There are many young San Diego Padres players are having excellent seasons with their respected winter league clubs. The two offseason additions, infielder Carlos Asuaje and Jose Pirela are both having an exceptional winter league season so far. Pirela has been tearing it up for the Aguilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan winter league. The team is in last place but Pirela has had a great winter. A .357 batting average to go with a very promising nine strike outs in 126 at bats.
Carlos Asuaje has been in Phoenix for the Arizona Fall League season and many Padres fans have gotten a much closer look at his abilities. Asuaje hit .329 in the short-season. Both young infielders are having great winters and at a perfect time as each could be a key member for their new ball clubs.
Austin Hedges has powered three home runs this brief season in only 72 at bats. He has continued to struggle making contact and working the count. His low on base percentage and low batting average need to improve if he want to grasp a job at the major league level. The power is a positive thing but the Padres still need some more development from their young backstop. His defense will alone ensure him a decent major league career, but if he can hit just a little, he could be very special.
Rymer Liriano continues to put up solid but unspectacular numbers. He has put up decent power numbers this winter (three home runs) but the strike out (27) to walk (12) rate still needs work. Rymer has also stolen five bases this winter. He has an outside chance to win the left field job, but would need an excellent spring and the Padres to stand pat at that position. Not likely to happen, and there is still a chance Wil Myers could end up in left field for 2016.
Three young prospects are developing their skills. Nick Torres, Fernando Perez and Luis Urias are all providing decent at bats at the plate while showing the progression necessary to make it to the next level. Torres and Perez are 22 and a season or two from being major league ready. Urias is a 19-year-old wonder who has excellent baseball skills but is extremely thin and has virtually no power. He could develop into a decent prospect if he can pack on some weight and muscle without losing anything from his smooth swing.
New prized prospect Manuel Margot has had mixed offensive numbers this winter. He has hit three home runs in 78 at bats but is only hitting .218 with a .281 on base percentage. The young outfielder is clearly still a work in progress, but his skill set and ceiling are very high. Margot will shore up the Padres minor league system and also give the Padres something to look forward to in 2017 and beyond.
- Carlos Asuaje- 73 at bats .329/.359/.425 one homer run and seven RBIs (17 K’s)
- Rocky Gale– 32 at bats .375/.394/.438 zero home runs and four RBI’s (2 K’s)
- Juan Carlos Gamboa– 150 at bats .200/.306/.320 three home runs and 14 RBIs (27 K’s)
- Ruddy Giron– 12 at bats .167/.231/.167 zero home runs and zero RBI (2 K’s)
- Austin Hedges- 72 at bats .236/.276/.389 three homer runs and five RBIs (14 K’s)
- Rymer Liriano- 80 at bats .213/.315/.363 three home runs and 13 RBIs (27 K’s)
- Manuel Margot- 78 at bats .218/.281/.397 three home runs and 11 RBIs (19 K’s)
- Ryan Miller– 66 at bats .258/257/470 two home runs and 16 RBIs (11 K’s)
- Fernando Perez- 56 at bats .250/.328/.411 one home run and seven RBIs (14 K’s)
- Jose Pirela- 126 at bats .357/.434/.508 two home runs and 15 RBIs (9 K’s)
- Gabriel Quintana– 62 at bats .226/.294/.323 one home run and four RBIs (25 K’s)
- Nick Torres- 87 at bats .264/.278/.379 two home runs and seven RBIs (20 K’s)
- Luis Urias- 107 at bats .280/.369/.308 zero home runs and 11 RBIs (15 K’s)
The pitchers for the Padres are headlined by recent minor league free agent Luis Diaz who the Padres signed this offseason. He is currently 1-1 with a 1.55 ERA for the Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan winter leagues. He was a former Red Sox farm hand who owns a career 3.91 ERA in his seven minor league seasons. The 23-year-old had a bad year last year in Double-A where he went 2-10 with a 5.47 ERA in 136 innings pitched. He could be a valuable player for the Padres eventually and if his winter league is any indication of his future, then it is a great pickup by the Padres scouting department.
Padres #11 prospect Tayron Guerrero has been roughed up a bit in the Venezuelan winter leagues. He has a 6.75 ERA and converted one save for his team Los Aguilas del Zulia. Guerrero has an electric fastball but has struggled with command throughout his minor league history. The 24-year-old is very close to being major league ready but he must improve his WHIP rate to become attractive to the Padres.
#13 prospect Ryan Butler has been pitching very well for the Padres. He has a 3-1 record with a 2.45 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. The 23-year-old pitcher has the ability to pitch out of the pen or start. It is still unclear where he will pitch ultimately and even in the winter leagues this season he made four starts and appeared out of the pen twice. He has excellent size and a live arm. He probably is not on the Padres radar until 2017 at the earliest.
With the Padres looking for help in the bullpen, two veteran pitchers could be useful. Journeyman Marcos Mateo has yet to allow a run and has five saves for his team in the Dominican winter league. Jay Jackson who made his major league debut last season at the age of 28 has also failed to allow a run and has three saves. He has struck out an impressive 16 batters in nine innings pitched. Both veteran pitchers will be fighting for a spot on the Padres roster. If they continue to pitch with the kind of dominance they have displayed this winter, then the Padres bullpen will be in decent shape. That’s a big if though.
- Ryan Butler- 3-1 with 2.45 ERA and 1.70 WHIP 14 innings pitched, 10 strike outs
- Leonel Campos– 0-1 with 6.43 ERA and 1.86 WHIP seven inning pitched, 10 strike outs
- Luis Diaz- 1-1 with 1.55 ERA and 1.10 WHIP 46 innings pitched, 34 strike outs
- Tayron Guerrero- 0-0 with 6.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP nine innings pitched, seven K’s
- Cody Hebner– 0-1 with 5.43 ERA and 1.56 WHIP eight innings pitched, nine strike outs
- Jay Jackson- 1-0 with 0.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP nine innings pitched, 16 strike outs, three saves
- Marcos Mateo- 1-0 with 0.00 ERA and 0.60 WHIP 10 innings pitched, 10 strike outs, five saves
- Elliot Morris– 0-1 with 6.52 ERA and 1.34 WHIP nine innings pitched, five strike outs
- Eric Yardley– 1-0 with 5.25 ERA and 1.42 WHIP 12 innings pitched, eight strike outs, three saves
- Cesar Vargas– 0-1 with 3.66 ERA and 1.58 WHIP 19 innings pitched, 25 strike outs