At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do. Honestly, we only care about our team’s prospects and former players in Winter Ball, but watching these players have great games and their team still lose by 5 runs is still pretty frustrating.
Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 14, Tigres del Licey 12 (10 innings)
Wow. Games like this don’t come along very often. The Aguilas jumped on Daniel McCutchen (Pirates) and Ariel Pena (Brewers) for 9 runs in the top of the first inning and tacked on another run to take a 10-0 lead, but then Licey came back with 7 runs in the third inning and eventually came back to tie the game at 12 on a Juan Francisco (Braves) home run off of ex-big leaguer Luis Vizcaino in the 9th. Then the Aguilas rebounded from the demoralizing comeback by Licey with a go-ahead 2-run homer by the Marlins’ Chris Coghlan in the 9th off of ex-Ray Jesus Colome and won the game 14-12. Coghlan had an unbelievable game, going 4 for 6 with 2 homers, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, and 4 runs scored, but let’s get to the Rays prospects. Omar Luna had a game of very mixed results for Cibaenas, going 2 for 7 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored but also making 2 errors at shortstop. He was 0 for 5 after singling twice in the 9-run first inning. He did extend his hitting streak to 4 straight since getting moved to the Aguilas’ leadoff spot, with 3 multi-hit games among the 4. Brauilio Lara appeared in the game for Licey and was the first Tigres pitcher to not allow a run, working around a walk with a strikeout and 2 groundouts to pitch a scoreless 4th inning. Nice to see him throwing the ball well.
Venezuelan Winter League: Leones de Caracas 4, Bravos de Margarita 1
Combine a red-hot Henry Wrigley with a strong outing by Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin, and you have yourself a crisp win. Wrigley had his 6th multi-hit performance in his last 10 games, going 2 for 4 with a homer, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and he’s not hitting .439 (18 for 41) in his last 10 games and .333 overall in the VWL. He’s now tied for second in the VWL with 7 home runs. If only he had any plate discipline- he has still struck out 16 times versus just 5 walks. Back to the game, Chacin went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. The 1 run he allowed was on an RBI single by ex-Rays infielder Sean Burroughs. Indians prospect Eric Berger took a tough loss in the game for Margarita, allowing just 2 runs, both on the Wrigley home run, on 6 hits in 5.2 innings, striking out 6 while walking 1.
Cardelanes de Lara 3, Aguilas del Zulia 2
The Reds’ Henry Rodriguez kinda sorta played in the Rays’ organization once upon a time. He did what he could to deliver a win to the Aguilas, who we mostly care about because Alex Torres is on the team, but it was not enough. Rodriguez went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI and Dwayne Pollok, an ex-White Sox prospect, went 6 innings of 1-run ball, striking out 4 while walking none, but Zulia blew it in the 9th, allowing a walk-off single to current big league free agent Jose Lopez in the 9th as Lara won 3-2. How was Rodriguez a Rays prospect? He signed with the Reds as a 16 year old out of Venezuela back in 2006 and went up through their organization, making his big league debut at age 22 in 2012. But in 2007, the Devil Rays and Reds shared a Venezuelan Summer League affiliate, and Rodriguez was on that team. The team was horrible, going 17-51, and the two teams never collaborated again. Former Rays farmhand Romulo Sanchez went 2.1 innings of 1-hit ball for Lara, posting a 4-0 groundout to flyout ratio.
Tiburones de La Guaira 8, Navegantes de Magallanes 3
Terrible pitching cost the Navegantes the game and me a cool headline. The Navegantes were the headline anyway, so whatever. Current and former Rays prospects accounted for 5 of the 7 Magallanes hits. Ex-Rays prospect Erold Andrus pinch-hit in the 7th and slammed a 2-run homer, fellow ex-prospect Chris Nowak went 2 for 3, and a current prospect, Leslie Anderson, went 2 for 4 and also had an outfield assist. Both Andrus and Nowak are now hitting .333 on the season, with Nowak extending his hitting streak to 5. He’s hitting .361 in his last 10 games. Anderson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a nice start to Winter Ball, starting 5 for 12 (.417). The Dodgers’ C.J. Retherford and ex-big leaguer Oscar Salazar went a combined 4 for 8 for La Guaira in this one with 2 homers, 5 RBI, and 3 runs scored.