Luis A. Durango
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 160 lb.
Luis Durango won two minor league batting titles before he turned 22.
Durango was signed by scout Robert Rowley for the San Diego Padres at age 17. He made his pro debut in 2004 with Universidad de Carabobo (VSL), hitting .227/.333/.235 and going 10-for-17 in steal attempts. In 2005, he improved to .342/.473/.384 with the VSL Red Sox/Padres while stealing 19 bases in 32 tries. He led the Venezuelan Summer League in runs (44), was second in OBP, third in average, third in steals and tied for third in hits (65).
Luis continued to star in 2006, batting .378/.470/.448 with 35 runs in 39 games for the AZL Padres. His baserunning improved, with 17 steals in 23 attempts. He led the Arizona League in both average and OBP and made the AZL All-Star team, joining Carlos Peguero and Cedric Hunter in the outfield. He helped lead the Padres to the league championship. Baseball America named him as the #13 prospect in the circuit.
Durango hit .367/.422/.460 for the 2007 Eugene Emeralds with 60 runs in 69 games. Despite going only 17-for-27 in steals, Baseball America named him the fastest baserunner in the Padres chain. He led the Northwest League in average (by .029), triples (8, tied with Tony Thomas) and hits (110, a team record), was 3rd in OBP and runs and tied for 4th in steals. He turned four double plays, tied for the lead among NWL outfielders. He made the NWL All-Star team and was named the league MVP (splitting honors with Matt Downs). Despite his performance, Baseball America did not name him as one of the top 20 prospects in the NWL.
Durango hit .305/.395/.365 in 93 games for the 2008 Fort Wayne Wizards and was promoted to the Lake Elsinore Storm, where he batted .431/.506/.514 in 17 games, scoring 20 runs and reaching base 44 times by hit or walk (over 2.5 times per game). He was put on Panama's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
He was Panama's big star in the event, going 3 for 5 with two walks and a steal out of the leadoff slot, easily outproducing major leaguers Carlos Lee, Ruben Rivera, Angel Chavez and Julio Zuleta (a combined 3 for 29). Durango was second in the 2009 Classic in average (behind Brett Roneberg) and OBP (behind Jason Bay).
Durango hit .281/.390/.309 for the 2009 San Antonio Missions and stole 44 bases in 61 tries. He finished second in the Texas League in stolen bases, third in OBP behind Chris Carter and Craig Cooper and second in walks (81, one behind Cooper).
He made his major league debut with the Padres after a late-season call-up in 2009. Durango debuted as a pinch-hitter for Luke Gregerson; trying for a bunt hit against Danny Haren, he was retired. The next day, Luis got his first hit, a bunt single off Doug Davis. Later in the game, he scored the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th, capping a three-hit contest in his first MLB start.