This is the first of our weekly check-ins of San Diego Padres prospects throughout all of the winter leagues, with this piece focusing on the Venezuelan Winter League.
As we previously stated in our Venezuelan Winter League preview, the San Diego Padres have a handful of prospects who returned home to play their offseason baseball, including two who are facing critical decisions as to whether or not they are protected from the upcoming Rule-5 draft or left available to the rest of the league.
Every Sunday, we want to bring you updates on all of our beloved Padres who flew south for the winter (or way out west to Australia) to continue honing their skills, and in some cases, enjoy an MLB offseason of playing in front of their hometown crowd. Let’s begin by taking a look Bravos de Margarite pitcher, Pedro Avila.
One week into the regular season, Avila has started one game for the Bravos, tossing four scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and one walk. He struck out five in the process and was effective at keeping the ball on the ground. The biggest thing to keep an eye on throughout the winter is the ability of Avila to limit walks, as he did in his first start.
After a successful offseason run in Australia, infielder Gabriel Arias decided to play at home this winter with the Tiburones de La Guaira and has come out of the gate a bit slow. Through his first eight games, Arias is hitting .250 (6-24, all singles) with three walks, seven strikeouts, and one run scored. He has also swiped two bags. What are we watching for with Arias this offseason? Keep an eye on his K/BB ratio in Venezuela.
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Last but not least, we turn to the last place Tigres de Aragua, who feature two Padres prospects, including one of the hottest hitters in the league thus far, Edward Olivares. Another prospect who the San Diego Padres will need to make a big decision about, Olivares has played in five games, hitting .333 (7-21) with two home runs. He has at least one hit in each game he was played in.
I asked the question earlier, will the speed and power of Olivares lead the Padres to protect him on the 40-man roster? With two home runs and two stolen bases in five games, he’s making his case.
Lastly, infielder Reinaldo Ilarraza has just nine at-bats but has recorded four hits (all singles) in his limited action. Fellow teenage prospect Blinger Perez has yet to play through the first week of the regular season.
Updates from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Arizona will follow throughout the day on Sunday over at Friars On Base.