I hope everyone had a happy holiday. I am a little late with my KC Royals winter league update, but I am back home from vacation and will be writing more regularly. This winter league update is for the week before Christmas that ended on December 23rd.
Panama once again has a winter league and began play last week. Four Royals minor leaguers are participating and I had a chance to see three of them play during the 2012 season in Wilmington.
First baseman Matt Fields and utility man Michael Liberto are currently playing for Caballos de Cocle. Fields played in five games last week, four at first base. He went just 1-for-15 with two walks and nine strikeouts (but you have to remember, these four haven’t played since the beginning of September). Liberto also played in five games, two at second base and three at shortstop, while committing an error. He went just 1-for-14, but scored three runs and drove in two. He walked four times and struck out four times.
Outfielder Nick Van Stratten and pitcher Luis Melgar are playing for Herrera. Van Stratten also played in five games and went 6-for-21 (.286) with five runs scored and two RBIs. He doubled, walked three times, and struck out just once. Melgar, who pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2012, pitched in two games totaling three innings. In those three innings, he allowed two runs on three hits (including a homerun) and four walks while striking out just one.
Despite Melbourne‘s 8-20 record and sitting in last place in the Australian Baseball League, outfielder Carlo Testa continues to have himself a good winter ball season. In four games last week, he went 5-for-15 (.333) with a homerun and two RBIs. He also walked twice and struck out three times.
In Columbia, Mauricio Ramos continues to hit for Sincelejo. Last week, he played in two games at third base. He went 3-for-8 (.375) with a double and an RBI. It was a tough week for Luis Piterson for Monteria. In four games (all at shortstop), he went just 2-for-15 (.133). He did however walk twice, hit a triple, and drive in a run.
Outfielder Willy Taveras had a tough week for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League. In five games last week, he went just 2-for-15 (.133) for his 14-15 team. He did double, walk twice, and drive in two runs. However, he also struck out three times.
Last week, well December 21st actually, the Dominican Winter League‘s regular season came to an end. The round-robin playoffs are underway, with Escogido, Toros, Aguilas, and Estrellas participating. Aguilas finished the regular season with the DWL’s best record of 32-18. Last week, Santiago Garrido joined the Aguilas and pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief. He did not allow a hit, but walked three while striking out two.
Licey finished the regular season in last place at 21-29. They did add Sugar Ray Marimon for two games, including one start last week. Over five innings, he allowed one unearned run on three hits while striking out two. Atahualpa Severino finished the regular season for Licey by pitching in three games out of the bullpen. In 1.2 innings, he allowed a run on one hit and a walk while striking out three.
The Venezuelan Winter League‘s regular season comes to an end on December 30th and it is very close at the top. Five teams are separated by just two games. Caribes is one of those teams. At 33-27, they sit one game back of first place Magallanes. Outfielder Luis Durango returned to action last week for Caribes and played in six games. He went 11-for-23 (.478) with two doubles, a triple, and three RBIs. He also walked twice, stole two bases, and struck out twice.
Caracas is tied for third place with Caribes at 33-27. Juan Gutierrez still leads the VWL in saves with 13, despite not picking one up last week. In two games, he did not allow a hit or a walk over 1.2 innings while striking out one. Guillermo Moscoso made another start and allowed an unearned run on three hits while striking out two over five innings.
Lara sits two games back of first place, in fifth place at 32-28. Alcides Escobar played in five games last week. He went 7-for-23 (.304) with two doubles, two homeruns, and six RBIs. He also walked twice and struck out just once. In six games last week, outfielder Paulo Orlando went 13-for-27 (.481) with a double and a homerun. He drove in six runs and struck out just once. Jose Jimenez pitched in four games last week, but registered just 1.1 innings. The lefty allowed one hit, hit a batter, and walked one. He also struck out one.
La Guaira is in sixth place at 28-32, six games back of first place. Salvador Perez played in seven games last week, all as the DH. He went 9-for-26 (.346) with three RBIs. He walked three times and struck out five times. It was a rough week for Anthony Ortega. In three games, he allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks over just 3.2 innings. He did strike out three.
Margarita is just 23-35, ten games back of first place. Manny Pina caught two games last week. He went 4-for-5 with a double. Max Ramirez played in four games, but caught just once. He went 5-for-10 with two doubles and two homeruns. He drove in four runs and walked once (to just one strikeout).
In the Puerto Rican League, two Royals minor leaguers are having themselves good winter ball seasons. Utility man Rey Navarro leads the league in hitting at .356. In two games last week (all at second base), he went 2-for-6 for Caguas, who is in first place at 21-16. He doubled, walked, and drove in a run.
Christian Colon leads the PRL in runs scored (26) and stolen bases (11). In six games at second base last week for Ponce (16-21 and in fifth place), he went just 3-for-23 (.130). He doubled and stole two more bases. He also walked twice, but struck out three times.
Mayaguez is in second place at 20-16 and infielder Irving Falu is a big reason why. In seven games last week (six at second base and one at shortstop), he went 10-for-28 (.357). He tripled, walked three times, and drove in a run.
Outfielder Alex Llanos had a good week for last place Manati (15-20). In five games, he went 5-for-16 (.313) with three RBIs. The glaring negative was that he struck out eight times.