The 2016 MLB season is officially over, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.
Awards are presently being given out and free agents are starting to be picked up. The baseball season as a whole is never really over. Especially for a franchise like the San Diego Padres who are looking to rebuild their team from within. Players must give it their all to progress and become key members moving forward. The winter league season is currently starting in and around Latin America.
There are currently 18 players from the organization spread across Venezuela, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic participating in winter league ball. Among some of the notables are Alexi Amarista, Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje,and Cesar Vargas. We will go over how these four players are doing and also examine the other 14 player’s winter season.
Alexi Amarista INF
Alexi is playing in his native Venezuela with his hometown Caribes de Anzoategui. “Little Ninja” has been playing with the team since 2008. Alexi has currently not had a great sample size, just having five at bats so far this winter. Amarista has only achieved a single and a walk in the five at bats. But hopefully he can get a few more at bats. He is currently serving as a mentor to young Brewer’s prospect Orlando Arcia who is also on the team. Arcia is the young brother of current Padres’ outfielder Oswaldo Arcia.
Carlos Asuaje INF
Asuaje got his cup of coffee with the Padres at the end of the 2016 season. Asuaje seemed to be the least impressive of the prospects that were brought up to the MLB squad, batting just .208 in seven games with no home runs and two RBI. The Venezuelan infielder has decided to go to the Dominican league with the prestigious Leones del Escogido. The Leones are one of the top teams in the LIDOM, having won 17 titles, and are the current champions. Not to mention, they also have four Caribbean Series titles under their belt. Asuaje is currently getting some nice playing time, having participated in 19 games. Asuaje has looked solid, batting .250 with a double, a triple, 10 RBI, and a productive .325 OBP. Asuaje is joined by several other current and former MLB players, including former Friar Pedro Ciriaco, on the team.
Daniel Bravo 2B
Bravo is a guy that you may not have even heard of yet. Well, the 21-year-old spent 2016 with the Fort Wayne TinCaps and the Lake Elsinore Storm. The young second baseman struggled heavily in Fort Wayne, batting just .154 in eight games. He looked much better in Lake Elsinore, batting .234 in 30 games. Bravo is with the current Venezuelan League Champions, the Tigres de Aragua. Bravo has not looked impressive, batting under the Mendoza line at .190 in 20 games. Bravo has also yet to homer and only has two RBI. One positive is that Bravo’s OBP is at .306, which is relatively high when you look at how low his BA is. He has managed to steal two bases by utilizing his above average speed. Bravo is joined by many major leaguers on the team, and former Friars as well. This includes Odrisamer Despaigne, Alex Torres, and Wil Ledezma.
Gamboa is a really interesting player in the San Diego Padres system. The infielder has yet to play a game with any of the Padres’ minor league affiliates. Gamboa spent all of 2014 and 2015 in the Mexican League. He is currently doing the same in 2016. Gamboa played earlier in the year with the Diablos Rojos del Mexico while the MLB season was going on. The 25-year-old was successful with Los Diablos, batting .321 with nine home runs and 53 RBI. Juan Carlos is currently playing ball with his hometown Caneros de Los Mochis in the Mexican Pacific League. The 5-foot-7 infielder is looking solid, batting .262 in 28 games with six RBI and a nice .331 OBP. Hopefully, Gamboa can find success and make his way into one of the Padres affiliates in 2017. The last time Gamboa was with a big league affiliate was in 2013. The Mexican infielder played for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the Mets system and really struggled, batting a mere .195 in 32 games.
The 22-year old is one of the most exciting prospects the Padres currently have. Margot did get his glimpse of the majors in 2016, participating in 10 games. Manny really looked impressive and brought hope to this rebuilding process the Padres are aiming for. In the 10 games, Margot achieved a BA of .243 with four doubles, a triple, three RBI, and two stolen bases. Margot is currently in the Dominican League with Toros del Este and is looking very sharp. In 21 games, Margot is batting .256 with a home run, five RBI, and five stolen bases. Margot will surely be a big part of the Padres moving forward. Hopefully, the young Dominican outfielder can continue to perform and progress in the LIDOM.
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