The San Diego Padres have a huge connection with the country of Mexico.
Mexican independence day was this week (September 16), and the San Diego Padres have a few men on their active roster who are from the country of Mexico. Luis Urias, Andres Munoz, and Gerardo Reyes represent a new trend as the country has more and more players making it to the major leagues.
The San Diego Padres have one of the most profound connections to Mexico in MLB, as many Tijuana natives see the Friars as their hometown team. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers are still the most popular teams across Mexico, but the Padres have collected several Mexican fans over the years because of their players.
While the team is also popular south of the border because of its name, which is the only one in the MLB that offers a connection to Latin America, it is important to highlight the players the franchise has had over the years.
This connection started as early as the 1970s as Mexican baseball Hall of Famer Vicente Romo pitched for the Friars from 1973-1974. From then on the Padres had several notable Mexican players like Vinny Castilla, Fernando Valenzuela and more recently Christian Villanueva.
Not all Mexican players that have played for the Friars have been superstars, but there have been some very important players like Adrian Gonzalez. “Agon” finished his Padres’ career with 161 home runs, only two bombs away from the all-time Padres’ home run leader Nate Colbert.
Currently, Luis Urias, Gerardo Reyes, and Andres Munoz are all on the MLB roster, and Urias and Munoz have the potential to be key players in the next few years. Urias has been struggling, but his potential is too enticing to ignore, while Munoz is beginning to struggle, but can throw up to 102 mph and can one day become the closer for this team.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Mexican-born players in the organization as there are several talented Mexican players in the Padres’ system. For example, Efrain Contreras, Jose Quezada, Omar Cruz, Augustin Ruiz, and Adrian Martinez all played with the Fort Wayne TinCaps this year.
Martinez was eventually promoted to Lake Elsinore, and the Mexicali native was impressive as he even started a playoff game for the Storm. Tirso Ornelas joined Martinez in Lake Elsinore, and the Tijuana native did not have an ideal season batting .220/.309/.292, but he had some playoff heroics and even had a walk-off against Rancho Cucamonga.
Esteban Quiroz is another exciting name in the system as “Pony” hit .271/.384/.539 with 19 home runs and 66 RBIs in 96 games at Triple-A El Paso. Quiroz has the potential to be a role player next season for the Padres as he is set to stay active in the Mexican Pacific League during the offseason. There are also several other Mexican players in the Padres’ system like Manuel Partida, Brandon Valenzuela, Gilberto Vizcarra, and Tijuana native Martin Carrasco.
This connection is an important one in the organization as it is vital for all people in the San Diego community to see players that genuinely represent them. It is refreshing to head to Petco Park and see Andres Munoz talking in Spanish to Latino families in the mix of a tumultuous political climate.
It is also exciting to see players like Luis Urias, Andres Munoz, and Gerardo Reyes continue to progress and form part of the future of the San Diego Padres organization.