A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres are at it again.
In a constant search for talent, the San Diego Padres have signed an Independent League pitcher named Miguel Cienfuegos.
The left-handed pitcher will be 26 next baseball season and has no experience in professional baseball. Cienfuegos did record a 10-2 record last season and a 1.79 ERA in 131 innings for Quebec in the Frontier League. So there is plenty of ability.
Cienfuegos won the pitcher of the year in the Frontier League as he pitched his team to a championship. “Every place I go, I want to win, I want to be the best, and I couldn’t ask for a better season than this year,” Cienfuegos said after the season. The lefty speaks well and shows a lot of confidence on the mound.
There is a fire in his belly to compete as Cienfuegos was out of the game for a while during the Covid years. He simply did not garner interest after his collegiate career was over.
He did not pitch in 2019 and 2020 after his time at Northwest Florida State College, where he pitched and played some outfield. He went back to Canada, where he is from, and became involved in baseball clinics in the area.
Cienfuegos was hitting 93 mph on his return to Canada, which was his highest velocity ever. He decided to give baseball another try and was able to stick with the Capitales de Quebec of the Frontier League. Cienfuegos went 9-6 in 2021 for Quebec, recording a 3.78 ERA and a 1.243 WHIP in 116.2 innings pitched. That was an excellent first year for the pitcher, and he built on that in 2022.
The Canadian southpaw is a strike thrower with good mechanics, Cienfuegos only walked 26 batters last year in 131 innings. He will pound the zone and attempt to get ahead of batters, and that is why he had so much success in Canada. “I am a strike thrower. I want to control every pitch and just pound the zone. I’m confident, I’m a competitor who loves to laugh, loves to joke, but when it’s time to play…it’s time to play,” Cienfuegos told Eric Balnar of the Adelaide Giants.
His velocity is reportedly up to 95-96 mph as he is currently pitching in the Australian Baseball League for the Adalaide Giants. The Padres will likely ask him to rest now in preparation for the spring training in two months.
The Padres will likely take it slow with Cienfuegos. Do not count on him contributing to the major league club in 2023, but you never know. A Double-A start seems wise, as the Padres will not want to bash his confidence by pitching in El Paso and the PCL to begin his career.
Cienfuegos provides some more versatility to the pitching core. His signing is another example of how hard A.J. Preller and his staff work to find talent. His last name, Cienfuegos, literally translates to 100 fires. Let’s hope he brings that fire to Petco Park next season and beyond.