The fun thing about these minor league recaps is that we end up covering players from all over baseball that have some Rays connection. Especially unique is the crop of players who the Rays drafted and did not sign. Joey Terdoslavich made his major league debut with the Atlanta Braves in 2013, but as we strive to keep baseball in our lives as the offseason progresses, Terdoslavich will be among the players we count among our “Rays” after the Rays selected him in the 35th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Terdoslavich is just the latest player who we will get a window into in the coming weeks and months, and if he plays well, Rays fans may just have another player to root for.
Dominican Winter League: Gigantes del Cibao 5, Toros del Este 3
A trio of Rays-related players saw time in this game, and their situations with the team couldn’t be any more different. One is leaving, one just re-signed, and one is long gone. The long gone player is Terdoslavich, who had a big DWL debut for Este, going 3 for 4 with a triple, a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored. The Toros immediately plugged Terdoslavich into their five-hole, expecting big things, and he delivered right off the bat. Terdoslavich had just a .581 OPS in 92 plate appearances for the Braves, but he hopes to ride a strong winter ball to a stronger performance next season. Then there was recently-resigned Mayo Acosta, who went 0 for 2 with a walk at the plate but did throw out 2 of 3 attempted basestealers. Finally for Cibao, Ramon Ramirez nailed down his 5th save, striking out 1 in a perfect innings of work and getting the ohter two outs on the ground. Ramirez couldn’t crack the Rays’ bullpen in 2013, but considering he was a great reliever as recently as 2011, you have to expect another minor league offer is ahead for 2014.
Mexican Pacific League: Aguilas de Mexicali 7, Algodoneros de Guasave 0
Russell Branyan just barely extended his hitting streak, going 0 for 3 before drilling a line drive single in the 8th. He went 1 for 4 with a run scored in the game, extending his hitting streak to 7 games. He’s hitting an insane 11 for 25 (.440) over the course of the streak, drilling 3 homers and 3 doubles, driving in 9, and even managing a strong 5-5 strikeout to walk ratio. He didn’t even strike out in this game, instead facing some bac luck before he finally registered his hit. I don’t think anyone assosciates Russell Branyan with a hitting streak, but that’s exactly what he has going and let’s see how long it lasts.
Mayos de Navojoa 3, Venados de Mazatlán 1
There was a good performance by an ex-Rays minor leaguer for both sides, but it was the Mayos who got the better performance and came out ahead. JOn Weber had a strong game for Navojoa, going 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. He finally was able to break the 2 for 27 streak that had him out of the Mayos’ lineup for a while. Meanwhile for the Venados, Mateo went 1 for 4 with an RBI double and a stolen base. He was also struggling, but now he has a hit in his last two games and hopefully he’s starting to break out again.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Gigantes de Carolina 8, Criollos de Caguas 2
The Gigantes rolled in the game, and Jesus Feliciano and Robinson Cancel did their best to contribute. Feliciano went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, raising his average on the year to .371 in the process, while Cancel went 2 for 4 with a double to raise his average to .325. Cancel’s hits extended his hitting to 7. Both Feliciano and Cancel haven’t provided much in the way of power, combining for just 5 extra-base hits and no home runs in 75 combined at-bats, but they have hit for a high average and shown excellent plate discipline. Feliciano has struck out just 1 time versus 5 walks while Cancel’s K-BB ratio is a solid 6-4.
Venezuelan Winter League: Tiburones de La Guaira 10, Navegantes del Magallanes 8 (11 innings)
Robinson Chirinos did everything for the Navegantes, but it simply was not enough as they fell 10-8. In the 6th inning, Chirinos led off with a double and scored the tying run in the game as Magallanes rallied for 3 runs to take a 5-3 lead. Then after La Guaira scored 5 in the 8th to go ahead 8-5, it was Chirinos to make sure that would not be the game ended. Chirinos came up to the plate with the bases loaded, 1 out, and the Navegantes down 8-6. They were a single away from a tie game but a double play away from a crushing loss. Chirinos came through with a huge 2-run single to tie the game–Frank Diaz was the one who hit into a double play a batter later. Then in the 11th, the Tiburones wanted no part of Chirinos with runners on second and third and 2 outs, walking him intentionally. The move paid off for La Guaira as they retiredDiaz once again. C.J. Retherford‘s walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Chirinos had a huge game, going 2 for 4 with a double, a hit-by-pitch, 2 huge RBI, and the tying run scored back in the 6th, but unfortunately there was only so much he could do. Cesar Suarez went 1 for 6 with a run scored in the victory for the Tiburones.
Leones del Caracas 8, Tigres de Aragua 2
Daniel Mayora is finally back after his quad injury and looking like his typical self, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks in this one. Mayora’s injury certainly doesn’t erase how good his numbers were beforehand–he now has a .379/.432/.690 line in 95 plate appearances. Can Mayora pick up where he left off? That remains to be seen, but Mayora has actually improved his plate discipline in his brief time since returning. He now has 3 walks in his last 6 plate appearances after walking just 4 times in his previous 91. Also appearing for Caracas was Felipe Rivero in his VWL debut, but it did not go particularly well as he went 0.2 innings allowing 2 hits, a walk, and a run, although he did strike out 1. Rivero looked a little rusty, but hopefully it’s all up from here. A lot of the younger players in the winter leagues are stuck pitching only in the late innings of blowouts, but the Leones put Rivero into the game in the 6th inning of this one, and hopefully that’s a sign that he’ll get more chances.
Bravos de Margarita 3, Caribes de Anzoátegui 1
We’ve been talking about a bunch of players breaking their slumps, but Leslie Anderson‘s is still in full swing. Anderson went 0 for 3 with a walk in this one and he’s now just 5 of his last 31. The good news is that he’s still walking, walking 6 times in that stretch, but the hits have just stopped coming and Anderson has to turn this around. Anderson’s .349/.438/.532 line in 128 plate appearances is still tremendous, but one of the biggest things he was hoping to prove was that he could hit for sufficient power to be a starting first baseman in the major leagues, and that has not come to fruition.