A number of San Diego Padres prospects have had big winters down in Venezuela.
As the Venezuelan winter league enters the final days of the regular season, a few San Diego Padres prospects, including Top 30 prospects, have either wrapped up or are wrapping up very successful seasons in South America.
The eight-team league is currently led by the Navegantes del Magallanes who sit atop the standings with a 34-24 record a 2.5 game lead over the Leones del Caracas, with just four days remaining in the regular season.
Venezuela may not feature the elite prospects like the Dominican winter league, however, a few intriguing Padres prospects made their way back home to work on their craft during the Major League Baseball offseason.
Below is a quick recap of how each prospect performed this winter, beginning with one of many promising catching prospects featured in the San Diego farm system.
Catcher Luis Torrens– Torrens is coming off a three-hit performance in his last contest, putting him at a .320/.342/.387/.728 line 23 games into his Venezuelan performance. He has five doubles, 14 runs driven in, and a 9/2 K/BB ratio. Most notably, Torrens is hitting .529 with runners in scoring position.
The 22-year-old had a solid 2018 with the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm and will look to continue his impressive streak as he likely begins the 2019 season with the Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles. In Lake Elsinore, Torrens hit .280 with six home runs and 36 doubles while striking out just 77 times in 475 at-bats. He is part of a large contingent of catchers in the San Diego Padres farm system who are going to be exciting players to follow as they develop or are used as valuable trade pieces.
RHP Pedro Avila– Avila’s season in Venezuela ended in early November, completing a short yet dominant run as he prepares for a critical 2019 season. Avila made four starts, going 1-0 with a 0.89 ERA, allowing just two earned runs across 20 innings. He struck out 25 hitters, walked just three, and held opponents to a .211 average.
The RHP was recently added to the 40-man roster and is preparing to make the difficult jump from High-A to Double-A after striking out 142 hitters in 130 innings in Lake Elsinore. He fanned 170 hitters between Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne in 129 innings back in 2017.
LHP Dietrich Enns– Enns recently signed with the San Diego Padres on a minor league deal, coming over from the Minnesota Twins organization. Enns has been a teammate of Avila’s during his time in Venezuela, making seven starts with his last start coming back on November 17. Enns logged three starts of at least five innings of shutout baseball, finishing with a 3-2 overall record and 3.13 ERA. In 31.2 innings of work, he allowed 31 hits and 11 walks while striking out 20. He will serve as AAA relief depth for the Padres in 2019.
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OF Edward Olivares– Edward Olivares was also added to the 40-man roster last month and has completed a highly productive season in the Venezuelan winter league. Across 29 games, Olivares hit .340 with a .404 OBP, two home runs, three doubles, two triples, and 14 runs driven in. He swiped five bags and finished with an .883 OPS. Olivares struggled against left-handed pitching, hitting .211, as opposed to a .373 average against RHP.
If Olivares can show off his power and speed combination in Double-A, the Padres will have themselves a very intirguing option in the Top 30 prospect. Acquired for former infielder Yangervis Solarte in a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays last year, it appears that this could be a very positive trade for AJ Preller and the Padres.
We will spend the rest of this week highlighting more performances from around the winter ball scence, including big winters from top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr.