Minor League Prospect Note: Adys Portillo, RHP, San Diego Padres
One of the big stories in the Low-A Midwest League this summer is the development of San Diego Padres pitching prospect Adys Portillo. He's made 17 starts for the Fort Wayne Tincups, posting a 1.89 ERA in 85.2 innings, with a 78/42 K/BB ratio and just 50 hits allowed, holding opposing hitters to a .167 average. This is a massive improvement compared to the 7.11 ERA he posted in 82 innings last year for Fort Wayne. He actually struck out more guys last year (97/55 K/BB), but gave up 89 hits and was much less effective in general.
Portillo generated a lot of buzz when he signed out of Venezuela in 2008 for $2,000,000. That buzz disappeared after three mediocre-to-poor minor league campaigns, but he's made progress turning that around this season, showing better location with his 94-100 MPH fastball. He's not just trying to throw as hard as possible now. His slider and changeup remain inconsistent, and he's still walking more guys than he should, but he looks more like a pitcher than a thrower this year. He is still just 20 years old, and it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Padres are with him. (He was promoted to Double-A a few hours after I wrote this).