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Prospect of the Day: Joe Wieland, RHP, San Diego Padres

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Prospect of the Day: Joe Wieland, RHP, San Diego PadresTwo days after no-hitting Double-A San Antonio, pitcher Joe Wieland finds himself joining the Missions squad, traded from the Rangers to the Padres (along with fellow prospect Robbie Erlin) for reliever Mike Adams. Wieland is one of the best prospects to break through this year, and is our topic for today's Prospect of the Day.

Joe Wieland was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round in 2008, out of high school in Reno, Nevada. He had a great pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League (1.44 ERA, 41/8 K/BB in 44 innings), but was much less effective in the Sally League in 2009, with a 5.31 ERA and a 73/24 K/BB but 102 hits allowed in 83 innings. He began to turn things around in '10, thriving in a return engagement at Hickory (3.34 ERA, 71/15 K/BB, 84 hits in 89 innings) but struggling a bit after moving up to the Cal League (5.19 ERA for Bakersfield, 62/10 K/BB, 67 hits in 59 innings), though he retained a sharp K/BB ratio. I rated him as a sleeper and breakthrough candidate entering 2011.

Wieland has been excellent this year, beginning with a 2.10 ERA and a 96/4 K/BB in 86 innings, 78 hits for High-A Myrtle Beach, then remaining effective after moving up to Double-A Frisco, with a 1.23 ERA and a 36/11 K/BB in his first 44 innings in the Texas League, with 35 hits. He capped this with a nine-inning no-hitter against San Antonio on July 29th, fanning seven with one walk.

A 6-3, 175 pound 21-year-old right-hander, Wieland works comfortably at 89-92 MPH and has been clocked as high as 94 MPH this year. He already has a very good, plus curveball, and his changeup has above-average moments. His command and control are exceptional, and his statistical performance this year is outstanding: a combined 1.80 ERA with a 132/15 K/BB in 130 innings, with 113 hits allowed. He tends to be a fly ball type, but would fit well in the San Diego environment.

Wieland projects as a sound number three starter. Robbie Erlin is a fine prospect as well, and I think the Padres did well with this trade.