Sammy Zavala hitting his stride with Storm


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When a team is enjoying a lot of success, it is quite easy to pick out standout players.

While Lake Elsinore has been fortunate to get production from all around their roster, one name to keep your eye on is Samuel Zavala.

Signed by San Diego as international free agent at just 16 years old in January of 2021, Zavala is one of the youngest players in the Padres organization. He immediately was assigned to the Dominican Summer League, where he slashed .297/.400/.487 line in 55 games.

Last season, the Padres promoted Zavala to the Arizona Fall League, which he made quick work of. Seeing positive results, the Padres promoted him to Single-A Lake Elsinore, making him the youngest player in the league at just 17 years old.

Despite the increased level of competition, Zavala rose to the occasion hitting .254 with seven home runs in 33 games while helping his team win the Cal League, more than holding his own.

The slugging ability, however, did not carry over to 2023, at least not initially for the young left-handed hitter. The Padres’ #4 prospect started off the season in a rut, hitting just 5-for-40 while striking out 16 times through his first nine games. 

After making a few adjustments, the Venezuelan outfielder has heated up, raising his batting average from .125 to .256 (April 19 – May 11). In the 18-game span, Zavala has hit 18-for-49 (.367/.508/.612) with 14 runs scored, 13 walks, three doubles, three home runs, and 14 runs batted in while stealing five bags. 

Thanks to his promising bat control, Zavala has been able to cut his strikeout rate from 33% in the first nine games to just 19% since. 

“At the beginning of the season, my rhythm was late. I’ve started charging on the ball, and I’m starting to see results,” Zavala told EVT last week in an interview. Zavala’s ability to make adjustments has been a huge factor in his development since signing with the Padres in 2021. 

Utilizing an open stance and a high leg kick load, scouts rave about Zavala’s potential. He possesses a smooth left-handed swing that often helps him find the barrel of the bat. Currently listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Zavala has a very athletic build with room to grow.

“My goal is to be a 20-20 guy, but I’m ready to do whatever my team needs from me,” Zavala told EVT. A team player in every sense of the imagination, Zavala is very mature for his age. He is fluent in English and prides himself on communication.

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“I’m trying to stay steady in my approach and hit it to all fields. As I get into a rhythm, the hits will come,” Zavala said.  When asked about his outfielder’s early struggles, Storm manager Pete Zamora was assured it was a mere blip in the road.

“His instincts are what they are and that’s what people praise him for. He’s a young man and just needs to play more baseball. It will get better as the season goes,” Zamora said. 

With Zavala hitting his stride on a consistent basis, the outfielder could be looking at a promotion at some point this summer. For the time being, the Lake Elsinore Storm will enjoy the production from the 18-year-old outfielder. If you’d like a chance to see Zavala, head on up the 15 freeway and check out a game at the Diamond. The drive isn’t as bad as you think it is. The Storm are playing great baseball right now, and there is plenty of talent on the roster to enjoy, including Sammy Zavala. 

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