The Go-Go Durango Show!
Luis Durango, nicknamed “The Panamaniac” (born April 23 1986 in Panama City) is a Panamanian professional baseball center-fielder, under the radar prospect for the San Diego Padres.
Durango came “stateside” in 2006 and hit .378 in the Arizona League. Luis won the batting title and was awarded the All-Star nod, Durango stole 17 bases while being gunned down six times.
The speedster advanced up to the “short-season” Eugene in 2007 and hit .367, raking, winning the Northwest League batting crown and co-MVP honors, again swiping 17 bases while getting gunned down now ten times.
In 2008, Durango playing primarily at Class A Fort Wayne, he hit .305 and was third in the Midwest League with a .395 on-base percentage. At season’s end, he was “promoted” to Advanced Class A Lake Elsinore, where he really killed it .431 in 17 games (of course a small sample size) and between Fort Wayne and the Midwest league swiped 15 “bags” (and was caught eight times) Something the organization is working on with him.
However, last year in San Antonio he only had 11 extra base hits (a concern, lack of power) in well over 500 plate appearances however, San Antonio is a “pitchers league” to some extent.
Obviously power isn’t his game. Durango has consistently hit for a high average and OBP. If Luis can get on base and become a more effecient base stealer then he can become a dangerous threat for opposing pitchers. The “power” Durango needs to be worried or focused on is JUST enough to keep the outfielders honest. With Durango, with his elite speed, being the fastest Padre in the entire organization and maybe one of, if not the fastest players in all of baseball, a single or a walk can turn into a double or even triple utilizing a “tool” the Padres have not been accustom to in years since the days of Alan Wiggigs.
Durango is also just a pest of a hitter, a grinder who slaps the ball and bunts, often. He’s got such tremendous bat control, he continuously fouls pitches off until the pitcher either gives in allowing him to slap the ball and then its the Go Go Durango show, or tires the pitcher for a very unwanted walk. This kid is intriguing, when he gets on base he will reek havoc on opposing pitchers and their defense. Durango will run and disrupt the flow of the game and undoubtedly be in the mind of any opposing manager as well as the pitcher. Having said that, Durango still needs to work on his SB efficiency. For the kind of hitter Luis is, I don’t think he’s going to have a problem against MLB pitching. He has a ridiculous BB/K ratio and knows how to put the bat on the ball. Durango is eerily similar to Juan Pierre but is also a switch hitter and I think we will see him sometime this year.
Juan Pierre career .331 .379 .393 minor leaguer.
Luis Durango career .326 .414 .385 minor leaguer.
With a very impressive Career line of .326 .414 in the minor leagues. That’s consistently good. Last year in 09′ .281 .390 is still pretty good for a “prospect” that doesn’t seem to get much attention because of his “lack of power” and his size, 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds. Durango is never going to have an eye popping OPS. That is going to be “low” by some standards, but that shouldn’t be a concern because he doesn’t hit for any power, that is not HIS game. But when you have elite speed like Durango, that may not be a problem, even on the MLB level.
Durango walked 81 times last year and struck out only 70 times. Of course he isn’t going to maintain that ratio in the “bigs”, but its very impressive none the less. Durango just doesn’t swing and miss very often. He doesn’t occasionally single, occasionally walk or occasionally steal bases. He does all of the above on a regular basis. Unfortunately there is no way to judge by what he’s done so far as what he’ll do in the big leagues.
He has a career .414 OBP in the minors.