Winter Ball Update
It’s time for another Winter League update on this Friday afternoon as we’re right in the middle of the four Caribbean seasons. Once again, there’s a ton of Atlantic League representation and recognizable names on these rosters. We’ll focus mainly on those with York ties as always.
Beginning in Venezuela, Cardenales de Lara is the winter home of Joe Thurston and Johan Limonta. It must be an amazing place. Joe (@Joeyballgame) Tweeted the following yesterday:
“Cardenales Fans!!!!!! Nowhere else in the World can you find 15,000 screaming fans at a Baseball Game at 12:15 AM #TheBestFansEver”
Thurston is hitting .283 with a homer and 17 RBI in 36 games so far this winter. Limonta is batting .267 with one home run in 20 games played. Ryan Feierabend was on the team earlier this winter and went 0-1 but sported a solid 3.26 ERA in six starts before heading home at the end of his contract which was for a month or so. There’s other strong Atlantic League representation on the team in the form of Nick Green (Southern Maryland), Jarrett Grube (former Blue Crab), Justin Cassel (Somerset), and former Lancaster closer Scott Patterson. Big league veteran Chris Jakubauskas, who pitched for Mark Mason in the Frontier League, is with Lara as well.
Chris Nowak is having himself a productive winter season, batting .301 with six homers and 16 RBI in 35 games for Navegantes del Magallanes. He’s a teammate of former York outfielder Erold Andrus, who’s batting .286.
Ramon Castro is batting .333 with three homers in 19 games for Tigres de Aragua. On the mound, Justin Hampson, who made it back to the majors last year after pitching for the Revs in 2010, is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four appearances.
There’s one other player with Revs ties in Venezuela, that being lefty Victor Garate who appeared in all of one game for York last season, which was on the road. Victor, we hardly knew ye… he’s 1-3 with a 5.01 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) for Leones del Caracas. Camden’s Raul Padron is a teammate, and is batting .393 through 21 games played.
Corey Thurman hasn’t appeared in a game yet, but recently left York to pitch in Venezuela again this winter as well.
In Mexico, R.J. Rodriguez has been used as a starter for the first time since college. He’s 4-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 13 games (four starts), and even has a complete game to his name for Algodoneros de Guasave. It’s a step up for R.J., who had pitched in Puerto Rico with great success the past few years. One of his teammates is Somerset’s Andy Sisco who’s leading the league with 61 innings, and is 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 10 starts.
Mike Benacka has been lights out for Aguilas de Mexicali. He joined York late in the season for the playoff run, and is 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in 25 games this winter. He’s allowed just 15 hits in 30 innings with 47 strikeouts, and has three saves.
Jason Botts has been tearing it up for Caneros de los Mochis, batting .313 with 12 homers and 26 RBI in 45 games. He’s one of the league’s power leaders, along with Southern Maryland’s Jesse Gutierrez who has 15 home runs for Naranjeros de Hermosillo. Former York setup man Mike DeMark is in Hermosillo as well, owning a 2.45 ERA through nine appearances.
Chris Walker has played in 16 games for Venados de Mazatlan, batting .299.
Mayos de Navojoa is home to a bunch of Atlantic Leaguers from recent years with Kraig Binick (.298, 15 stolen bases), Amadeo Zazueta (.294), Wes Bankston (.290, 8 home runs), Steve Moss (.246, 8 home runs), Matt Esquivel (.231, 6 home runs), Matt Padgett (.222), and pitchers Leo Rosales (4 saves) and Andrew Dobies (2-0, 4.26 ERA in 7 games) all on the same team.
Hopping over to the Dominican Republic, Lorenzo Barcelo leads the league in innings pitched, and is 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA in nine outings / eight starts for Aguilas Cibaenas. And you won’t believe who all is on their star-studded roster… Manny Ramirez (.250, one homer in 16 games), Bartolo Colon (1-0, 4.61 ERA in 4 starts), and of course Lancaster’s Gilberto Mejia, who’s hitting .318 in 11 games.
Omar Javier, a 2012 Revs project, has hit his stride this winter with Estrellas de Oriente, owning a 1.88 ERA in eight games / four starts. The young righty signed with San Francisco earlier this offseason after finishing last year in Newark where he pitched well in the Can-Am Association. Scott Rice is with Estrellas as well and holds a 2.45 ERA through 10 outings. We were hoping Rice would make his Major League debut with the Dodgers last season after pitching for York in 2011, and he signed with the Mets back on November 20, so perhaps he’ll join Hampson in the majors as former Revs on the same team in 2013, and what a story that would be.
Also in the D.R., Salvador Paniagua has appeared in six games and lefty Yunior Novoa has been in two games for Toros del Este.
And finally in Puerto Rico, Ricardo Gomez is having a dominant winter with Cangrejeros de Santurce, leading the league with 8 saves, and having not allowed a run in 9.2 innings. He’s a teammate of Lancaster’s J.D. Durbin (1-0, 2.13 ERA in 3 games / 2 starts) and Fehlandt Lentini (.308, 2 home runs in 20 games).
Another player with York ties is leading the league in a different category, as infielder Andy Gonzalez has a league-best 20 RBI in 21 games for Criollos de Caguas, where he’s batting .304 with four home runs. Gonzalez was in Spring Training with York in 2011 before signing with Milwaukee. Former Revs outfielder Edgard Clemente is his teammate, and is batting .311 in 15 games. Michael Nix has appeared in one game on the mound and threw 2.2 scoreless innings. Sugar Land’s Saul Rivera (RHP), Kelvin Villa (LHP), and Aaron Bates (OF/1B) have also played there this winter, as have Bridgeport’s Edgardo Baez (OF) and former closer Eddy Ramos.
Danny Gonzalez is playing for Indios de Mayaguez where he’s batting .240 in 15 games, and former York reliever Juan Padilla is pitching for Leones de Ponce, where he’s 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 trips to the mound.
That’s all. Good night and good baseball.