Padres Prospect Interview: Luis Durango

FORT WAYNE, IN: Last year Luis Durango, 22, led the Northwest League in batting with a .367 average with a .422 on-base percentage. He had 16 extra base hits, eight of them triples and is widely regarded as the fastest man in the organization.

The switch-hitting Durango has tremendous natural ability, excellent pitch recognition and game-changing speed. His big obstacle is how to put it all together, and he is still learning the nuances of the game. Someone with his talent should have a better success rate on the bases than he did last year, stealing 17 bases in 27 attempts. Also, he needs to take much better routes defensively to prove to the Padres that he is capable of playing centerfield, and he has a long way to go to do that.

This year in Fort Wayne he has been battling for playing time with a crowded in outfield but is starting to emerge. He had his best month to date in July, sporting a .388 average to raise his season total to .308/.399/.370. He still needs to improve upon his stolen base percentage, 13-for-19 and pick up his defense, but there has been improvement.

The young Panamanian has tremendous talent but is a long way from the majors. He has the type of raw talent, however, that anyone who follows the minor league has to be excited about for the possibility of what he could become.

[A special thank you to Fort Wayne closer Jackson Quezada for providing translating this interview.]

Last year you won the Northwest League batting title. What did you do to win it and how did it feel to accomplish that?

Luis Durango: It was a lot of work and definitely not easy, but I just kept working hard and good things happened.

What have you been working on this year to improve upon last year's performance?

Luis Durango: The Padres have been working with me on stealing more bases, getting better jumps in the outfield and getting bigger and stronger.

If you are trying to get bigger how do you maintain your speed, which is such a big part of your game?

Luis Durango: The speed is something that God gave to me. In the off-season and here I'm just trying to get stronger. I don't think I'm going to lose any speed.

How have you been working to improve your defense?

Luis Durango: I try to work every day in the outfield during batting practice working on my jumps. I try to catch everything that is hit at me.

Do you feel more comfortable playing center as opposed to left where you can use your speed to run and catch everything?

Luis Durango: Yes, I think I can help my team the most out there when I play center because of my speed.

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