Winter Hot Stove Report: Moseying Down to Mexico

Another week means we’re back for a new edition of the Winter Hot Steve Report. After recapping all the action thus far in Venezuela this winter, including a look at six Ducks from 2014 who are playing baseball there, we will change course and head to Mexico this week. The Mexican Pacific League is one of the top quality winter baseball leagues in the Caribbean. Last year’s Caribbean Series champion, Naranjeros de Hermosillo, hails from Mexico. In fact, the country has won the Caribbean Series title in three of the past four years.

This winter, the Mexican League features a whopping total of 15 players that spent time in 2014 as part of the Atlantic League. Among the 15, four played for the Ducks last season, and two of those four are currently wearing uniforms for the defending Caribbean champs.

safe_imageLeo Rosales sporting his Naranjeros de Hermosillo uniform

Closer and two-time Atlantic League champion Leo Rosales is the first of those two. After helping the Flock to titles in 2012 and 2013, he began 2014 with the Ducks before being signed by Yucatan in the Mexican Summer League. So far this winter with Naranjeros de Hermosillo, Rosales has struggled, going 1-1 with a 5.51 ERA in 16 games out of the bullpen. He has struck out 12 in 16 and one-third innings, but he is not dominating like he did in the regular season with Yucatan (1-1, 3.03 ERA and 19 saves in 29 games).

10603272_792281054196511_7523109460949309013_nShaun Garceau in the dugout for Naranjeros de Hermosillo

One of his teammates is right-handed starting pitcher Shaun Garceau. The 2013 Atlantic League champion with the Ducks has just joined Rosales in Mexico after racking up 13 wins with the Flock. His only start to this point came on November 12, and he turned in four innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out one.

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Although he hasn’t played for the Ducks since 2011, Matt Padgett is also teammates with Rosales and Garceau this winter. The infielder spent time in Mexico with Monclova this past season and in the American Association with Kansas City. So far this winter, he’s batting .256 with two RBI in 10 games. Among the other Atlantic Leaguers playing with Hermosillo are David Pauley (Sugar Land), Roy Corcoran (Sugar Land) and Jerry Owens (Lancaster). Unfortunately for Hermosillo, they have struggled to this point, going 13-20 which ranks seventh of the eight teams in the league.

Kopp, DavidDavid Kopp pitching for the Ducks in 2014

Another Mexican League team that features two members of the 2014 Ducks is Charros de Jalisco. They have fared much better to this point, posting a 19-14 record which is good for second in the league and just a game and a half behind league-leader Yaquis de Obregon. The first of two Ducks playing for Jalisco is right-handed reliever David Kopp, who saw time as the Ducks closer this past year. In five games thus far, he is 1-0, has picked up a save and has tossed four and two-thirds scoreless innings. Kopp has also given just four hits and no walks while striking out three.

Harris, BrendanBrendan Harris swinging away with the Ducks in 2014

This winter, he has been reunited south of the border with Brendan Harris. The former big leaguer and Ducks infielder in 2014 just recently joined Jalisco. He made his debut with the club on Tuesday, November 18 and went 1-for-4 with a double, a run batted in and a run scored. Harris, who earned Second Team Atlantic League All-Star honors in 2014, will surely be looking to catch the attention of Major League scouts in hopes of returning to “The Show.”

Among the Atlantic Leaguers joining Kopp and Harris in Jalisco is a pair of relievers from the Freedom Division champion Sugar Land Skeeters. They are Brian Broderick and Ben Kozlowski. Both posted strong numbers out of the bullpen this past season. Another 2014 Atlantic Leaguer playing there is Amadeo Zazueta. The infielder split time with Camden and Southern Maryland this past year.

Five other players are calling Mexico home right now that played for the Atlantic League in 2014. Matt Gorgen (Camden), Anthony Slama and Dave Sappelt (Southern Maryland) are all currently teammates on Aguilas de Mexicali. Lancaster infielder Olmo Rosario has landed a spot with Venados de Mazatlan. Finally, former Duck Ricardo Gomez, who pitched with York this year, is part of Tomateros de Culiacan.

That’ll wrap up our look at the Mexican League so far this winter. That leaves us with two other countries in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic) to head to over the next couple of weeks. If you have heard about any other Ducks or Atlantic League alumni playing in Mexico this winter, please let us know. In addition, if you head south of the border and take any photos of Ducks playing there, please feel free to send them along. We would love to include those on the blog. Stay warm Ducks fans!

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Posted on November 20, 2014, in Winter Hot Stove and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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