June 25, 2024

Following their significant victory against the Mariners on Sunday, the Padres have reassigned 11 minor leaguers to their minor league camp, having spent the initial days of the 2024 season with the major league squad.

The decision to move Jairo Iriarte and Nathan Martorella to the minor league side may have come as a surprise to some, considering their performances and potential. Iriarte, who had pitched three scoreless innings, was ranked among the top seven prospects in the Padres’ farm system. While there was speculation that he might contend for a spot on the Opening Day roster, the Padres have opted to give him more time to develop in the minors.

Despite Iriarte’s promising showing, there are several pitchers with more extensive big league experience, such as Pedro Avila, Matt Waldron, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vasquez, who have performed adequately. Therefore, it seems prudent for the club to prioritize Iriarte’s long-term development over immediate roster considerations.

In the 2023 season, Iriarte recorded a 3.49 ERA across stints with High-A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio, demonstrating his potential but also highlighting the need for further refinement before making a significant impact at the major league level.

It’s notable that Drew Thorpe remains in the big league camp, having pitched three scoreless innings so far. However, while he shows promise, he’s currently not in contention for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Nonetheless, a debut at some point during the 2024 season is within the realm of possibility.

Meanwhile, Nathan Martorella presents an intriguing power-hitting option at first base. However, with less than two full years of minor league experience under his belt, the Padres seem inclined to prioritize the development of their prospects by ensuring they receive consistent playing time. Opportunities for Martorella to play regularly at the major league level may be limited at present.

Jake Cronenworth is firmly established as the starting first baseman, with Graham Pauley and Brett Sullivan also seeing time at first base during spring training. While Pauley, despite lacking big league experience, remains in the big league camp, his versatility likely played a role in this decision.

Furthermore, there’s a possibility of the Padres exploring external options to bolster their depth at first base and designated hitter positions, providing additional support and flexibility to the team’s lineup.

 

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