The playoffs have begun in four of the five major winter league destinations. There are not as many KC Royals players still participating, but let us take a look at who is still lacing up their spikes.
The Australian Baseball League is the lone league that is still playing their regular season, but the Melbourne Aces continue to be in the hunt for a playoff spot at 17-17 (third place).
Justin Trapp‘s bat has begun to heat up, though he continues to bounce around the Aces order (he batted both fifth and second this past weekend). On January 2nd, he won the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run walk off single (the Aces scored five runs over the final two innings). Overall, Trapp went 5-for-15 with four RBIs and two stolen bases (he has seven in the ABL).
Jared Schlehuber continues to rake in the ABL. While Trapp won the game on the 2nd, Schlehuber hit a two-run home run in that same game’s 8th inning and drove in another in the ninth (the Royals duo drove in all five runs). Over the four games, he went 5-for-13 with four runs scored and four RBIs while batting third in the Aces order.
The Venezuelan Winter League began its playoffs last week.
Caribes is currently 3-0, with a 6-4 victory on Sunday (after scoring three runs in the top of the eighth). Centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez had a good first three games of the postseason. Overall, he went 6-for-14 with a double in each game. He scored two runs and drove in three.
Finally, in the Dominican Winter League, where the round robin format continues. Escogido leads the way at 6-2. Licey is 4-4, while Aguilas and Gigantes are tied for last place at 3-5.
Pedro Ciriaco played in four games last week for Escogido. In the final two games, he moved around the infield (third, second, and shortstop). On January 2nd, he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three 2-out RBIs. Overall, Ciriaco went 7-for-17 with three doubles, two runs scored, two sacrifices, and five RBIs. Outfielder Melky Mesa played in three games last week. The one game that he had a hit was on January 4th, when he entered on defense and picked up a single in his only at-bat (he also stole a base and scored a run). Overall, Mesa went 1-for-9 and struck out six times.
Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio continues to play everyday and bat leadoff for Licey. In the week, he went 3-for-21 with three runs scored. He did commit his second error of the playoffs on Sunday. Bonifacio had one of Licey’s four hits on December 30th.
Reliever Maikel Cleto made one appearance last week. On December 30th, he entered with two men on base in the seventh and both scored. In 1/3 of an inning, he allowed a hit and a walk. Francisley Bueno got the start on January 3rd and received the no decision for Licey. Over five innings, he allowed one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out one, but also had a balk. Bueno induced eight ground outs to three fly outs.
Francisco Pena has been the regular behind the plate for Aguilas. While batting eighth in their lineup, Pena went 3-for-19 with two doubles, a run scored, and an RBI. He did commit his second error of the postseason on Sunday.