Lantigua on DSL Padres hitting prospects

Evaristo Lantigua heads up the San Diego Padres Dominican Republic academy and many bright young hitting stars that will be stateside soon, including Jorge Minyeti, Rymer Liriano, Jonathan Galvez, Carlos Garcia, and Jhonaldo Pozo.

Jorge Minyeti really came on strong this year and showed great plate discipline. Did he surprise you?

Evaristo Lantigua: Yeah, he's a gamer. He's a short guy, but he's got a good feeling for the game. He knows the strike zone very well. He works the count. Defensively, he doesn't have big range, but he makes all of the routine plays.

Rymer Liriano showed the power everyone was excited about but also struck out a lot. Is that a concern?

Evaristo Lantigua: No, not at all. He's a young kid without any experience – he hasn't played much. The only thing about his strikeouts, we have four teams in our division, Washington has two – they have a lot of aces, guys with a lot of experience, especially pitching. For me, he was facing overmatched pitching for him, or for the whole team. Liriano, the problem that he has is that he's leaking all the time, he's out in front. Because of his power, he's seeing a lot of breaking balls. By leaking and seeing a lot of breaking balls, most of the time he went deep in the count by checking swing. The strikeouts are not a big concern for me. He's going to take work to stay back. He got better at the end, but it's going to take work. I think we've got in Liriano 25 to 30 homers in this kid.

Jonathan Galvez had two strong months and one that was pretty bad. How did you get him back on track?

Evaristo Lantigua: Yeah, with Galvez, this guy is another one that knows the strike zone. He's good at the plate. I've got no doubt on him about hitting. The only thing, he had that bad month. After hitting .400 in June, he changed his plan, he tried to hit homers. He was trying to do some damage, try to carry the team, started over swinging, plus, all of those breaking balls that you mentioned, that's why he had that bad month. Other than that, I think he is our best hitter.

Carlos Garcia put together a solid final two months – was this the same kid we talked about last year who you weren't sure would get it?

Evaristo Lantigua: No, no, the guy we talked about last year was Montero, we released him. Garcia, this guy, he was signed as a shortstop. We converted him to the outfield. He had some trouble with his eyes; he couldn't see well. We finally found out that he had that problem, so we put some contact lenses and that's when he got it. Garcia has a lot of tools also; smarter than Montero who was lacking on that one. He finished strong. Now, he is seeing the ball much better. He's a line drive hitter. I'm working on him trying to elevate the ball a little bit more, hit and run a little bit more. In the outfield, he has some types of problems reading the ball, bad routes. I think he'll be alright.

Jhonaldo Pozo was one of your best clutch hitters – is he someone to watch?

Evaristo Lantigua: Yeah, he's a good hitter; he's a good hitter. I think he helps the team a lot, especially in the clutch situations. He knows he has some power, I think he does. Most of the time over swinging, his head is flying. I think he's going to take a little while to get it down. Defensively, because we made him a catcher – he was a third baseman – defensively, he has a lot of problems, a lot of holes. He doesn't know how to handle the pitching. He's kind of afraid of the ball.

That's not probably good to be a catcher and be afraid of the ball.

Evaristo Lantigua: We're trying to move him to first base.

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