It’s been a good year for Padres lefty prospect Joey Lucchesi. A really, really good year. As much as scouts liked the towering, 6 foot 5 starting pitcher, his funky delivery, age of 22 and low profile at Southeast Missouri State left him off the radar.
Undrafted in his first three years of eligibility that began at a community college, he led all of college baseball in strikeouts his senior season with 149 in 111 innings.
The Padres astutely took him in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft and have been reaping the rewards since. He’s made 40 professional appearances in his young career. He’s allowed more than three runs one time.
The 40th appearance was a big one. He pitched his Double-A San Antonio Missions club to a 2-1 series lead over the three-time defending champion Midland RockHounds.
Though the club eventually fell in five, it was a dynamite conclusion to a spectacular sophomore regular season.
His lone playoff performance amounted to seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits, a walk and punching out five.
The Newark, California native was promoted from High-A Lake Elsinore to Double-A after the 2017 All-Star break. For the Storm, he threw 78.2 innings with a 2.52 ERA and .95 WHIP. Striking out 95 batters, the advanced minor leaguer more than earned his call-up.
Advancing to the all-important Double-A level, he went from dominant to completely lights out. For the Missions, his ERA lowered to a minuscule 1.79, his WHIP remained below a single point at .99 and he maintained a solid strikeout number: 53 in 60.1 innings.
He’ll enter 2018 halfway into his age 25 season and the club is sure to advance him accordingly, if the results continue. After an absolutely dominating campaign, it will be interesting to see how good he can be for his third act.