San Diego Padres: Aldemar Burgos Dominated in Puerto Rico.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 17: Fans of Team Puerto Rico waves the Puerto Rican Flag while watching the game against Team Japan during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at AT
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 17: Fans of Team Puerto Rico waves the Puerto Rican Flag while watching the game against Team Japan during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at AT /

San Diego Padres prospect Aldemar Burgos made great strides in his development this winter, culminating in a Puerto Rican League battle title. You won’t find the 21-year-old on any top prospect list, but he does possess a few tools that could develop nicely.

Four months ago, baseball was the last thing on people’s mind in Puerto Rico. Businesses and homes still lay in ruin. Electricity and cell phone service have yet to be restored to many parts of the island. Families continue to adjust to a new “normal” daily life. San Diego Padres’ prospect Aldemar Burgos was one of many native Puerto Rican players who returned home to try and bring a sense of “normalcy” to the community. 

Despite incomprehensible hardships, the Puerto Rican baseball community remained determined to bring a sliver of joy to the rest of the island. The Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente made the decision to play an abbreviated 18-game regular season schedule. The decision allows the championship team to defend their nation’s title in the Caribbean World Series, slated to begin on February 2nd.

Torching his way through the Puerto Rican league was 21-year-old Padres prospect, Aldemar Burgos. Burgos ended the shortened regular season as the league’s batting champion after posting a .403 average.

He finished first in the league in hits (25), third in total bases (30), third in on-base percentage (.431), fourth in slugging percentage (.484), and fourth in OPS (.915).

The scouting report on San Diego Padres’ Aldemar Burgos.

Burgos was an eighth-round draft pick of the Padres back in 2015. He has since worked his way up to short-season A-ball with the Tri-City Dust Devils where he appeared in 47 games last season. There was a brief two-game promotion to high-A Lake Elsinore. He went 0-7 with five strikeouts in those two appearances.

You won’t find Burgos on MLB Pipeline or Baseball America’s lists of top prospects for the San

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Diego Padres. He’s also absent on John Sickel’s breakdown of the Padres farm system on that includes 79 prospects of note. That could be because throughout 140 career minor league games, Burgos is slashing just .211/.261/.289/.550 with just 26 total extra-base hits and 146 strikeouts.

The breakout winter is surprising and a positive sign. I’m sure a career .211 hitter won’t make a move to high-A Lake Elsinore and hit .300, but it’s progress. Coming out of the draft, scouting reports often noted that Burgos would be a late bloomer. He’s still just 21, so there’s plenty of time.

Evaluators have noted that Burgos does have some potential pop in his bat. However, he’s a defense-first center fielder whose glove will be a valued commodity. You can get a feel for his swing with this video. 

He’s tall and lanky (6’0”, 165 pounds) with a big swing. A few slight adjustments to his hands and lower half could turn him into a hitter that can survive more advanced pitching.

Expect to see Burgos begin the 2018 season in Lake Elsinore. With so much depth, particularly in the outfield, Burgos will be afforded the time to develop without any pressure or urgency.

You can watch Burgos in the Carribean Series, currently airing on the WatchESPN app and ESPN Deportes.

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