Margot on 7-game hitting streak in DR

VanMeter, McGrath, Jester top Padres as AFL season ends

Margot on 7-game hitting streak in DR

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

Manuel Margot is heating up. The 22-year-old center fielder is 11-for-28 with two home runs during a seven-game hitting streak for Este in the Dominican Republic winter league. The streak has raised Margot's winter league average to .277 (26-for-94).

He's not the only member of the Padres family thriving in winter ball. Infielder Fernando Perez, a 23-year-old graduate of Otay Ranch High, was 7-for-19 last week with a homer for Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League and is now hitting .382 on the season (21-for-55) with three doubles, two homers, 12 runs scored and eight RBIs. He has a .444 on-base percentage and a .990 OPS.

Shortstop Jose Rondon, 22, is hitting .275 with Magallanes in Venezuela with 18 runs scored and seven RBIs. He has five doubles, a triple and three homers and has a .347 on-base percentage with a .775 OPS.

Several Padres had strong showings during the Arizona Fall League, which ended its season last Thursday.

Infielder Josh VanMeter, 21, who played third for the Peoria Javelinas, finished with a .265 average in the AFL. In addition to going 18-for-68 with three doubles, a triple and a homer for 17 runs scored and nine RBIs, VanMeter drew 17 walks for a .416 on-base percentage.

Center fielder Franchy Cordero finished with a .203 batting average while Michael Gettys finished at .157, although seven of his 11 hits (four doubles, a triple and two homers) went for extra bases.

Left-hander Kyle McGrath and right-handers Jason Jester and Phil Maton were the Padres top pitchers in the AFL.

Reliever McGrath, 24, worked as a starter for Peoria and was 2-1 with a 3.71 earned run average in 17 innings over six starts. He had a 1.00 WHIP with three walks and 11 strikeouts.

Both Jester and Maton worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the AFL. Jester, 25, had two saves and a 0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings over 11 outings. He had five walks with 13 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP. Maton, 23, was 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in 12 1/3 innings over 10 outings. He struck out 15 while issuing one walk.

Left-hander Jose Torres had a 2.16 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over eight appearances. Left-hander Brad Wieck finished with a 6.57 ERA. He struck out 19 in 12 1/3 innings, but also issued 11 walks.

Returning to Latin America, Padres infielder Alexi Amarista made his season debut with Anzoategui in Venezuela last week, going 2-for-15 in his first four games. Amarista helped the Caribes win the Venezuelan championship two seasons ago.

Second baseman Carlos Asuaje is hitting .241 (19-for-79 with 10 runs scored and 10 RBIs) for Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Two Padres relievers were active last week in the Dominican Republic. Left-hander Frank Garces has a 3.12 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in seven appearances for Este. Right-hander Keith Hessler is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in eight appearances for Cibao.

In Mexico, catcher-infielder Ricardo Valenzuela is hitting .385 (10-for-26) in spot duty for Obregon, where right-handed reliever Gerardo Reyes still has a 0.00 ERA after 10 outings (one walk with seven strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings).