Esteban Quiroz could be an option for the San Diego Padres in 2020.
The San Diego Padres traded away Luis Urias along with Eric Lauer to the Milwaukee Brewers for Zach Davies and Trent Grisham this past Wednesday on Nov. 27. There are still mixed opinions about the trade among Padres’ fans as Luis Urias was a highly-touted prospect and was considered the future second baseman of the team.
There is now a hole at second base as Ian Kinsler is not expected to man the position for the entire 2020 season. While the Padres may look for a trade or free agency to fill the spot, there are some options within the organization, including Esteban Quiroz.
The 27-year-old infielder has yet to make his MLB debut, but possess several years of experience under his belt, specifically in Mexico. “Pony” has been playing professionally in Mexico since 2011 and has outgrown the leagues south of the border. He is ready for the next level.
Quiroz was acquired by the Padres in the 2018 offseason from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Colten Brewer. The Sonora native was plugged straight into Triple-A El Paso this past season, and he had quite an impressive year with the Chihuahuas.
The Mexican infielder hit .271/.384/.539 in the 2019 PCL season with 19 home runs, 66 RBIs, and an OPS of .923. Quiroz’s improved power over the past few years may have to do with several factors in the Pacific Coast League more than anything else, though he does have decent pop for a middle infielder.
“Pony” has plenty of baseball experience, playing with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, and seems to be ready to test his luck in the MLB. The 27-year-old is versatile as he can play shortstop and third base, which helps his case to make the Padres’ 2020 Opening Day roster.
There are still several months left until the first pitch of the 2020 MLB season, and several things can happen until then, as Jonathan Villar is a possible option to fill that second base hole. Ty France may also have a crack at the job, but he is simply not a very exciting option. Greg Garcia is also sure to be in the mix as well.
Quiroz brings that unknown factor as he is yet to play in the Major Leagues, which is risky, but also exciting. He is a very short player listed at 5-foot-7 but is the type of player that will leave every ounce of effort on the field, much like Jose Altuve. Of course, his current talent-level is not comparable to Altuve but the way he goes about the game and his physical appearance is reminiscent of the Astros’ second baseman.
In 2018, at Double-A Portland, Quiroz hit .299/.413/.598 with seven home runs and a very respectable OPS of 1.011. In 2017 with Leones de Yucatan in the Mexican League, “Pony” hit 11 home runs and posted an OPS of .916 in 89 games.
Quiroz is a journeyman that has become a very solid player in Mexico and has proven himself at the minor league level as well. The 27-year-old may even play in the Mexican Pacific League playoffs this year, but it is still up in the air. “Pony” played baseball year-round throughout the bulk of his career playing in the LMB and LMP in Mexico. The Mexican infielder worked very hard to get to this point in his career, and now a golden opportunity to earn a role with the San Diego Padres is a possibility.
Yes, the Padres may go for a significant acquisition in the next few months, but Quiroz should still be considered for a roster spot come spring training.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. 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 local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.