Amarista, Spangenberg starting hot in winter ball
Infielders Alexi Amarista and Cory Spangenberg got off to fast starts last week as six Padres reported to Winter Leagues teams while the Latin American leagues opened the second halves of their seasons.
Spangenberg, 23, is 11-for-28 in seven games for Escogido since joining the Dominican Winter League team on Nov. 28. He has hit safely in his last eight games and has three triples and a home run for six runs scored and four RBIs. In addition to a .393 batting average, Spangenberg has a .414 on-base percentage and a .714 slugging percentage for a 1.128 OPS. Spangenberg has been playing third and left field and batting second and third in the order.
Amarista, 25, is playing for Anzoategui in his native Venezuela. Amarista homered Sunday and is off to a 7-for-16 start (.438) in four games with a double, a triple and the homer for two RBIs. He has also drawn three walks, giving him a .526 on-base percentage for the week with an .813 slugging percentage and a 1.339 OPS. He has been playing center field and is hitting third in the order.
In addition to Spangenberg and Amarista, left-handed pitcher Alex Torres and infielder Yangervis Solarte joined teams in Venezuela, catcher Rene Rivera joined San Juan in Puerto Rico, and outfielder Abraham Almonte started playing in the Dominican Republic.
Torres, who wants to be a starting pitcher in the future, is 0-1 despite a 2.86 ERA in five games (four starts) for Zulia in Venezuela. He joined a staff that already has Padres prospects Adys Portillo (1-1, 4.70 ERA in 13 games) and Leonel Campos (0-1, 0.82 ERA in 13 appearances with 14 strikeouts in 11 innings) in the bullpen. Torres, who turns 27 on Dec. 8, has allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 11 hits in 22 innings. He has 24 strikeouts, but has issued 15 walks.
Rivera is 7-for-28 with a double and a homer for four RBIs in his first seven games behind the plate in Puerto Rico.
The switch-hitting Solarte is off to an 11-for-38 (.289) start for Aragua in Venezuela with a double, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games. He has also drawn five walks for a .364 on-base percentage.
Almonte is 3-for-11 for Este, where Yasmani Grandal, Cameron Maybin and Tommy Medica have been playing.
Three other Padres Minor Leaguers started playing winter ball. Catcher Rocky Gale and pitcher Samuel Holland are playing in Australia and infielder Luis Urias is with Obregon of the Mexican Pacific League.
Gale is hitting .258 (16-for-62) with two doubles, a triple and seven RBIs in 19 games with Adelaide. Holland has a 5.40 ERA in three relief appearances for Brisbane.
Urias, a 17-year-old native of Mexico, is 2-for-13 in eight games for Obregon. Urias hit .310 with a .393 on-base percentage in 43 games in the Arizona Rookie League last summer. He stole 10 bases and scored 29 runs.
Two other Padres prospects rank among statistical leaders in the MPL.
Center fielder Rico Noel was 3-for-3 Sunday with three runs scored to raise his batting average to .228 in 123 at-bats for Culiacan. Noel leads Mexico with 17 steals, ranks second with 31 runs scored in 34 games and is tied for seventh with 22 walks. He has a .356 on-base percentage.
Left-handed starting pitcher Juan Pablo Oramas is 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 11 starts for Hermosillo. He has allowed 24 runs (19 earned) on 39 hits in 53 2/3 innings. He has 52 strikeouts against 23 walks. Oramas ranks second in the MPL in strikeouts, is tied for eighth in wins and 11th in ERA.
Right fielder Rymer Liriano is hitting .269 for Licey in the Dominican Republic. He has a double, a triple and three homers with 10 RBIs in 93 at-bats. Liriano, ranked by MLB.com as the Padres' No. 6 prospect, has a .317 on-base percentage and .715 OPS.
Right-handed reliever Jerry Sullivan has a 1.69 ERA in 14 relief appearances for league-leading Cibaenas in the Dominican Republic. He has 12 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.