We’ve been using Jon Weber for the headline for just about every Rays Winter League recap of late. It’s getting excessive, but nevertheless he’s been deserving every time. He’s been unstoppable in the Mexican Pacific League of late, getting his line up to .325/.417/.481 on the MPL season. He’s among the MPL leaders in just about every offensive category. And of course, this is the same player who had an amazing spring training for the Yankees back in 2010 only to be left off the roster because he was left-handed and the Yankees needed a right-hand hitter. At 34 years old, he still hasn’t appeared in a single major league game. Will Weber’s unbelievable performance go to waste again or will he finally get another opportunity to head to big league camp?
Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 5, Estrellas de Oriente 2
The Dominican Winter League has this crazy playoff system where the top four teams in the league play an 18-game round-robin schedule following the 50-game regular season with the top two teams advancing to a best-of-nine championship series. So far in the playoffs, the Aguilas Cibaenas are 2-1 after their win Saturday. Manny Ramirez went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored for the Aguilas in this game, while Hector Luna went 0 for 4 but did drive in a run.
Mexican Pacific League: Aguilas de Mexicali 10, Algodoneros de Guasave 5
I’m still trying to comprehend these Jon Weber stats. In this game, Weber was outstanding again, going 2 for 4 with a homer, a walk, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. The homer is especially baffling. He now has 3 homers in his last 5 games after just 2 in his previous 61! He also has an 8-game hitting streak, hitting .394 (13 for 33) with 3 homers and 10 RBI. He’s on not just a hitting streak but a crazy power streak as he has raised his slugging percentage something like 60 points in the last couple of weeks, which sounds impossible when you’ve already played 60 games in the season but apparently isn’t. Wow. Someone better give him an invite to big league camp. After everything he’s been through and the way he’s playing right now, he certainly deserves it.
Yaquis de Obregon 7, Mayos de Navojoa 6
Juan Miranda‘s Gigantes del Cibao did not make the Dominican Winter League playoffs, so now he’s in the Mexican Pacific League playing for the Yaquis de Obregon. Playing in his second game for the Yaquis, he did pretty well, going 0 for 3 but with 2 walks and a run scored. Iker Franco also went 1 for 4 for Obregon while Wes Bankston went 1 for 5 with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 5 games. Bankston also has at least one strikeout in each of those 5 games, so go figure.
Venados de Mazatlan 3, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 1
Ex-Rays were just about the entire Hermosillo offense on Saturday. Unfortunately, there wasn’t very much of it as they got 4-hit. Cubs minor leaguer Jay Jackson was outstanding for Mazatlan, going 8 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. The 1 run came on a solo homer by Humberto Cota while Jorge Cantu went 2 for 3 with a double. Matt Buschmann saved the game in relief of Jackson and was able to get back on track after a couple bad outings, tossing a perfect inning with a pair of groundouts and throwing 5 of 6 pitches for strikes. Mazatlan actually got 4-hit in this game as well, but they also drew 6 walks, half of whom scored. Henry Mateo had one of the walks and scored a run but the real hero was another former Cubs minor leaguer, Issmael Salas, who went 3 for 4 with a double and all 3 Mazatlan RBIs.