A number of San Diego Padres prospects have made their way down to Venezuela for winter ball.
One of the best things about baseball is that it never ends. While Major League Baseball begins to wind down the 2018 season, a large percentage of MiLB and many MLB players have made the journey south for the winter to continue playing in one of a number different winter leagues across Central and South America and even Australia. A few of these leagues begin play this weekend so let’s take a look at where a number of San Diego Padres prospects have chosen to play this winter, starting with the Venezuelan winter league.
The Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional has been the highest level of professional baseball in Venezuela since the mid-1940s and is now the home to a few Top 30 Padres prospects. The eight-team league runs from October 12 through December 29th with a four-team playoff taking place to crown the league champion and representative to the Caribbean Series.
Below is the complete list of Padres players in the LVBP and what team they will be playing for. We will update their progress every week throughout the season.
Cardenales de Lara
OF Blinger Perez– The Cardenales feature a few names familiar to baseball fans, including Jesus Montero and Alejandro De Aza, and feature one of the best names in the Padres farm system, Blinger Perez. Signed out of Venezuela, Perez is a 20-year-old former catcher who has converted to the outfield and spent 2018 in the Arizona League. He appeared in 34 games, hitting .229 with a .341 OBP, three home runs, and 17 runs driven in.
Tigres de Aragua
IF Reinaldo Ilarraza– The 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder played in 79 games between the Arizona League, Tri-Cities, and Fort Wayne this season, hitting .217 across all four levels with 15 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases. In the Tigres first game of the season, Ilarraza went 2-3 with two singles, a walk, and a run scored.
OF Edward Olivares– Ending the 2018 season as the #28 prospect in the Padres system, Olivares is coming off a season with the Lake Elsinore Storm that saw him hit .277 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, and swipe 21 bags. Outside of his 102/29 K/BB ratio, Olivares had a very successful first season in the organization. He returns home this winter to continue his development, having already stolen a base in his team’s opening night game.
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Tiburones de La Guaira
IF Gabriel Arias– It’s really hard to believe that Arias won’t turn 19 until spring training 2019, but the teenager spent the entire 2018 season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, slashing .240/.302/.352 with 27 doubles, six home runs, and 55 runs driven in. After a dominant offseason in Australia last year that brought a lot of attention his way, Arias will spend this offseason in his home country. The 20th-ranked prospect in the system featured a five-hit performance in the last week of the regular season for Fort Wayne.
Bravos de Margarita
RHP Pedro Avila– Avila ended the year as the 29th-ranked prospect in the system after going 7-9 with a 4.27 ERA and 142 strikeouts with the Lake Elsinore Storm. He struck out 10 or more hitters in three of his final five starts of the year. He stands just 5’11” however, Avila’s three-pitch mix could very well carry him into a major league starting rotation, as long as he can better his command as he moves up through the system.
We will continue to check in on how each of these San Diego Padres prospects is performing throughout the season.