The Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente wraps up tomorrow. How did the San Diego Padres players who traveled to Puerto Rico perform this season?
Earlier this week, we took a quick look at how top prospects such as Pedro Avila, Edward Olivares, and others performed in the Venezuelan winter league regular season, which proved to be a positive experience for most San Diego Padres prospects who made the journey south. Today, we take a quick look at the Puerto Rican winter league, which concludes the regular season tomorrow, December 30th.
Defending two-time Puerto Rican league champions Criollos de Caguas, managed by former major leaguer Luis Matos finds themselves at the bottom of the four-team league standings (13-20), with the Indios de Mayaguez clinching the regular season title. Mayaguez will look to represent Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series for the first time since 2014, if they can complete a post-season title run which begins next week.
Whichever team represents Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series will have a major target on their backs, with Criollos de Caguas not only winning the Puerto Rican league in back-to-back seasons, but also claiming the Carribean Series title in each of the last two seasons.
The San Diego Padres have one major representative playing his offseason ball in Puerto Rico, outfielder Aldemar Burgos.
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Burgos won the league’s batting title last season, finishing the regular season with a .403 batting average in the shortened 2017 season (due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria which still impact the daily lives of citizens living on the island). Unfortunately, Burgos hasn’t been able to repeat those numbers this winter.
Across 26 games, Burgos is hitting .272 with a .329 OBP and .733 OPS. He has logged eight extra-base hits in 92 at-bats, including two home runs and five doubles, while driving in 11 runs. The outfielder has struck out 11 times and has drawn a free pass just three times. Most notably, Burgos has struggled with runners in scoring positing, hitting a lowly .227.
Aldemar Burgos is now where near the caliber of prospect that Franchy Cordero and Buddy Reed are, however, we saw numerous Padres prospects, including Cordero and Reed, take positive winter league performances and turn them into productive seasons in the minors, or ride the wave onto the active roster as in Cordero’s experience. The offseason success didn’t translate over for Burgos.
The soon-to-be 22-year-old played in 57 games between the Tri-City Dust Devils and Fort Wayne TinCaps, slashing .232/.306/.353/.658 with three home runs, eight doubles, and a 52/18 K/BB ratio in 190 at-bats. A former eighth-round pick of the Padres in 2015, Burgos will need a breakout season with Fort Wayne to continue moving up the organizational ladder.