Enny Romero‘s pure stuff from the left side draws Matt Moore comparisons. His performance has not. Just like Moore had been in 2010, Romero was a 21 year old at High-A this past season, and he posted a 3.93 ERA and a 107-76 strikeout to walk ratio in 126 innings. Moore had posted a 3.36 ERA and a 208-61 strikeout to walk ratio in 144.2 innings. Then in 2011, Moore dominated Double-A, moved up to Triple-A and was even better, then was unhittable in Septembr and the postseason. Simply put, if “Enigmatic Enny” wants to catch up to Moore’s pace, he has a lot of work to do. The Rays don’t expect Romero to catch up to Moore, but they still think he can be a fine pitcher and hopefully he can make adjustment in Winter Ball to help him get there. On Tuesday, Romero made his Winter Ball debut.
Arizona Fall League: Phoenix Desert Dogs 7, Mesa Solar Sox 7 (11 innings)
How many 11-inning ties have the Desert Dogs played this season? Sheesh. This game was pretty crazy before the unsatisfying ending. Phoenix jumped out ahead 2-0, fell behind 6-2, tied it on a grand slam by Marlins prospect Kyle Jensen then blew it in the 9th on a bizarre play. In terms of the Rays prospects in the game, Kevin Kiermaier went 1 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI. His RBI single in the 4th inning for Phoenix’s second run was the only 2-out RBI of the game. Kiermaier has cooled off considerably but is still hitting .379 on the AFL season. On the pitching side, Kirby Yates struck out 2 in a 1-hit 9th, but the one was a game-tying home run by Rafael Ynoa of the Dodgers. But it was no ordinary homer. Here’s how the Game Recap from MLB.com described it.
Rafael Ynoa hits an inside-the-park home run (2) on a ground ball through the hole at second base.
What in the world? Per Marlins.com, Ynoa hit a groundball down the right field line and the right fielder, Jensen, went over to get it but his foot got struck under the fence and he couldn’t move to get the ball, allowing Ynoa to round the bases and tie the game. Wow. C.J. Riefenhauser tossed the final 2 innings for Phoenix allowing just 1 hit while striking out 1 and posting a perfect 3-0 groundout to flyout ratio. Solid day for the Rays’ AFL prospects and we’ll be looking forward to today, when three-quarters of the Phoenix infield will be highly-touted Rays prospects: Hak-Ju Lee at short, Tim Beckham at second, and Richie Shaffer at either third or first.
Venezuelan Winter League
Something nice about the Arizona Fall League is that all the Rays prospects (and all the prospects for every MLB team) are all together on one team. That’s not the case in the other offseason leagues, so on Tuesday, Henry Wrigley got to watch his Caracas team get closed out by his Durham teammate, Ryan Reid, to give Zulia the win. Wrigley gave Caracas a 2-0 lead in the first inning and Caracas actually had a 5-0 lead and 5-1 margin heading to the 9th inning before their pitching utterly collapsed, delivering some of the worst pitching you will ever see. With 2 outs and 1 on in the 9th up 4 runs, Caracas managed to allow two singles, a walk, two straight wild pitches, a 3-run home run, three more singles, and a walk before getting out of the inning. Whoa. Reid got three groundballs in the 9th to close out Zulia’s 8-5 win while Wrigley’s homer in the loss was his third in his last five games.
Dominican Winter League
Enny Romero made his Winter Ball debut for Escogido and the good news was that he tossed 1.2 perfect innings, striking out 1. The bad news: his groundout to flyout ratio was 1-2. Enigmatic Enny is still enigmatic. Escogido lost the game 3-2 to Este, with Rockies prospect Charlie Blackmon driving in 2 for Este and Diory Hernandez of the Cubs hitting a home run. Ex-Ray Julio Lugo started at DH for Escogido (whose idea was that?) and went 0 for 3 with a walk.
Mexican Pacific League
No Rays prospects to be found here, only a couple ex-Rays who had nice days. Wes Bankston (only 28 years old), went 4 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored for Navojoa in their 7-1 win over Mazatian, and Jorge Cantu homered for Hermosillo in their 13-8 loss to Culliacan in a game where Marlon Byrd homered twice for Cullican. Could the Rays, in desperate need of hitting, give one of these guys a shot? Probably not, but at least they would come cheap.