El Paso Chihuahuas’ Logan Allen is the latest young starting pitcher to get the call to the big leagues.
The Padres summoned the 22-year-old to make his Major League debut on June 18 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Allen spent the end of last season and all of 2019 with the Chihuahuas, and he is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the San Diego organization.
His rise to the Major Leagues is a great story, and Padres beat writer Dennis Lin from The Athletic wrote a terrific story about a $1 bet Allen made with actor and professional wrestler John Cena.
The meeting took place at a Tampa restaurant when Cena was eating with a pair of childhood friends and Allen happened to be eating with his roommate and agent at a nearby table.
Cena noticed Allen and the two struck up a conversation that lasted hours. Cena sought to motivate the young pitcher by betting a dollar that he would never make the Major Leagues.
Now, Allen will finally get to collect on his bet – and Cena will be in attendance to watch his friend’s debut.
Allen will be the 10th Padres starting pitcher this season.
When they began the baseball regular season in April, San Diego lacked a dominant ace in their starting rotation. Instead of exploring a trade for proven Major League starting pitchers like Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman or Dallas Keuchel, the team chose to commit to their many young promising arms. San Diego’s starting pitchers:
• Eric Lauer: 14 starts, 24 years old
• Joey Lucchesi: 13 starts, 26 years old
• Nick Margevicius: 12 starts, 22 years old
• Chris Paddack: 12 starts, 23 years old
• Matt Strahm: 12 starts, 27 years old
• Cal Quantrill: 6 starts, 24 years old
• Pedro Avila: 1 start, 22 years old
• Robbie Erlin: 1 start, 28 years old
• Luis Perdomo: 1 start, 26 years old
Five pitchers each have 12 starts or more this season, with the oldest being just 27.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller knows that his farm system is one of the deepest in baseball, and they are filled with promising young hurlers.
When San Diego signed free agents Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado to huge contracts over the last two off seasons, they were committed to improving their club and competing for a division title.
Young prospects like shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and Paddack broke Spring Training with the big-league club rather then get their first taste of Triple-A experience with El Paso.
Both Paddack and Tatis Jr. have thrived with San Diego this season, but the team is still two games under .500 and in fourth place in the NL West.
It seems like the Padres know they are still a year away from competing for the playoffs, and they would rather test all of their young pitchers to see which ones can contribute when they are ready to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While the team continues to shuffle its roster, the Chihuahuas are in first place and they have the second-best record in the Pacific Coast League.
Allen and Quantrill have pitched well for the Chihuahuas this season, and players like Ty France, Luis Urias and Jose Pirela have powered the team for much of the season.
Urias is considered the Padres’ second baseman of the future and France is batting an incredible .426 this season with the Chihuahuas.
The team also called catcher Francisco Mejia back to the big leagues this week after he hit .365 in 18 games with El Paso.
The Chihuahuas appear poised to make their fifth playoff run in their six-year history. Hopefully, their success will soon translate to the Padres.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.