Wednesday Winter League Roundup
As we have done many times in the past here on the blog, we like to provide an update to what some of the most recent Ducks (and Atlantic Leaguers) are doing during the offseason. For many, the term ‘offseason’ does not include just sitting at home and preparing for next year. Rather, they use this time to continue playing in hopes of improving aspects of their game or being seen by the many Major League scouts that watch winter league games. The biggest hotbed of winter baseball is in the Caribbean, where Atlantic League players can be found across the rosters of teams in four different countries.
We’ll start our roundup by taking a look first at Puerto Rico, where a total of six players who spent time with the Ducks in 2015 are currently playing. Two teams are currently tied for first place in the four-team league with a record of 14-10: Criollos de Caguas and Indios de Mayaguez. On Caguas is Ducks pitcher John Brownell, the 2015 Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year. He has continued his success this winter, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.33 ERA and 16 strikeouts in five starts. Most recently, he threw five scoreless innings on Tuesday night in a 3-1 win at Mayaguez. Teammates of Brownell include pitcher Derek Blacksher, who had a strong season with Sugar Land in 2015 just two years after joining the Ducks for their 2013 championship run, and infielder Sergio Miranda, who spent the 2014 season with Long Island. Blacksher has also been pitching well with a 1-0 record and a 0.73 ERA in five games (four starts). Somerset Patriots infielder David Vidal is also with Caguas.
As for Mayaguez, their roster features Ducks designated hitter Randy Ruiz and infielder Elmer Reyes. Both players are off to slow starts, with Ruiz batting .185 and Reyes batting .193. However, they have combined for three homers, 18 RBI and 11 runs in 18 games. They are joined on the Mayaguez roster former Patriots pitcher Tyler Herron and former Ducks pitcher Ivan Maldonado, who was with the Flock in 2010. Former Bluefish pitcher Kanekoa Texeira is also with the team.
Gigantes de Carolina features a plethora of Atlantic League talent, including four players with ties to the Ducks. Two member of the 2015 squad, relief pitchers J.C. Romero and Frank DeJiulio, Jr., are among the four. Both pitchers are in the bullpen for Carolina but have not been as strong as they were for Long Island. DeJiulio, Jr. is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in eight games, but he does have eight strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings. Romero has a 6.35 ERA in seven appearances but did collect a save in his second outing with the club. Joining them are two former Ducks in catcher Jan Vazquez and pitcher Ian Snell. Vazquez, who spent all of 2015 with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats in the Colorado Rockies organization, has five hits in 21 at-bats with a homer and three RBI over seven games for Carolina. Snell has been strong out of the bullpen, compiling a 2.08 ERA and seven strikeouts in eight and two-thirds innings. Also on the roster are Jobduan Morales, who was a catcher with the Bluefish in 2015, and Jeff Dominguez, who spent this past season with the Skeeters and has also spent time with the Patriots.
The fourth and final team in Puerto Rico is Cangrejeros de Santurce, and the club feature three 2015 Atlantic Leaguers. Relief pitcher Ricardo Gomez, who joined the Ducks late this past year, has earned two saves in 12 appearances while going 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 13 strikeouts. Joining Gomez with Santurce are Somerset Patriots pitcher Matt Zielinski and Patriots shortstop Robert Andino. Former Atlantic Leaguers Benny Cepeda (Long Island, ‘10; Road Warriors, ‘11), Jon Velasquez (Camden, ‘12-13) and Pete Parise (Lancaster and Southern Maryland, ‘14) also play with the team.
Head south from Puerto Rico, and you will eventually hit Venezuela. The South American country features an eight-team winter baseball league that is filled with Ducks and Atlantic Leaguers from the 2015 season. One of the best teams in the season’s first half was Tiburones de La Guaira, as they went 19-13 to finish in first place. The team features three recent members of the Ducks, including infielders Sean Burroughs and Reegie Corona as well as relief pitcher Ryan Kussmaul. Corona has played the most of the three, a total of 23 games, and is batting .215 with three RBI, 10 runs and three doubles. Burroughs has appeared in just five games thus far and has five hits in 19 at-bats with three RBI. Finally, Kussmaul has pitched in six games, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks in six and two-thirds innings while striking out six. The three are also teammates with Somerset pitcher Kyler Newby and former Riversharks/Skeeters outfielder Brian Burgamy.
Another Venezuelan team featuring some former Ducks is Navegantes del Magallanes, who we talked about recently when they played in the Serie de las Americas in Miami. Starting pitcher Bobby Blevins and outfielder/bench coach Lew Ford both call Magallanes home currently and both played there last year as well. Blevins has made four starts thus far and is 1-2 with a 7.47 ERA, pitching pretty well in his first two starts before suffering a pair of setbacks. Ford has yet to appear in a game this winter, but should be getting some playing time soon. They are joined in Magallanes by catcher Juan Apodaca, who spent 2015 with Lancaster, and infielder Renny Osuna, who played this past season with Southern Maryland and Sugar Land.
Two other players with Ducks ties are also playing winter ball in Venezuela. Starting pitcher Sergio Perez is a member of Bravos de Margarita, and although he currently sports a 1-3 record, he has pitched to a 2.60 ERA in 10 starts. The righty, who ended the 2015 season with Southern Maryland, has struck out 32 batters in 52 innings of work. Perez is teammates with former Patriots outfielder Chris Marrero. Outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who was signed by the Ducks and reported to Spring Training last year before receiving a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, is playing with Leones del Caracas. In four games, he has four hits in 15 at-bats with two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored. He is joined on the club by four members of last year’s Patriots team (pitchers Mickey Storey, Buddy Boshers and Andrew Carignan along with outfielder Aharon Eggleston) as well as Bluefish pitcher Cory Riordan and Barnstormers pitcher Joe Gardner.
Here are the other recent Atlantic Leaguers playing winter ball this year in Venzuela:
Aguilas de Zulia – Sean Gallagher (Sugar Land), Zach Jackson (Lancaster), Edwin Quirarte (Somerset)
Cardenales de Lara – Rob Bryson (Camden), Carlos Guzman (Camden), Ildemaro Vargas (Bridgeport),
Caribes de Anzoategui – Cody Eppley (Lancaster/Southern Maryland), Sam Gervacio (Bridgeport), Daryl Thompson (Southern Maryland), Michael Burgess (Somerset), Jose Gil (Camden), Joe Testa (Somerset)
Tigres de Aragua – Marcus Walden (Lancaster)
The next stop on our Caribbean journey will be to Mexico, where we find another eight-team league. There are less Ducks connections currently playing in the country but still plenty of Atlantic Leaguers to talk about. The only member of the 2015 Ducks continuing their season south of the border is outfielder Delta Cleary, Jr. He is now playing with Yaquis de Obregon and has four hits and one RBI in 23 at-bats over seven games. Three other 2015 Atlantic Leaguers are teammates with him there, including Daryle Ward (Southern Maryland/Sugar Land), Dustin Martin (Sugar Land) and Ramon Delgado (Sugar Land).
Three other teams in Mexico have a player with a Ducks connection. The first team is Aguilas de Mexicali, who won the first half this year at 22-13. Infielder C.J. Retherford, who joined the Ducks late in 2014 and did the same with Bridgeport in 2015, is off to a hot start. He is batting .325 over 43 games with five homers, 25 RBI, 28 runs and nine doubles. Joining him on the squad are 2015 Atlantic League Player of the Year Welington Dotel, who is now leading the Mexican Pacific League with a .376 batting average, and Patriots pitcher Daniel Sattler.
Mayos de Navojoa is tied for first place in the second half and is currently has outfielder Quincy Latimore on the roster. Latimore signed with the Ducks in 2014 but was offered a contract with the Washington Nationals just prior to Spring Training. He has played in 45 games thus far and is batting .277 with seven home runs, 33 RBI, 20 runs and 12 doubles. Latimore is teammates currently with former Barnstormers Blake Gailen and Daniel Moskos.
Finally, relief pitcher David Kopp is currently with Caneros de los Mochis, who finished a game out of first place in the first half of the season and sits tied for first in the second half. However, the 2014 Duck has yet to appear in a game. Joining him on the squad are three guys who played with the Patriots last year: starting pitcher Lucas Irvine, starting pitcher Roy Merritt (who also pitched with Sugar Land), and infielder Matt Fields.
Here are the other 2015 Atlantic Leaguers playing right now in Mexico:
Charros de Jalisco – Michael Nix (Sugar Land), Will Oliver (Somerset), Amadeo Zazueta (Sugar Land)
Naranjeros de Hermosillo – Nate Reed (Lancaster), Jason Urquidez (Lancaster), Jerry Owens (Lancaster)
Tomateros de Culiacan – Nick Van Stratten (Bridgeport)
Venados de Mazatlan – Cyle Hankerd (Southern Maryland), Jon Weber (Sugar Land)
Our final stop on this tour will be in the Dominican Winter League, which features six teams. Five of the six have an Atlantic League veteran on the roster. Like Navegantes de Magallanes, we talked about one previously on the blog. That was Aguilas Cibaenas, who ended up winning the inaugural Serie de las Americas. The roster features the only former Duck playing in the Dominican, and that is relief pitcher Donnie Veal. The southpaw and former big leaguer is currently being used as a situational reliever and is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four and two-thirds innings over 15 games. He is teammates there with four members of the Atlantic League from 2015: Sean Bierman (Patriots), Kameron Loe (Bridgeport), Kelvin Villa (Sugar Land) and Luis De La Cruz (York).
Tigres del Licey is in first place right now at 21-14. The team features two members of the York Revolution in shortstop Wilson Valdez and relief pitcher Leyson Septimo, the latter of which has a 1.69 ERA in 12 games. Estrellas de Oriente is in second place and has two Patriots pitchers on the roster in Randy Boone and Kramer Sneed. Sneed has thrown seven scoreless innings over two starts thus far. The only other team with multiple Atlantic Leaguers on the roster is Leones del Escogido. The roster there includes a pair of York Revolution pitchers in Edward Paredes and Julio DePaula. Paredes is pitching to a 0.96 ERA in 14 games. A couple of other former Atlantic Leaguers are also on the roster in Yunior Novoa (Lancaster, ‘11; York, ‘12-13) and Jarrett Grube (Southern Maryland, ‘09-10). The final two teams with 2015 Atlantic League players on the roster are Gigantes del Cibao, who have former Bluefish pitcher Robert Carson, and Toros del Este, who have former Patriots pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz.
That will do it for this week’s edition of the Wednesday Winter League Roundup. If there is anyone that you know of who is playing for a winter league team, please feel free to let us know. You can either note it in the comments section of this post or fill out a contact form on the blog. We hope to have some comments from some of the Ducks who are playing in the Caribbean in our winter roundup post.
Posted on December 2, 2015, in Winter Hot Stove and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Bobby Blevins, Caribbean, Delta Cleary Jr., Dominican Republic, Donnie Veal, Elmer Reyes, Frank DeJiulio Jr., J.C. Romero, John Brownell, Lew Ford, Long Island Ducks, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Randy Ruiz, Reegie Corona, Ricardo Gomez, Ryan Kussmaul, Sean Burroughs, Venezuela, Winter Leagues. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.