05/20/09 8:21 PM ET
Prized prospects move up Padres' ladder
Latos vaults to Double-A; Inman promoted to Triple-A
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
In the case of each pitcher, they were moving up.
Latos, considered the prized arm in the organization, made the jump from low Class A Fort Wayne to Double-A San Antonio, skipping high Class A Lake Elsinore after going 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA to start the season with the TinCaps.
Latos, a 21-year-old right-hander, allowed 10 hits and struck out 27 in 25 1/3 innings in the Midwest League.
"He's answered the call on everything we've asked him to do,"said Grady Fuson, the Padres' vice president of scouting and player development. "He's down in the strike zone, his velocity is great, his changeup is great. He's ready to be challenged."
Inman, a 22-year-old right-hander, moved from San Antonio to Triple-A Portland. He was 4-1 with a 3.05 ERA in eight starts for the Missions.
Inman, obtained in the July 2007 trade that sent pitcher Scott Linebrink to Milwaukee, had 36 strikeouts and eight walks over 44 1/3 innings.
The Padres invited Latos to their Major League camp in Spring Training and he pitched in three games, allowing four runs, including three home runs, before being sent out to their Minor League camp.
The Padres aren't shy about moving their top prospects quickly and this was a case where it made sense to keep pushing Latos.
"He's got the most electric arm in the whole bunch. His arm angle, his command, his own mind-set has improved, his pace and timing. He's starting to grow mentally," Fuson said.
Inman had struggled with his command at San Antonio last season, walking 71 in 135 1/3 innings which led to far too many five-inning starts, something the Padres grew tiresome of quickly. The Padres have cleaned up his mechanics this spring with better results.
"I told him, 'This is going to be a paramount year for you. Are you going to be able to stick in the rotation or are you going be erratic with your stuff?'" Fuson said earlier this month of a conversation he had with Inman in Spring Training.
"In his last three starts, he's been outstanding. He's earned that right to get to Triple-A."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.