Fernando Perez INF
The Otay Ranch High School alum is continuing to get game time and is also continuing to be productive in the Mexican Pacific League with Naranjeros de Hermosillo. Perez has now participated in 26 games with Hermosillo. His BA has dropped significantly since we last saw it, coming from .425 to .338. But really, a BA in any league over .400 is unrealistic. Perez managed to hit his second home run of the season this week, putting him at eight RBI on the season. Fernando’s OPS still stands at a very impressive .898. The 23-year-old has killed it so far with the bat. Hopefully, he can keep it up.
Jose Pirrela INF, OF
Pirela has continued to get playing time, with 54 at bats under his belt in the Venezuelan league with Aguilas de Zulia. The former Yankee has continued to have success and is looking to be the real deal in the LVBP. Pirela is hitting .370 BA in 15 games with a home run, three RBI, and still a ridiculous OPS of .979. The utility player will bring forth an interesting position battle for a bench spot in 2017 if he can keep it up.
Jose Rondon SS
As mentioned before, Rondon has made a switch. Rondon has been traded by Navegantes del Magallanes to the current champions, Tigres de Aragua. Rondon has only played one game with Tigres so far. The young infielder did not have a great debut with his new club, going 0-3 with a walk and a run. Rondon’s BA has dropped since last week, going from .280 to .260. One positive is that Jose did hit his first home run of the season in the LVBP. He is also now at seven RBI with two stolen bases. Jose is an up-and-coming promising prospect in the organization. Hopefully, he can produce some more.
There are now eight relief pitchers out in the winter leagues with the departure of Leonel Campos to the Blue Jays. Five of the nine relievers have manged to maintain that ERA of 0.00 they had last week. Yimmi Brasoban, Jose Castillo, Rafael De Paula, Bryan Rodriguez, and Wilmer Torres have yet to allow a run in their respective leagues. These five have combined for 18 and two-thirds scoreless innings. 20-year-old Jose Castillo has been really impressive with Navegantes del Magallanes from the Venezuelan League. Castillo has yet to allow a run in eight and two-thirds innings of work. Rafael De Paula has added another scoreless frame to his resume, now making it four scoreless innings in the LIDOM with Toros del Este.
The rest of the relief core out in the Winter Leagues consist of Keith Hessler, Gerardo Reyes, and Jose Ruiz. Hessler has been put to work in the Dominican Republic with the Gigantes del Cibao, pitching nine and two-thirds innings so far. Hessler only put in an inning of work this week, and it did not go well for the lefty. Hessler allowed a run on three hits against Tigres del Licey. That run has now raised Hessler’s ERA to 3.72 on the season. Gerardo Reyes was a man who had not allowed a run in seven and a half innings last time we saw him. Well, in his last outing, Reyes allowed his first run of the season, but it really wouldn’t go on to haunt him as he also won his first game of the season in that outing. Jose Ruiz is a name you might have heard this week. The 22-year-old catcher-turned-pitcher was recently added to the Padres 40-man roster as protection from the Rule-5 draft. Ruiz has unfortunately not gotten any playing time this week and still has only pitched one inning in the LVBP with Navegantes del Magallanes. Hopefully, next time we check in, Ruiz will have a few more innings under his belt.
Cesar Vargas RHP
We wrap up the second winter league report of 2016 with Cesar Vargas. “El Calmado” has yet to start a game in the Mexican Pacific League with Naranjeros de Hermosillo. But Vargas did pitch three and a third innings this week, which is quite a nice workload for a league like the LMP. Vargas did allow a run in one of his outings, but he definitely seems closer to being back on track to starting a game. Cesar has now also achieved nine strikeouts in his six and third innings of work. Vargas continues to tweet out many positive things. The other day, the righty said “I had forgotten what it was like to pitch for fun, until yesterday’s game. I enjoyed every pitch, like in the little leagues.”
It is great to see that the young Vargas is every day a step closer to fully recovering from his injury.
That wraps up the second report of the winter. Tune in next week to keep on seeing the progression of some of the stepping stones of the Padres future as they get playing time in various winter leagues.