The Mexico Connection: Padres’ Farm System Flourishing With Mexican Talent

Credit: AP Photo

(Andres Munoz) Credit: MiLB

Jesse Flores debuted with the Chicago Cubs in 1942. The right-handed pitcher from Guadalajara Mexico had a seven-year career in the majors where he won 44 games in 176 appearances and 973 innings for the Cubs, Philadelphia Athletics, and Cleveland Indians.

You hear absolutely nothing about this man, and that is a shame. He laid the groundwork for many successful major league pitchers.

Fernando Valenzuela is arguably the best Mexican-born player to have played the game as he won 173 games, a Rookie of the Year Award, a Cy Young Award, and was a six-time all-star before the age of 26. He also threw five years of 250 innings plus before the age of 26, and that excessive workload certainly made him ineffective at the end of his career.

The lefty is well-recognized as the greatest pitcher from Mexico, but there are several names that deserve praise for their careers. Teddy Higuera, Ismael Valdez, Ricardo Rincon, and Francisco Cordova had long careers in the majors. Local prep-pitchers Jose Silva (Hilltop), Esteban Loaiza (Mar Vista), Sergio Mitre (Montgomery), and Vidal Nuno (Sweetwater) have all contributed as well. San Diego is certainly well-represented in the major leagues.

The Padres have several arms that should toe the rubber at Petco Park one day. Here is a list of the current Mexican-born hurlers.


Andres Munoz RHP

In the AFL this winter, Munoz made a name for himself by throwing 102 MPH at the all-star game. He has an electric arm and is only 18, which is shocking to most. The Los Mochis native has shown an excellent slider as well. He does have issues with his motion, and repeating it, and can get a bit wild from time to time. Munoz went 3-0 last year for the Dust Devils with a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings pitched. The right-hander struck out 38 in that time, while walking 18. He has decent size at 6′ 2″ and a repeatable delivery, so he could advance this 2018 season. He is still a few years from seriously knocking on the door to the majors, but his arm is golden.

Gerardo Reyes RHP

At 5′ 11″, Reyes does not look like a hard thrower, but that is exactly what he is. He gets excellent leverage and tops out in the mid to upper 90’s with his velocity. The Ciudad Victoria native went 3-3 last year in Lake Elsinore, where he recorded a 2.63 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 61 innings pitched. Reyes struck out 65 in that time and walked 31 batters. He needs to improve his secondary and his command to advance further, but the 24-year-old has the arsenal to pitch for the Padres one day. He is a dark-horse candidate to make an appearance this upcoming 2018 season at Petco.

(G. Reyes) Credit: Storm Baseball

Martin Carrasco RHP

This Tijuana native just knows how to pitch. He might not have the best velocity or stuff, but he gets outs. In time, the velocity might come, but he will always have pinpoint control and composure, and that is a good thing. The 18-year-old started 13 games last year in the DSL and was 1-4 with a 2.64 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. He walked only seven batters while striking out 31 in 61 innings pitched, showing unbelievable control for a 17-year-old (at the time). He could get a start at Fort Wayne, but a Tri-City start seems more likely. We will see what this young man shows in the spring.

Adrian Martinez RHP

At 21, this right-handed pitcher is still considered a deep prospect. He went 2-3 last year in the AZL with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Martinez is a right-hander with a decent arm, but was sidelined in 2016 with an injury. He was signed in 2015 from Mexico City and could still develop. Martinez has decent size and strength and will slowly work his way into the mix. He has a decent fastball, but must get control of his off-speed pitches to progress in the system.

Duilio Ochoa RHP

Former outfielder Duilio Ochoa played for Culiacan, his home town team, as an outfielder, but did not have the bat to stick at the position in professional baseball. He was purchased by the Padres from the Mexican team and has shown some promise as a hurler. He went 4-0 last season with a 4.50 ERA in 16 games (five starts) and 48 innings pitched between the DSL Padres and the AZL Padres. He struck out 40 in that time and walked 23 batters. The 19-year-old will look to add velocity and refine his mechanics this coming year.

Carlos Valenzuela LHP

This left-handed pitcher from Heroica Caborca in Sonora is very small, but has shown some promise. At 5′ 9″ and 155 lbs, he is built like Fernando Valenzuela, but the pitcher does not have the arm of the Mexican great. Carlos Valenzuela went 2-4 last year in the DSL, recording a 3.86 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He stuck out 30 batters in 44 innings, while only walking six. He attacks hitters, but does lack the overall velocity presently to be considered a prospect. At the age of 17, he has a great idea of what he is doing on the mound and should add some size and strength. He is a deep sleeper.

Jose Medina LHP

The Friars selected this hurler in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft this December. The Culiacan Sinola native was 2-6 last year in the Mets’ minor league system, with a 3.27 ERA. He struck out only 47 batters in 74 innings, but shows great command as he walked only 14. He pounds the zone and will join the Triple-A team in El Paso. Medina has started in the past and could be used in the rotation or as a long reliever.

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Peter Phelps
Peter Phelps
5 years ago

Adrian Gonzalez was born in San Diego.

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