Francisco on Padres Latin American prospects

As the former top scout in Latin America for the San Diego Padres, Felix Francisco has the knowledge of many of the young prospects that will become prospects in the coming years. Names like Simon Berroa, Jose De Paula, Stiven Osuna, and Daniel Garce, along with more known names Edgar Garzon, Felix Carrasco and Rayner Contreras – all discussed with Francisco.

Talk to us about the progress of Simon Berroa and what you see from him in the future.

Felix Francisco: Simon is a good pitcher with great potential. He is a very high ceiling guy. He has been progressing slowly with his command. In his first year he was much better in terms of command than this past year. Sooner or later he will get what he needs. He has the pitches, the arm – it is just a matter of time.

Those kinds of guys you keep around – they are going to figure out how to get hitters out consistently.

Berroa is probably a little bit behind Castro and DePaula. He has a higher ceiling than Osuna.

Jose De Paula has been turning heads with his efficiency and command. Is he someone to be excited about?

Felix Francisco: He was the best starter in the Dominican Summer League. He has a pretty good fastball, works fast – hitters have to get ready to hit versus him because he does not take much time between pitches. He is an interesting left-handed pitcher. He throws a slider when he is behind in the count, which is not normal for a guy his age and playing at this level.

DePaula is going to be an interesting guy. He is a much more polished guy than we take to the states for his age.

What are your thoughts on Stiven Osuna – a pitcher that is thought to be refines but may not have the ceiling of some others.

Felix Francisco: Osuna is a decent pitcher – not with the type of ceiling as Castro or DePaula. He is a good competitor. He is not the same type of prospect but we hope he does well.

On the hitting side, there was not much to look at outside of Daniel Garce. How has he improved over the last year?

Felix Francisco: His first year; he improved a lot. He was really raw when we signed him. He is a decent player. He plays hard. He has been improving since day one – we hope he keeps improving the way he has.

I don't know the plan of whether they plan to take him to the states.

On the hitting side, is there anyone I am missing?

Felix Francisco: Carlos Garcia. He went by the name of Garcia but we found out his name was Montero. He is supposed to go to the states. He is a guy with very good bat speed and a good runner who can play outfield. He is a guy that needs playing time but his tools are very interesting.

Last year, I was quite surprised by Edgar Garzon. The first time I saw him I admit I was not as impressed. By the end of the season, I thought he was a player that could find a way to succeed because of his work ethic and willingness to play the game the right way. What is your take on him?

Felix Francisco: Garzon is a guy you can project as a utility player. He is not the prospect with a high ceiling but is a guy with excellent makeup, plays hard, makes contact. He gets every opportunity – he did a good job and hopefully he keeps climbing up the ladder. Placido Polanco was like him and he made it to the major leagues and has been playing for a lot of years.

You obviously saw how Felix Carrasco digressed this season. Besides the weight issues, what do you think affected him and his performance?

Felix Francisco: There is one factor that is important in every human being and I think that affected Felix Carrasco. He wasn't prepared to repeat Arizona after being among the top 20 prospects and putting up numbers, he wasn't prepared to repeat the league. In his mind, he had a chance to go to Fort Wayne or at least Eugene. We left him there another year. Some guys can deal with that very well and Carrasco was one of the guys who didn't deal with it very well.

Before the injury, Rayner Contreras was having a solid season after skipping Eugene. His bat – can it be that special?

Felix Francisco: Rayner has always been able to hit. He has hit everywhere he has played. There is nothing with hitting that surprises me with Rayner because he played two years in the Dominican Summer League and was our best hitter. He went to the Arizona Rookie League and was the leader in RBIs and hit like .318. This year, he went to Fort Wayne and was among the three best hitters on the team. That is not a surprise since he has been hitting since day one.

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