Schoenfield: Where do baseball’s elite starting pitchers come from?

From David Schoenfield at on May 14, 2019:

The amateur draft is less than a month away and teams are starting to hunker down, getting in those final scouting trips and narrowing down their list of potential picks and players with the good faces.

Chris Paddack was once of those draft prospects. In his senior year at Cedar Park (Texas) High School in 2015, he went 11-0 with a 0.46 ERA and 134 punchouts in 75 innings. He fell to the eighth round for several reasons, however: (1) He had a commitment to Texas A&M; (2) he already was age 19½ on draft day; (3) his fastball sat at 89 to 92 mph; and (4) while he already had that plus-plus changeup we’ve seen as a rookie, he had no third pitch.

The Marlins drafted him, steering him away from A&M with a $400,000 bonus. Paddack quickly emerged as a strike-throwing machine in the minors, but barely a year after the draft, the Marlins traded him to the Padres for Fernando Rodney, a deal that it appears the Marlins will long regret.

Paddack will start Tuesday for the Padres. In his first seven starts, he is 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA and .130 batting average allowed. It’s obviously early in his major league career, but he clearly looks like an elite starter. With Paddack and the upcoming draft in mind, I thought it would be interesting to examine this question: Where do the best starting pitchers in the game come from? How much of an outlier is a guy like Paddack, an eighth-round pick who was traded as a minor leaguer?

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Originally published: May 14, 2019. Last Updated: May 14, 2019.