Lantigua on DSL Padres pitching prospects

Evaristo Lantigua had a lot of young and raw arms that he tutored as manager of the DSL Padres. We caught up with Varo to discuss many of the pitching prospects that will be stateside in the coming years.

One guy who stood out on the pitching side was Amaury Ceren. What can you tell us about him?

Evaristo Lantigua: Ceren is a really skinny guy – like 6-foot-7. He has a nice, loose arm and pitches down in the zone. He has fastball command and a good curveball, 12-to-6. He needs to work a lot on his changeup. He throws it too hard. It comes in at 84 mph when his fastball is 90. Six miles difference isn't a lot. He is a guy that can pitch. He is going to compete.

Jeury Castillo also had a good year for year in multiple roles, starting and relief.

Evaristo Lantigua: This guy is a pitcher. He is very aggressive and always attacks the zone and the hitter. He pitches to contact.

A great changeup, a live fastball that goes up to 93 mph. He cannot use his slider. Even though he has a good one, he can't throw it because his elbow starts bothering him. He was just pitching with fastball and changeup the whole season. He is a prospect.

I was a little disappointed in Freddys Henrique. This was his second year there and the hope was for better numbers.

Evaristo Lantigua: Freedys is a guy with tools. He is very inconsistent. One day he shows you a great outing and the next time he is very ordinary. He is very up and down. I have never seen him pitch two times in a row the same way. He is a guy that I have as a question mark. He is on the bubble.

Juan Herrera was very good early on and had command but did not seem to progress through the season, as the location suffered and the walks went up.

Evaristo Lantigua: Juan still has the arm, the arm speed, but the fastball command has been a big problem we have tried to fix. Seriously, we don't know what to do with him. He is a guy that hasn't shown that he wants to get better. He takes everything for granted. If he pitches well, he is fine. If he pitches bad, he is fine.

I don't have the same feeling that I had last year on Juan Herrera. I think he is going backwards.

How do you feel about Pedro Martinez – a guy you were also high on last year.

Evaristo Lantigua: I am higher than I was last year. He is pitching much better. He has better fastball command, a better curveball, and the changeup is outstanding. Now, he has a plan on the mound and is more aggressive.

The only thing with Pedro is his head. His behavior has not been what we look for and want. On the mound, I am higher on him than last year.

Esteban Javier had a very good year for you down there this season.

Evaristo Lantigua: A left-handed pitcher that throws a lot of strikes. He has a good curveball but still needs to work on the changeup. Javier loves throwing the fastball. He can pitch inside and outside. He is not a huge body. He reminds me of Pedro Martinez – the big leaguer. He is only 5-foot-9 but he knows how to pitch.

Erick Ojeda had a fantastic year last year but wasn't nearly as good this year. What changed?

Evaristo Lantigua: He is a guy like Henrique. He can give you five solid innings one time out and the next outing he loses everything. He is another guy that is up and down.

Severino Perez didn't pitch a whole lot for you this year after coming back from injury. He is another guy you have been high on in the past. Is that still true?

Evaristo Lantigua: I am still high on him. Perez has been suspended and is another guy like Pedro Martinez with his behavior. Once in a while he gets in trouble.

I still think he has the arm. He has a great curveball. One thing he lost from last year was fastball command. He had it last year but this year he lost it. He had better command on his curveball than his fastball. I still think he is a prospect.

Are there any other prospects that we should be aware of down in the DSL?

Evaristo Lantigua: Yes, there are two more guys I want to mention. We have a guy from Guatemala – I think he is the only professional player from Guatemala, Marlon Claveria. He is a guy that comes from a country where they don't play baseball. But he has the body, is smart, has the arm and goes up to 92 mph. Fastball command is still an issue. He has a good curveball and great changeup. He just needs time and experience on the mound. He is definitely a good prospect. He will be someone exciting to watch.

The other guy is Jean Corpas – a guy from Panama. He was our Pitcher of the Year. He has the same type of body as Deiber Sanchez. A good arm with good fastball command that pitches down in the zone. He has three pitches. A very smart guy and hard worker. He is a premium prospect. I think he is going to be a guy that is a big surprise. He throws in the 90 mph range.

Did you also get a chance to see Yefri Pena?

Evaristo Lantigua: The third baseman, of course. He is a little older than we thought, obviously. He has outstanding power. He has a big league body, strong, with a good arm. He has some issues fielding.

When we signed him, I think he was the best sign we had at that time. Now that he is older, things change a little bit. He is a toolsy guy.

Have you seen Fabel Filpo?

Evaristo Lantigua: He spent a couple of weeks with me just working out at the complex. A switch-hitter with some pop. He is very smart and wants to get better. A quick learner. He does stuff on his own and learns very quick. Fielding-wise is still an issue. He is not a great athlete but has a good body. He is another quality sign.

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