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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Nicholas Padilla

He’s 24 and throws hard, but hasn’t pitched much since 2019.

Cubs Zone

Today's subject is a relatively obscure prospect. Nicholas Padilla has pitched in as many off-season internationally as he has "games in the Cubs pipeline", with two. As little as I enjoy the 190 player off-season limit, Padilla's existence in the current Cubs pipeline weaves with new changes in development for an article.

Before I go much further, I'm not sure how many more of these I have in me. Many of my tales have already been told for this off-season. Soon, college games resume, and I'll be about finding "in progress" games to follow. Since Tottenham games rarely interfere with college schedules, I'm generally conflict-free like that. I probably have eight or ten more articles left, but we'll see.

Nicholas Padilla, right-handed pitcher

Born December 24, 1996, Bronx, New York
2015 13th Round Draft pick (Rays) from Grayson College (Dennison, Texas)
Acquired by the Cubs in December 2020 in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft

Tampa Bay has been fantastic in player development, recently. They lean toward very volatile pitchers, accepting that a few will get injured along the way. It's part of their cost of doing business.

A bit over a year ago, the Cubs took Padilla in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Not only wasn't he on the Rays’ 40-man roster, he also wasn't on their 38-man minor-league protection list. The Cubs selected him for a low-five-figures fee, and plugged him in.

He pitched in two games in June, and after that, his season was complete. This was his final outing.

While I don't know the extent of the injury, for this series, one factoid matters. He hasn't been released. Teams used to be able to retain however many players they wanted. Now the limit is 190 in the off-season. I imagine the Cubs are somewhat close to the limit, but anyone on the depth chart is on it for a reason. As Padilla is.

If any of the players listed on the depth chart linked above were zero percent chance types, they'd be gone. After all, every prospect will have housing covered this season. There's no point in springing for a room and monthly rate if they're hopeless.

Rays pitchers usually throw hard, and sometimes do so from odd release points. The Bronx Texan figures to get a look in Myrtle Beach or a South Bend in 2022, and if he's getting outs, he might move quickly. It's how Tampa does it, and they're the team everyone is happy copying these days.