The Padres recently announced the signing of a powerful and talented Cuban prospect by the name of Jorge Ona, who is 19 years old, and whom AJ Preller compared to Albert Belle, a man who averaged over 37 home runs a year in his 10 full time seasons.
Hot on the heels of the Padres signing Cuban pitcher Adrian Morejon the Padres have blown past any international spending limits with aplomb and don’t look like they are done. With more than 11 months still remaining in the international free agency year the Padres have already spent more than $60 Million on international talent, which is more than they have spent on free agents in the past 2 years combined.
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Jorge Ona is listed as 6’1” and 200 pounds, which is roughly the same size as Adrian Morejon was listed at and about 50 pounds heavier than Melvin Upton Jr., who is listed at 185 pounds. This is the part where someone in the Padres front office smiles and winks at us as there is no way Upton weighs 185.
There is little in the way of information on Ona as he has, like other Cubans, not played professional baseball in nearly two years. His last live action was during the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship in September of 2014 in Mexico. He did perform exceptionally during the tournament that the USA was named the champion of when hurricane Odile interrupted a game between the USA and Cuba.
In the one game against USA that did go all nine innings, Ona went 1 for 4 with an RBI against Kale Breaux, who is at Mississippi State and was recently named Mr. Baseball in Louisiana. Ona batted fifth in that lineup.
Even if we are somewhat in the dark as far as game scores and results on Ona, the scouts are high on him, rating him the #8 international prospect on the board, and the chatter indicates that he will move quickly through the system. In a somewhat related move, the Padres are holding both Ona and Morejon out of organized ball this year in order to start their clocks in 2017, which has gotten shockingly little attention considering all the hype over Kris Bryant’s clock being delayed. Good things are ahead for the Padres farm systems, now, where is my map to Lake Elsinore?