

With his latest debut behind him, Luzardo now boasts a 1.71 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP across his first 63 innings as a professional. He's racked up 78 strikeouts against 11 walks in that span, while limiting opposing hitters to a .193 average and zero home runs.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

No. 8 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres' No. 1) hit solo home runs in the sixth and ninth innings to account for both runs in Double-A San Antonio's 5-2 loss against Frisco. It marked the second career multi-homer game for the 19-year-old shortstop, who now has gone deep three times in 18 games for the Missions. He's batting an even .200 on the season.

Tatis Jr. slams solo homer

No. 13 overall prospect Bo Bichette (Blue Jays' No. 2) went home-to-third twice for Double-A New Hampshire in his first career two-triple game. He also scored a pair of runs in the contest before finishing 2-for-5. The 20-year-old shortstop is batting .296/.375/.428 on the season, with hits in 13 of 16 games for the Fisher Cats. Jonathan Davis (No. 28) led off the game with a home run, his first of the season, and drove in three in the 9-4 victory over Binghamton.

Bichette smacks second triple

Angels No. 9 prospect Matt Thaiss tallied three extra-base hits but ultimately fell a home run short of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a triple in Double-A Mobile's win over Mississippi. Thaiss matched his career high with the four hits and improved his batting average by 40 points, from .250 to .290, in the process. The 2016 first-rounder has 12 runs, 14 RBIs and seven extra-base hits in 17 games this season.

Thaiss hits game's second double

Tigers No. 10 prospect Christin Stewart blasted his third home run in his first multi-hit game of the year to help lead Triple-A Toledo past Pawtucket. He also doubled and hit a pair of singles to finish 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs. The 24-year-old outfielder is slashing .250/.370/.450 through 17 games after hitting .256/.335/.501 with 28 homers last season over 136 Double-A contests.

Stewart slugs home run

No. 79 overall prospect Stephen Gonsalves (Twins' No. 3) tossed five innings of one-run ball en route to his third win in four starts for Double-A Chattanooga. The 23-year-old recorded a season-high nine of his 15 outs via the strikeout while scattering four hits with two walks and throwing 60 of his 91 pitches for strikes. Gonsalves has pitched to a 1.77 ERA, with 25 strikeouts and 10 walks, while limiting batters to seven hits in 20 1/3 innings.

No. 59 overall prospect Alex Faedo's fourth career start was his longest. The Tigers' No. 3 prospect completed 6 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts for Class A Advanced Lakeland in a no-decision against Dunedin. Faedo, the No. 18 overall pick in last year's Draft, has worked at least five innings in all four starts, posting a 2.74 ERA with 21 strikeouts and one walk over 23 innings in that span.

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Faedo, RHP, Tigers

Blue Jays No. 19 prospect Kevin Smith went 2-for-5 with a home run, a double and five RBIs, leading Class A Lansing past Dayton, 7-0. The homer, a three-run shot in the third inning, was Smith's second of the season and snapped a seven-game extra-base hit drought. The 2017 fourth-rounder is batting .286 overall with 17 RBIs, 10 runs and five steals through 15 games.

Braves No. 16 prospect Dustin Peterson's first home run of the season was a grand slam that proved the difference in Triple-A Gwinnett's 5-2 win against Rochester. He finished the contest with three hits and four RBIs, both season highs for the 23-year-old outfielder.

Cubs No. 28 prospect Cory Abbott was sharp for Class A South Bend in Game 1 of a doubleheader, tossing seven strong innings during which he allowed two hits -- including a solo home run -- and struck out six. The 22-year-old righty, Chicago's second-round pick in 2017, has given up three hits in his past two starts and owns a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings (three starts) on the season.

Marlins No. 11 prospect Brian Miller enjoyed a six-hit day as Class A Advanced Jupiter split a doubleheader with Palm Beach. The 22-year-old center fielder collected four hits in the opener for the second time in four games, going 4-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases, and then added two more knocks, as well as two RBIs, in the nightcap. Overall, Miller improved his average from .313 to .360 with the 6-for-8 performance.

Angels No. 29 prospect Joe Gatto, a 22-year-old right-hander, allowed one hit over six innings in his second straight scoreless start for Class A Advanced Inland Empire. Throwing 47 of his 78 pitches for strikes, Gatto posted five strikeouts against two walks and induced 10 ground-ball outs. He's now kept his opponent out of the run column in three of four starts in the California League. Overall, Gatto has pitched to a 2.37 ERA with 25 strikeouts and eight walks in 19 innings.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Franchy's HR ignites 9-run inning in rout of Rox

Padres' 16-hit attack backs solid bullpen effort
MLB.com

DENVER -- The Franch revolution is in full swing, and the rest of the Padres took their cues from the powerful rookie speedster on Monday night in Colorado.

Franchy Cordero launched a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning, sparking a nine-run frame and a much-needed breakout for a Padres offense that had struggled over the past week. After trailing to start the seventh, San Diego cruised to a 13-5 victory over the Rockies, its third in four games at Coors Field this season.

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DENVER -- The Franch revolution is in full swing, and the rest of the Padres took their cues from the powerful rookie speedster on Monday night in Colorado.

Franchy Cordero launched a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning, sparking a nine-run frame and a much-needed breakout for a Padres offense that had struggled over the past week. After trailing to start the seventh, San Diego cruised to a 13-5 victory over the Rockies, its third in four games at Coors Field this season.

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In the seventh inning alone, Cordero, Matt Szczur and Wil Myers had two hits apiece, and Eric Hosmer had two of his career-high four walks. It was the Padres' most prolific inning since they also posted a nine-spot on July 24, 2014, vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"It was a lot of fun," Cordero said. "I definitely enjoyed that inning, watching all of the guys have success."

Over the past few days, Cordero has put the rest of the baseball world on high alert with his otherworldly skill set. It was more of the same Monday night. Cordero's homer left his bat at 114 mph and traveled a projected 456 feet, according to Statcast™. Later in the frame, Cordero put his elite speed on display by legging out an infield single.

Video: SD@COL: Cordero launches 456-ft. home run

"It's an electric tool set that very few guys have in the game," said Padres manager Andy Green. "He can fly, he's got power, he can go get it [defensively]. He's a big physical man who hits balls hard."

Cordero's infield hit set the stage for Myers' two-run double, which gave the Padres their eighth and ninth runs of the inning -- more than they had scored all weekend in Arizona. Myers finished with a career-high-tying four hits, while Hosmer set a new career best by reaching base in six plate appearances.

Video: SD@COL: Myers knocks four hits vs. Rockies

It was the complete offensive display the Padres -- who lead the Majors in strikeouts -- have been searching for over the season's first month.

"I saw a lot of guys take pitches that we'd been swinging at," Green said. "You want to see that carry over to the next day."

The Padres opened the scoring on a strange sequence when Rockies starter Chad Bettis dropped the ball as he attempted to come set. He was called for a balk, and Myers scored the first of four runs in the frame. The Rockies answered immediately with four of their own.

Video: SD@COL: Myers crosses the dish on Bettis' balk

It was another rough first inning for Bryan Mitchell, who limited the damage to only one more run. The bullpen followed with a dominant effort, allowing just one baserunner over the final 3 2/3 innings.

Video: SD@COL: Mitchell strikes out Blackmon looking

"If you can outlast the other starter, you're going to have a good chance as a team," Mitchell said. "That's the goal at that point, keep us in the game."

Mitchell did exactly that. The offense did the rest.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Strong start: Last week, Hosmer, Jose Pirela and Carlos Asuaje combined to go 9-for-68. They were more than happy to turn the page. Hosmer and Pirela each lined singles to right field in the top of the first, before Asuaje smashed a three-run homer, putting the Padres on top, 4-0. All three players would piece together multi-hit nights.

Video: SD@COL: Asuaje launches a three-run homer to right

Hit 'em where they ain't: On a night when the Padres crushed baseballs all over the yard, amassing 16 hits in total, one of the key knocks was a jam-shot blooper from Cory Spangenberg. A late addition to the lineup after Christian Villanueva was sidelined with a sore left hamstring, Spangenberg fought off a 2-2 cutter from Rockies reliever Scott Oberg into short right field. It barely cleared the glove of second baseman DJ LeMahieu, plating two runs and giving the Padres a 9-5 lead.

Video: SD@COL: Spangenberg bloops two-run single to right

ON-BASE MACHINE
By reaching base six times Monday night, Hosmer joined some pretty exclusive company in Padres history. He's just the fifth player to reach base six times in a nine-inning game, and the first since Adrian Gonzalez did so in 2009. Dave Winfield, Craig Shipley and Jody Reed comprise the other three.

Organizationally, the Padres are desperate to reverse their on-base woes from the past two seasons. It played a factor in their decision to commit to Hosmer.

"Eric was outstanding," Green said. "They were trying to bust him in all day, and he just kept taking the pitches until he got some pitches out over the plate that he could hit. … It's a great message."

SOUND SMART
Cordero actually demolished two baseballs on Monday. His 114-mph laser home run wasn't even his hardest hit ball of the evening. In the second, Cordero hit a 116.5-mph rocket directly at Charlie Blackmon in center field. It was the hardest-hit ball of Cordero's career, according to Statcast™ (surpassing his 116.3-mph homer on Friday). He and Giancarlo Stanton are the only two players in the Majors to hit at least four balls of 115-plus-mph this season.

HE SAID IT
"Even on his BP swings, when he hits the ball 50 feet out of the stadium, it's like he's not even trying to do that. He's just staying through the middle of the field. He's gifted." -- Green, on Cordero

UP NEXT
Eric Lauer, the Padres' No. 12 prospect, has a tall task in front of him, making his first Major League start at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Only six opposing pitchers have debuted there as starters, and the results haven't been good. Those six pitchers have combined for a 7.27 ERA, and none have lasted longer than five innings. But the Padres believe the even-keel Lauer has the temperament to handle such conditions. Game time is 5:40 p.m. PT, and the Rockies will start Kyle Freeland.

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

San Diego Padres, Franchy Cordero

Villanueva scratched with hamstring soreness

26-year-old third baseman entered Monday 1st in NL in fWAR
MLB.com

DENVER -- Red-hot Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva was a late scratch from Monday's starting lineup in Colorado with soreness in his left hamstring.

He sustained the injury while running to second base on a double Sunday in Arizona, but the club is optimistic Villanueva won't miss much time.

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DENVER -- Red-hot Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva was a late scratch from Monday's starting lineup in Colorado with soreness in his left hamstring.

He sustained the injury while running to second base on a double Sunday in Arizona, but the club is optimistic Villanueva won't miss much time.

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"It's nothing very serious," manager Andy Green said. "It might be a day or two that he's not in the lineup, but hopefully it's not much more than that. If we need him to pinch-hit, he's probably available to do that, but [not] to stand out here in the altitude and grind for nine innings."

Villanueva was not needed to pinch-hit, as the Padres rolled to a 13-5 victory.

Cory Spangenberg took Villanueva's place at third base on Monday night in Denver. It's a tough loss for a Padres offense that slumped mightily last week while relying heavily on Villanueva, who has entrenched himself in the middle of their lineup.

Villanueva, who was initially slated to bat fourth, is off to a sizzling start to the 2018 season, batting .355/.444/.774 with seven homers. He's leading the National League with 1.4 fWAR.

Not bad for a guy who entered the season buried on the depth chart. He has since surpassed Spangenberg and Chase Headley at third base, and he has started 18 of the club's 23 games.

"The way he's swung the bat, he's earned all the time he's getting, and he's been getting all the time there is at third base right now," Green said. "He's definitely a guy that we miss in the lineup. But it's about time for Spangenberg to go off, start getting hot."

Rockies feud settled?

Monday's game marks the first meeting between the Padres and Rockies since their benches-clearing altercation earlier this month. That kerfuffle sparked when Padres right-hander Luis Perdomo threw a 96-mph fastball behind Nolan Arenado, who promptly charged the mound.

"There's no intention to carry anything on," Green said. "All that was taken care of on the field that day. You move forward, you try to win this series."

Of course, Perdomo has since been optioned to Triple-A El Paso. He served a five-game suspension last week, as did Arenado, who was in the lineup Monday, batting third. Outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was docked four games for his role in the brawl, initially appealed his ban. He began serving it on Sunday and will miss this week's series.

Nicholas tearing up PCL

El Paso catcher/first baseman Brett Nicholas was named the Pacific Coast League's player of the week on Monday after batting .370 with 24 total bases in seven games.

Since coming over from Texas in a Minor League trade, Nicholas is batting .386/.455/.807 with six homers.

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

San Diego Padres, Christian Villanueva

Padres equal franchise marks in Monday win

Notes on Asuaje, Cordero, Myers, Hosmer, Mitchell
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres didn't set any firsts in their nine-run, seventh inning at Colorado Monday night.
     
But they did have some firsts-in-quite-a-whiles.
     
The nine runs on eight hits were the Padres' most runs and hits since they also scored nine runs on eight hits on July 24, 2014 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
     
For the fourth time in Padres' history, three players recorded multiple hits in the same inning. Matt Szczur, Franchy Cordero and Wil Myers each had two hits in the top of the seventh. The last time it happened was May 11, 2011 against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
     
Szczur's two hits in the seventh came as a pinch-hitter, the fifth time a Padre had accomplished the feat. The last Padres pinch-hitter to have two hits in an inning was Alexi Amarista on Aug. 22, 2015 against St. Louis.
     
Seven straight Padres reached base with two outs in the seventh Monday.
     
The Padres were 9-for-14 with runners in scoring position Monday night.
     
NOTEBOOK:
      
--Wil Myers went 4-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs Monday. The four hits tie his career high. Myers is a .350 hitter (35-for-100) at Coors Field with seven doubles, two triples and eight homers for 23 runs scored and 23 RBIs. He has a .700 slugging percentage and a 1.114 OPS at Coors Field, where his batting average is the highest for any ballpark. Myers is 6-for-14 in three starts since returning from the disabled list with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
    
--2B Carlos Asuaje was 2-for-5 with his second homer of the season and a career-high four RBIs Monday. Asuaje is 7-for-20 in his last six games with two doubles, a home run, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Both of Asuaje's homers this season have come at Coors Field.
     
--1B Eric Hosmer drew a career-high four walks Monday. He was also 2-for-2 to reach base six times -- becoming the first Padres player to do so since Adrian González on Aug. 11, 2009 vs. the Brewers.
     
--CF Franchy Cordero is 5-for-12 during a three-game hitting streak with two homers (which travelled 489 and 456 feet), a double and five RBIs.
     
--RHP Bryan Mitchell gave up four runs in the first inning Monday night. He has a 18.00 earned run average (10 earned runs in five innings) in the first inning this season.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres didn't set any firsts in their nine-run, seventh inning at Colorado Monday night.
     
But they did have some firsts-in-quite-a-whiles.
     
The nine runs on eight hits were the Padres' most runs and hits since they also scored nine runs on eight hits on July 24, 2014 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
     
For the fourth time in Padres' history, three players recorded multiple hits in the same inning. Matt Szczur, Franchy Cordero and Wil Myers each had two hits in the top of the seventh. The last time it happened was May 11, 2011 against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
     
Szczur's two hits in the seventh came as a pinch-hitter, the fifth time a Padre had accomplished the feat. The last Padres pinch-hitter to have two hits in an inning was Alexi Amarista on Aug. 22, 2015 against St. Louis.
     
Seven straight Padres reached base with two outs in the seventh Monday.
     
The Padres were 9-for-14 with runners in scoring position Monday night.
     
NOTEBOOK:
      
--Wil Myers went 4-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs Monday. The four hits tie his career high. Myers is a .350 hitter (35-for-100) at Coors Field with seven doubles, two triples and eight homers for 23 runs scored and 23 RBIs. He has a .700 slugging percentage and a 1.114 OPS at Coors Field, where his batting average is the highest for any ballpark. Myers is 6-for-14 in three starts since returning from the disabled list with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
    
--2B Carlos Asuaje was 2-for-5 with his second homer of the season and a career-high four RBIs Monday. Asuaje is 7-for-20 in his last six games with two doubles, a home run, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Both of Asuaje's homers this season have come at Coors Field.
     
--1B Eric Hosmer drew a career-high four walks Monday. He was also 2-for-2 to reach base six times -- becoming the first Padres player to do so since Adrian González on Aug. 11, 2009 vs. the Brewers.
     
--CF Franchy Cordero is 5-for-12 during a three-game hitting streak with two homers (which travelled 489 and 456 feet), a double and five RBIs.
     
--RHP Bryan Mitchell gave up four runs in the first inning Monday night. He has a 18.00 earned run average (10 earned runs in five innings) in the first inning this season.

San Diego Padres

Monday's top prospect performers

Rays shortstop completes first career cycle
MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Monday.

It was quite a night for Rays No. 2 prospect Willy Adames, who hit for the cycle in Triple-A Durham's 8-1 victory over Buffalo. The No. 22 prospect in baseball doubled in the first inning, singled in the fifth, tripled in the sixth, and homered in the eighth.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Monday.

It was quite a night for Rays No. 2 prospect Willy Adames, who hit for the cycle in Triple-A Durham's 8-1 victory over Buffalo. The No. 22 prospect in baseball doubled in the first inning, singled in the fifth, tripled in the sixth, and homered in the eighth.

The 22-year-old shortstop accomplished the feat a day after hitting his first home run of the season, the first grand slam of his career, against Lehigh Valley. Adames is slashing .345/.441/.582 in 16 games this year after slashing .277/.360/.415 with 10 homers and 11 steals in 130 games for Durham in 2017.

Adames homers for cycle

"It's my mom. She just got here for a visit and she brings me luck all the time," the native of the Dominican Republic told MiLB.com. "She came with my sister a couple of days ago from Santiago, and whenever she's here, I always hit good. Since I got drafted, she usually makes one trip a year for a week to see me play, but I think this time I'm gonna have to extend her stay. She's my good-luck charm."

Other top prospect performances from Monday's games:

White Sox No. 1 prospect Eloy Jimenez (No. 4 prospect overall) belted his first two homers of 2018 after opening the season 0-for-10. He was sidelined with a mild left pectoral strain sustained while working out at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., this spring. The two homers came during Double-A Birmingham's 9-5 victory over Pensacola and were Jimenez's first two hits of the season.

Jimenez crushes second jack

Jimenez, 21, slashed .312/.379/.568 with 19 homers in 89 games between Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach (Cubs), Class A Advanced Winston-Salem (White Sox) and Double-A Birmingham last season.

• A pair of top Braves prospects in Ronald Acuna (No. 1, No. 2 overall) and Mike Soroka (No. 3, No. 31 overall) shined in Triple-A Gwinnett's 1-0 win over Rochester. Acuna went 1-for-2 with a single and three stolen bases, scoring the game's lone run, while Soroka tossed seven scoreless innings in his first career shutout, giving up three hits while walking three and striking out four. The right-hander lowered his season ERA to 1.99.

Acuna swipes second and third

Padres No. 5 prospect Michel Baez (No. 42 overall) tossed five hitless innings while giving up an unearned run in his debut for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore against San Jose. It was the first start of the year for the 22-year-old right-hander, who posted a 2.45 ERA in 10 starts for Class A Fort Wayne in 2017.

Baez no-hits Giants over five

Cardinals No. 14 prospect Austin Gomber struck out 16 batters in an eight-inning start for Triple-A Memphis against Iowa, throwing 85 of his 112 pitches for strikes in a 3-0 victory. The 16 strikeouts tied a franchise single-game record for the Redbirds. The 24-year-old southpaw did not allow a run over those eight frames, lowering his ERA from 3.57 to 2.45 on the season (four starts).

Gomber's 16th strikeout

• A trio of Dodgers prospects had impressive performances, led by No. 2 prospect Alex Verdugo (No. 33 overall), who connected for his fourth homer of the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City's 3-2 loss to New Orleans. The 21-year-old outfielder is slashing .297/.324/.531 in 16 games this season.

Verdugo lifts solo shot

Meanwhile, Dodgers No. 10 prospect Dennis Santana tossed four strong innings for Double-A Tulsa, giving up one unearned run while walking two and striking out three in a 6-5 Drillers loss to Arkansas. In the same game, Dodgers No. 3 prospect Keibert Ruiz (No. 52 overall) went 2-for-4 with a homer, his third of the season. The 19-year-old catcher is slashing .286/.333/.446 in 13 games this season, his first at Double-A.

D-backs No. 23 prospect Alex Young turned in six scoreless innings for Double-A Jackson against Chattanooga, surrendering just one hit while walking one and striking out eight. The 24-year-old left-hander lowered his season ERA to 3.43 in four starts (22 strikeouts, four walks over 21 innings).

Young K's eighth batter of night

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

The most interesting rookie you need to know more about

Padres' Cordero runs like Gordon, hits as hard as Gallo
MLB.com

"I haven't seen a ball [hit] like that," said Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer after San Diego beat Arizona, 4-1, on Friday. If you weren't watching the game, you couldn't possibly have imagined who he'd been talking about.

Remember, Hosmer spent years in Kansas City with powerful hitters like Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez. He's shared a division with Miguel Cabrera and Jose Abreu, and a league with Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz. And Hosmer is teammates now with Wil Myers, and Paul Goldschmidt was in the D-backs' lineup that night. Hosmer has seen his share of sluggers who can crush baseballs.

"I haven't seen a ball [hit] like that," said Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer after San Diego beat Arizona, 4-1, on Friday. If you weren't watching the game, you couldn't possibly have imagined who he'd been talking about.

Remember, Hosmer spent years in Kansas City with powerful hitters like Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez. He's shared a division with Miguel Cabrera and Jose Abreu, and a league with Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz. And Hosmer is teammates now with Wil Myers, and Paul Goldschmidt was in the D-backs' lineup that night. Hosmer has seen his share of sluggers who can crush baseballs.

The veteran first baseman wasn't talking about any of them. He was talking about relatively unknown rookie -- San Diego outfielder Franchy Cordero -- who in his 39th career game had crushed a 489-foot blast, the longest home run tracked by Statcast™ in 2018, and the ninth longest since the system came online in '15. For those who follow such things, it was the latest exhibition of Cordero's elite tools in his brief career. For everyone else, let's introduce you to the most interesting player you don't know enough about.

Video: SD@ARI: Cordero hits a 489-foot homer off scoreboard

There's a difference between being exciting and being good, of course, and for the moment, Cordero is more the former than the latter. In 145 career plate appearances, his line of .237/.280/.467 outlines serious issues in getting on base. Cordero has struck out in 41 percent of his plate appearances, and in the history of baseball, there's never been a hitter to have a season of at least 400 plate appearances while striking out that much. Even in the strikeout-happy world of 2018, there's such a thing as too many strikeouts.

But we'll get back to that part, because Cordero is only 23, and 145 career plate appearances is only a handful more than guys like Trout and George Springer have piled up in the first few weeks of this season alone. Let's focus on the tools. The tools are loud.

Almost no one hits the ball harder
Hitting the ball hard is a skill. We've always known that, but it's a lot easier to quantify it now. When Cordero hit his monster home run vs. Arizona, it left the bat at 116.3 mph, making it the hardest-hit ball hit by a Padre since Statcast™ came online in 2015. The record stood for eactly three days, until he broke it on Monday night with a 116.5 mph liner in Colorado. He hit four balls in the 16-5 rout of the Rockies, and they were all crushed: 115.5 mph (lineout), 113.7 mph (home run), 105.6 mph (grounder), 104.0 mph (single). He's one of the very few players this year to have four balls hit 100 mph or more.

Video: SD@COL: Cordero launches 456-ft. home run

Now, he has the top three, four of the top five, and five of the top seven hardest-hit Padre balls since 2015, all in the past two weeks. Remember, Cordero has had 145 career plate appearances, and he's failed to make contact at all in nearly half of them -- yet he already owns the top of San Diego's leaderboard. 

Now, maybe that says more about the Padres than it does Cordero. Let's expand. Nearly 900 hitters have stepped to the plate in 2018. Only 17, or just over one percent, have hit a ball 115 mph. Only four have done it at least three times, and the other three hitters are probably exactly the three you would have guessed: Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo. Cordero's there, too. You can't fake this.

We got a taste of this last year.In only 99 plate appearances. Cordero had 49 tracked balls in play, and five of them were hit at least 110 mph. That's as many as Kris Bryant had in 665 times to the plate. It's more than Cody Bellinger (three in 548 plate appearances), Corey Seager (two in 613 plate appearances) or Joey Votto (one in 707 plate appearances). It's not something Billy Hamilton has done even once in over 1,600 plate appearances since 2015.

There's more to life than exit velocity, of course. But there's a leaderboard with Stanton, Cordero, Judge and Gallo. This is a skill, and Cordero has it.

Elite speed with the best in the game
The other names on that exit velocity lists are good athletes, of course, but none of them are known for their speed. Cordero, meanwhile, had the most triples of anyone in the Minors in 2016, with 16, and the most triples of anyone in the Minors in 2017, with 18. (He'd add three more with the Padres.) Throw in six seasons of double-digit steals, and you figure he can move.

Video: SD@ARI: Cordero hammers a triple to right field

Cordero can, of course, and this is another thing that we can do a better job of explaining now. We measure speed with a metric called "Sprint Speed," which is expressed in feet per second on a player's competitive runs. (