McGrath leads Padres pitchers into final week of AFL

Perez, Rondon remain leading winter league hitters

McGrath leads Padres pitchers into final week of AFL

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Kyle McGrath, Phil Maton and Jason Jester continued their strong pitching for Peoria of the Arizona Fall League last week while Padres hitting prospects in Arizona and the Latin winter leagues had a mixed bag.

The left-handed McGrath made his sixth start for the Javelinas and allowed two hits with four strikeouts over three scoreless innings. McGrath is 2-1 on the season with a 3.71 earned run average and a 1.00 WHIP over 17 innings. He has allowed no earned runs in five of his six starts.

Jester lowered his ERA to 0.84 and has a 1.03 WHIP in nine appearances with 12 strikeouts against four walks in 10 2/3 innings. Maton lowered his ERA to 2.92 and has 15 strikeouts against one walk in 12 1/3 innings.

Left-hander Jose Torres has a 2.45 ERA with the Javelinas while Brad Wieck has a 7.15 ERA with 19 strikeouts against 11 walks in 11 1/3 innings.

The Padres hitting prospect going into the final week of the AFL is infielder Josh VanMeter, who has 17 hits (65 at-bats) and 16 walks for a .262 batting average and .385 on-base percentage. The 21-year-old, left-handed hitter has scored 16 runs with nine RBIs.

Center fielders Franchy Cordero and Michael Gettys are slumping. Gettys is 0-for-18 with 11 strikeouts since getting a three-run double in the AFL Fall Stars Game. He is down to .157 on the season (11-for-70) with six walks and 30 strikeouts. Cordero is hitting .209 (14-for-67).

Padres infielder Jose Rondon takes a swing in an August game against the Phillies.Scott Wachter

The Padres' two most successful players in winter ball are shortstop Jose Rondon and infielder Fernando Perez. Rondon, 22, is hitting .282 (22-for-78 with 15 runs scored) with a .364 on-base percentage for Magallanes in Venezuela. Perez, a 23-year-old graduate of Otay Ranch High, went 10-for-23 (.435) over his last 10 games with a .480 on-base percentage and a 1.009 OPS. He is hitting .394 on the season with Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League with a .459 on-base percentage.

Reserve catcher Ricardo Valenzuela is off to a 9-for-21 start with six walks for a .517 on-base percentage for Obregon in Mexico while right-hander Gerardo Reyes is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA after 6 1/3 innings with Obregon.

In the Dominican Republic, both Este center fielder Manuel Margot and Escogido second baseman Carlos Asuaje have only five hits in 39 at-bats over their last 10 games. Margot, 22, is hitting .244 (19-for-78) with four doubles and five steals on the season. Asuaje, 25, is hitting .215 (14-for-65) with 10 RBIs. Left-hander Frank Garces has allowed three earned runs on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings for Este.

Right-hander Rafael De Paula has not allowed a run in three innings with Este. Right-handers Keith Hessler (2.35 ERA in 7 2/3 innings over seven appearances) and Yimmi Brasoban (a perfect two innings) are also pitching in the Dominican Republic.