Evaristo Lantigua on DSL Padres hitters

Dominican Summer League Padres manager Evaristo Lantigua has shaped the next wave of San Diego Padres prospects from Latin America – a program that continues to make headway in breeding prospects.

It was a disappointment to see Alvaro Aristy suspended for 50 games, but what kind of progression did you see from him this season?

Evaristo Lantigua: Aristy – we saw good hands, good arm. He started to get an understanding of hitting and started to know the strike zone. Aristy hasn't played much baseball – even before we signed him. This kid needs more time and experience in the life of the game so that he can adjust to the speed of the game.

There were good things that I saw. The more he played, the better he was getting. He was getting more comfortable and understanding the game.

You had Felix Cabrera – a kid that showed good plate discipline and strike zone awareness. Is he someone to watch?

Evaristo Lantigua: He is a guy that I have big expectations for. He has been a second baseman his whole life and we signed him and put him at third base because we needed a third baseman. He looked a little bit lost at third because he never played there before. In the middle of the field, he looks very good. He can play a little bit of shortstop; he can run a little bit too. He has a great body, hard worker and has a good arm.

It depends on what he does in the Instructional League down here but he might go to the states next year. He is a guy with good tools. He reminds me of Jeudy Valdez. He does not have the same type of power as Jeudy but he has the same type of arm, same body. I think Cabrera has better hands.

You had a catcher Miguel Del Castillo who had a good last month after struggling early on. Is he someone we can get excited about?

Evaristo Lantigua: Not necessarily. He is a little guy that was originally a second baseman and converted to catcher. He has a good arm and has a good feel for hitting. Early in the year, he was trying to hit homers, which he doesn't have any power. That is why he didn't put up better numbers than he did. Right now, I have to see more. I need to see if he can be somebody exciting.

You had Luis Domoromo, a high profile signing. He showed good patience at the plate. Was it the year you expected from him?

Evaristo Lantigua: I think he did what I expected. One thing I was expecting was more homers. He saw a lot of changeups away and a lot of breaking balls. Domoromo – and Yair Lopez – were two that showed the most improvement. I think next year he could have a big year in the states.

He matured a lot. His defense got a lot better – his arm improved. He is much bigger. He has matured into a man.

You had Carlos Garcia for the last three years. Has he made the type of progression that warrants a look here in the states?

Evaristo Lantigua: Definitely. One thing we found out last year was that he had eye problems. He needed glasses and didn't say anything. That is why he was missing all of those pitches. We knew he had the talent, but in the game he would swing and miss, swing and miss. Finally, we found out and got the glasses for him.

He definitely has the tools and the talent. His defense was much better. There is no doubt he is going to hit. He is going to do damage in both categories – power and average.

You mentioned Yair Lopez early. What can you tell us about him?

Evaristo Lantigua: He showed the most improvement of any guy down here during the summer. When they signed him, they signed him to give him a chance. He can field – we used him in left field but I think he can play center too. He can run and play center.

A good arm and good runner – he has a very good idea when stealing bases. He has pop. He knows the strike zone very well. This guy is exciting. Next year, he is going to be somebody exciting to watch.

Manuel Nuno didn't have the year I was hoping he would have. Was that true for you too?

Evaristo Lantigua: Yes, I was kind of disappointed. With the big, strong finish he had last year, I was expecting bigger things this year. Being here two years and knowing the league, he didn't put up the numbers; he didn't have the season we were expecting of him.

He is a big body – not an athlete – but has some serious juice. A little bit slow on the learning curve.

Adan Velazquez – for me, he was the MVP of your team from an offensive standpoint.

Evaristo Lantigua: He was the MVP. Velazquez is a gamer. He showed me he knows the game and showed me more than I expected. He can make all the routine plays. He doesn't have a great arm but was better at the end. He still needs to improve his arm. He can play a good second base, play some third.

This guy can hit. A little bit of concern about his attitude. He has a lot of Mexican style in how they play the game, but he is definitely a gamer.

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