Padres Prospect Interview: Luis Durango

Eugene, OR-- The most exciting player in the San Diego Padres' system could very well be Luis Durango. He burns around the bases with a trail of fire in his wake and tripled into the LEFT field corner last week while playing for the Eugene Emeralds.

With the help of a translator, we caught up with Durango on our recent tour of Eugene.

What are you trying to concentrate on with the new season?

Luis Durango: I am concentrating on getting my bunts down and I am always trying to keep the ball on the ground since I have good speed and that is all I really need to be successful.

How do you go about improving your bunts?

Luis Durango: I have to learn how to bunt. I am still not all the way there yet. This is my job – to get on base. Whenever they give me the sign I know I have to get it down.

Talk a little about your plate discipline and where that comes from – especially since Latin American players aren't known to have the trait.

Luis Durango: That comes from being in the box and taking the first pitch, making pitchers throw me pitches so everyone else on the team can see what he throws, work the counts and get on base.

One of the things that hasn't offered as many rewards as you hoped is in stolen bases. Is that a focus?

Luis Durango: I am working hard on over the last year is my base stealing. I want to steal over 30 bases.

You have a tendency to slap the ball rather than swing it from the left side. It is reminiscent of Ichiro. What has been the reason you use that style?

Luis Durango: In Spring Training they told me to swing the bat but in the Instructional League they told me to keep doing what I was doing since it was successful. That comes from me. I watch the fielders and try to use my strengths and I know what my job is – to get on base and that is how I do it.

Is it tough as a switch-hitter to maintain to entirely separate swings?

Luis Durango: It has been tough. I was a right-handed hitter. They told me it comes with time, swinging from the left. Now, I really like swinging from the left side.

Has there been any talk of allowing you to hit left-handed all of the time?

Luis Durango: Yes, because I have so much more of an advantage when I hit a ground ball.

One of the areas you need to improve is in the outfield. Where do you see the problem?

Luis Durango: I stand still a lot. I need to start moving my feet and getting ready for the ball off the bat since I feel like I stand still too much. My concentration needs to be better and I need to be able to locate the ball better. I am working on it all.

You guys won the Arizona Rookie League Championship last year. What was that like?

Luis Durango: I was very happy to win the Championship in my first year playing with all my friends. It was a great year.

Last year you worked with Manny Crespo in Arizona. How did he help your game?

Luis Durango: He has worked with my on my hitting, bunting and base stealing. He has helped me a lot.

Talk about Luis Durango on our subscriber-only message boards, the only place to find up to the minute roster moves as they happen for the entire minor leagues.

MadFriars Top Stories