While Major League Spring Training is still more than a month away, there are a handful of players in the Padres organization who are spending their offseason playing in various Winter Leagues.
Jose Pirela is just one of the Padres minor-leaguer seeing action this Winter. Pirela was acquired by the Padres via a trade with the Yankees following the 2015 season. He spent the majority of the 2016 season playing for Triple-A El Paso before joining the Major League club during roster expansion in September. Pirela batted .248 in 35 games for the Chihuahuas and .154 in 15 games for the Padres.
However, the Venezuelan-born prospect has shone in the Venezuelan Winter League as a member of the Aguilas del Zulia. In 38 games (134 at-bats), he’s racked up 46 hits, including nine doubles, two triples, and two home runs. That’s good for a .343/.409/.894 slash line this Winter.
Pirela helped the Aguilas clinch a spot in the finals of the VWL playoffs by going 4-for-19 with a homer, three runs scored, and three RBI through a four-game sweep of the Tigres de Aragua in the first round of the playoffs last week. Unfortunately that sweep meant the end of the season for another Padres prospect Jose Rondon.
Rondon came to San Diego in July of 2014 by way of the Huston Street trade with the Angels. He split time between the minor league affiliates before getting his first call up to the Majors and making his debut for the Padres on July 29th, 2016. He only hit .120 in 25 at-bats through eight games with the big league club before going back down to finish out the season with the Chihuahuas with a .300 average through 24 appearances.
This Winter, Rondon played for both the Navegantes Del Magallanes and the Tigres de Aragua. He hit .269 in 31 games for the former and .257 in 24 games for the latter, whom he joined in the playoffs, where they met their end at the hands of Pirela’s Aguilas.