The legendary pitcher was never the same after he left the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1990 as he became a journeyman in the major leagues. Fernando played in San Diego from 1995-1997 before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal that brought over Danny Jackson, Mark Sweeney, and Rich Batchelor to the Friars. Valenzuela posted a 4.22 ERA and had a 23-19 record with the Padres in 75 games in two and a half years.
Andres Berumen RHP
Berumen only played two years with the Padres, but was part of the blockbuster trade that sent Gary Sheffield to the Marlins and brought over Trevor Hoffman to the Friars. The Tijuana native received an opportunity to play with the great Fernando Valenzuela, but had a lackluster 5.66 ERA in 40 games with the Padres.
Roberto Ramirez LHP
Ramirez was part of the 98 team for the Padres, but only played in 21 games as he posted a dreadful 6.14 ERA. The left-hander’s MLB career ended in 1999 after posting an ERA over eight for the Colorado Rockies.
Vicente Palacios RHP
The Veracruz, Mexico native played in just seven games with the San Diego Padres in 2000 and allowed 10 runs in 10.2 innings pitched. Palacios enjoyed an eight-year MLB career with the Padres, Pirates, and Cardinals, and also had an extensive career in Mexico.
Rodrigo Lopez RHP
Lopez pitched on that same 2000 Friars’ team and also struggled as he had an ERA of 8.76 in six starts as a rookie. However, the Mexican right-hander went on to have a very solid 11-year MLB career, pitching with the Orioles, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Phillies, and Padres.
Gabe Alvarez 3B/OF
Alvarez was traded to San Diego by Detroit in 2000 for Dusty Allen, and did not quite work out as he only managed to get two hits in 13 at-bats. The Sonora, Mexico native had his last MLB at-bat in 2000 as he did not play for another MLB team again.
Oliver Perez LHP
Perez started off his career as a promising left-handed pitching prospect for the San Diego Padres in 2002. He never really lived up to his potential as a starting pitcher, but became a very solid relief pitcher later on in his career after joining the Seattle Mariners in 2012. The Sinaloa, Mexico native is at the tail-end of his career as he still has not found an MLB team for the 2018 season and could be playing just across the border from San Diego with the Tijuana Toros.
The Mexican catcher played with the Padres from 2003 until midway through the 2005 season, where he was part of a trade that brought over Miguel Olivo to the Friars. Ojeda hit .224 with 12 home runs in 370 at-bats with Bruce Bochy’s team. The Sonora, Mexico native has been successful post-retirement as he managed the Diablos Rojos del Mexico and is now part of the ownership group of the Generales de Durango in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol.
Ismael Valdez RHP
Valdez was an exciting young pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the mid to late nineties and played with the Padres towards the end of his career in 2004. “The Rocket” had a 9-6 record with a 5.53 ERA and was traded to the Florida Marlins for Travis Chick midway through the 2004 season.
Antonio Osuna RHP
Osuna was actually teammates with Ismael Valdez with the Dodgers in the nineties and with the Padres in 2004. Like Valdez, Osuna arrived in San Diego towards the tail-end of his career, but he had a decent season with a 2.45 ERA in 31 games out of the bullpen.
Dennys Reyes LHP
The Mexican lefty had an extensive and successful MLB career from 1997-2011. Reyes was also teammates with Valdez and Osuna on the Dodgers, but played with the Padres in 2005 at 28 years old. He had an unimpressive season, posting a 5.15 ERA, but went on to have the best year of his career in 2006 with the Minnesota Twins, posting a microscopic 0.89 ERA.
Vinny Castilla INF
Castilla is one of the best Mexican MLB players ever as he had over 1,800 hits and 320 home runs in his 16-year career. Like several other players on this list, the Oaxaca, Mexico native came to San Diego in the final years of his career. At 38 years old, Castilla only hit .232 in 72 games with the Friars and was released midway through the year.
Oscar Robles INF
Robles went 6-for-26 in 24 games for the San Diego Padres in 2007. The Tijuana, Mexico native did not play in MLB after 2007, but went on to play the last three years of his professional career with his hometown Tijuana Toros from 2015-2017.
Walter Silva RHP
Walter Silva is still going strong in Mexico at 40 years old, where has played most of his professional baseball career, but had a brief stint with the Padres in 2009. The Mexican right-hander posted an abysmal 8.76 ERA in six starts for Buddy Black.
Arturo Lopez LHP
Another pitcher that struggled for the Padres in 2009 was Arturo Lopez, who allowed five runs in 2.1 innings pitched. That was the lefty’s only season in MLB as he has enjoyed an extensive and fruitful career in Mexico since then.
Solis was 0-for-4 in five games with the Friars in 2012 as he is still trying to break into an MLB team. The Mexicali, Mexico native has recently played with the Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers organizations, and has been successful in Mexico as well.
Phil Plantier INF
Plantier had the best season of his career in San Diego back in 1993 when he hit .240 with 34 home runs and 100 RBI. The New Hampshire native played four seasons with the Friars and ended his tenure with the team with a .235 batting average with 57 home runs and 160 RBI.
Kenndy was traded to the Friars in 2013 from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Matt Stites and Joe Thatcher. The California native had a decent tenure in San Diego where he enjoyed surfing and posted a 3.97 ERA in 73 starts.
Cesar Vargas RHP
Vargas was one of the unluckiest players in Padres’ history as he never achieved his first major league win in seven starts with the team in 2016. The offense really let him down in a few of his starts as he showed some potential that should grant him another opportunity in MLB. Vargas never really showed his nerves as he maintained a calm and poised demeanor as if he was a seasoned veteran during his stint with the Friars. The Puebla, Mexico native is currently in the Washington Nationals organization and is in search of another chance to pitch in the majors.
Villanueva played in the minor leagues from 2009-2016 before finally getting his big break in the majors last season. The Mexican infielder was one of the revelations for the Friars in 2017 as he hit .344 with four home runs in 12 games. In 2018, Villanueva has been the Padres best players as he made the MLB team of the month for April and was named the National League rookie of the month for April as well. The Guadalajara native currently has a .299 batting average with nine home runs and 20 RBI and is leading all rookies in several categories.
The Next Wave
The San Diego Padres currently have several young, Mexican players within their farm system that are trying to make the major leagues. Many of these players probably grew up idolizing someone on this list and could someday make it to majors as well. Luis Urias leads the charge as he has immense talent and could even end up being a key player for the Friars in this rebuilding process.
There are even a few Tijuana natives within the organization, like 6-foot-4 outfielder Tirso Ornelas, who is still only 17 years old. An exciting pitcher in the system is Andres Munoz, who has already hit over 100 on the radar gun. Mexican players will still remain relevant with the San Diego Padres as the franchise seeks bigger and better things to come in the coming years.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.