San Diego Padres Winter League Update #5

Credit: Sentimos De Deporte

Fernando Perez INF

The Baja California native has stayed quiet in his last couple of games, not getting a hit. He still, however, has managed to keep it going with the bat overall in the Mexican Pacific League. The Otay Ranch High School alumnus has kept his average at .337. His on-base percentage has really been off the charts at .402 so you can see the maturity at the plate. I can’t wait to see what the young infielder can do in 2017 as his career keeps on progressing.

Jose Rondon SS

Rondon has picked it up since we last saw him. Rondon is still far from being at the level he was with his former team, Magallanes, but he has improved with Aragua. When we last checked in, Rondon was batting under the Mendoza line. Well, Rondon is now at .238 since joining the Tigres de Aragua. His on-base percentage has also risen to .310 in 21 games with Aragua.

Hector Sanchez C

The veteran catcher has looked great with Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan league. The switch hitter is batting .320 with a home run and five RBI in 15 games with Tiburones. Sanchez did join his club late into the LVBP, but he has been a consistent starter ever since. The former World Series champ with the Giants will need to keep it going if he wants a chance at making the 2017 roster. He was recently re-signed by the team after being released prior to the Rule-5 draft.

River Stevens 2B

We go to another one of our prospects in the Australian Baseball League. Stevens hasn’t received nearly as much playing time as Marcus Greene Jr, but he really has done just as well as the young backstop. Stevens has held a high BA of .310 in 10 games with the Canberra Calvary. While he has yet to hit a home run, he has been productive, with five RBI in his limited playing time.

Luis Tejada 1B

Tejada is a fresh name in the winter league update, but he is no stranger to the Padres’ organization. The first baseman has been with the Friars since 2010. But he just joined Gigantes del Cibao just recently. He hasn’t looked impressive so far, going just 1-for-12 with a walk in four games with Cibao. Hopefully, the 24-year old can keep on getting playing time and pick it up in the LIDOM.

Jose Carlos Urena OF

The 21-year-old hasn’t been a huge topic of interest throughout this winter league campaign. Recently however, Urena has received some playing time with his hometown Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League. The young outfielder hasn’t blown anyone away, going 2-for-9 with a walk. But it certainly is nice to see him getting some playing time now after sitting the bench to begin the season.

Christian Villanueva 3B

Joining Urena in Obregon, is a fresh new signing for the Friars, Christian Villanueva. The former Cubs’ prospect has looked solid in 15 games in the LMP. Villanueva has posted a .278 BA with three home runs, nine RBI, and a whopping .359 on-base percentage. The three home runs are really quite impressive from Villanueva, especially when you consider that he has only participated in 15 games. He looks like he might be one to keep an eye on in 2017.

Relief Pitchers

While there have been some new additions to the pitching crew in the winter leagues, there are still several relief pitchers who haven’t received much playing time at all. This would include Yimmi Brasoban, Carlos Fisher, Keith Hessler, Jose Ruiz, and Wilmer Torres.

The pitchers who have been active have really looked impressive, starting off with Jose Castillo with Magallanes in the LVBP. The 20-year-old of course now has a high-caliber teammate in Felix Hernandez. Castillo may just be one of the most impressive players out in the winter leagues for the Padres. The lefty looks like a seasoned veteran, with 13 and two-thirds scoreless innings under his belt now. Another really impressive reliever has been Rafael De Paula in the LIDOM. The 25-year-old is now up to nine and two-thirds scoreless innings. De Paula is really looking to be a legitimate bullpen option for the Padres going into 2017. De Paula’s teammate, Michael Dimock, has also looked very sharp out in the Dominican Republic. The 27-year-old could also find his way into the Padres’ bullpen in 2017.

Continuing with the theme of relievers who have an ERA of 0.00, we go to Zech Lemond in Australia. Lemond just recently achieved his first save of the season for the Canberra Cavalry and has yet to allow a run in 10 innings. Lastly, we go to another member of Obregon in the LMP, Gerardo Reyes. Reyes has not received as much of a workload as earlier in the season, but he still has held a 1.00 ERA over nine innings. The relief core is certainly a big plus this off-season. Hopefully they can continue their progression moving forward.

Bryan Rodriguez RHP

Speaking of guys moving forward, we go to Bryan Rodriguez of Gigantes del Cibao in the LIDOM. The 25-year-old started off as a reliever for Gigantes, but now has transitioned into a starter. In two games as a stater, the 6-foot-5 pitcher has yet to allow a run. Rodriguez has now posted a very impressive ERA of 0.49 over 18 and a half innings in the LIDOM.

Jhoulys Chacin

One of the most recent signings for the San Diego Padres is this former Rockie and Angel. With Chacin now part of the organization, Bryan Rodriguez is no longer the only pitcher within the organization starting games in the winter leagues. Chacin is out in the LVBP with Leones del Caracas. He is joined by several current and former MLB players, including Franklin Morales and Asdrubal Cabrera. Chacin has done solid work for the capital team, posting a 2.54 ERA over five starts. Chacin does have a solid chance of cracking the Padres rotation in 2017. It’ll be interesting to see how he does going forward.

Cesar Vargas

Unfortunately, Vargas has yet to start a game with Hermosillo in the LMP. Vargas, however, does continue to get some innings out of the pen. “El Calmado” is now up to 13 and two-thirds innings in the LMP. He has dropped his ERA under two, to an impressive 1.98. Hopefully, Vargas can soon join Rodriguez and Chacin as another starter in the winter leagues.

Until next time, Friar faithful. Hope everyone enjoys a great Christmas, and Go Padres!

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. 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 Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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