Winter Hot Stove Report: On the Diamond in the Dominican
We’re back for another edition of the Winter Hot Stove, and we hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Before we get to looking at our final country in the Caribbean roundup, we’re going to look back to an annual tradition that took place this past weekend.
The Ducks began celebrating the holiday season on Saturday by marching in a pair of parades on Long Island. In the morning, the Ducks float strolled down Main Street in Sayville carrying Ducks Founder/CEO Frank Boulton, President/General Manager Michael Pfaff, Co-Owner/Coach Buddy Harrelson, Manager Kevin Baez and QuackerJack, much to the delight of the crowd. Later that evening, that same group could be found along Main Street in Patchogue during their annual Holiday Parade. Here are some pictures taken from each of the parades:
Be sure to join the Ducks in some more holiday fun this Saturday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m. That day, the Waddle In Shop will be reopening for the holiday season at Bethpage Ballpark. Fans will be able to say hello to QuackerJack, Santa Claus, Buddy and Kevin as well as purchase gifts for the Ducks fans in their life, including NEW holiday ornaments and winter apparel. In addition, the annual Holiday Toy Drive will kick off for fans to donate new, unwrapped toys which will be donated to children in pediatric units at local hospitals. Then at 2:00, the Ducks Street Team will be marching in the Islip Holiday Parade along Main Street between Irish Lane and Town Hall West.
Now, onto the Winter Hot Stove report. This week, we head down to the Dominican Republic, the final of four countries with prominent winter baseball leagues in the Caribbean. Currently, there are two teams tied for the top spot in the league at 22-14: Aguilas Cibaenas and Estrellas de Oriente. At the beginning of the season, 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP John Brownell was a member of Aguilas. However, the right-hander made only one start and struggled, yielding four runs (three earned) on five hits in one inning of work.
Since that point, he has traveled southeast to Puerto Rico and joined up with Senadores de San Juan where he is teammates with former Duck Nelson Figueroa and former Barnstormer Pete Parise. With San Juan, he has shifted into a bullpen role and has thrown two and two-thirds scoreless innings thus far, allowing one hit while striking out one. While with Aguilas, he was teammates with former York Revolution pitcher Edward Paredes and former big leaguer Manny Ramirez.
Estrellas does not have many Atlantic League ties, but one of the league’s best hitters is currently playing for them. That would be former Somerset Patriot Jake Fox. The 2013 Atlantic League Player of the Year, who rejoined the Patriots late in 2014, has struggled despite the success of Estrellas. Through 13 games, he is batting .233 with five RBI, five runs and five doubles.
The only other Ducks tie currently in the Dominican Winter League comes in the form of Willis Otanez. The Dominican native is playing with Toros del Este and reaching base at an excellent clip. He has a .348 batting average that is just three points off of the league lead and also has a .423 on-base percentage. Though known for power, he has yet to hit a homer and has totaled one RBI and three runs scored. However, he is still finding ways to produce. He is teammates in the Dominican with three 2014 Atlantic Leaguers (Winston Abreu, Bridgeport; David Purcey, Somerset; and Ruddy Yan, York). Toros is 18-17, which puts them three games out of first place.
Four other players who spent time in the Atlantic League in 2014 are also currently playing with Dominican teams. Matt Zielinski (Somerset) and Julio DePaula (York) are both pitching for Leones del Escogido, and both Salvador Paniagua and Wilson Valdez are playing for Tigres del Licey. Tigres is 15-20 while Leones is 11-23 and bringing up the rear in the Dominican Winter League.
That will finish our look at which Ducks and Atlantic Leaguers are currently playing in the Caribbean this winter. Before we wrap things up, we want to let fans know that the Venezuelan League All-Star Game took place on Tuesday night. One of the players selected to play for the league All-Star team was Lew Ford, who was chosen as an outfielder. Also on the team were pitcher Jon Hunton, who played for the Ducks in 2011 and 2012, and infielder Daniel Mayora, who played with Bridgeport in 2013. Here are their numbers so far this season:
Ford: .342 AVG, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 20 R, 7 2B, 1 3B, 11 BB, 4 SB, .420 OBP in 34 G
Hunton: 0-2, 3.78 ERA, 18 G, 5 SV, 16.2 IP, 18 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 11 K
Mayora: .276 AVG, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 20 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 20 BB, .392 OBP in 40 G
Thanks for checking into the blog once again this week. As we move toward the New Year, we will be continuing to check in on winter league action, bring you features from the Duck Pond (such as the always popular ‘Getting to Know a Staff Member’ articles) and so much more. As always, your ideas for content are appreciated. Please feel free to comment on this post or send us a contact form with your thoughts and interests.
Posted on December 4, 2014, in Winter Hot Stove and tagged 2014, Atlantic League, Caribbean, Caribbean Winter League, Dominican Republic, Holiday Parade, Jake Fox, John Brownell, Jon Hunton, Lew Ford, Long Island Ducks, Toy Drive, Venezuela, Waddle In Shop, Willis Otanez. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.