The Undercards: Alex Torres Gets Back on Track vs. Henry Wrigley’s Caracas Squad


Alex Torres is out of time. He’s out of options and if he doesn’t make the Rays out of spring training, his time in Tampa Bay may very well be over as he’ll be exposed to waivers. For several starts, it looked like he had make a breakthrough. One horrific start (7 ER, 1.1 innings) brought that all into question, but the Rays hope his start Tuesday will start another good run for him.

Arizona Fall League: Peoria Javelinas 8, Phoenix Desert Dogs 1

The Desert Dogs got trampled in this one, but how great is it to see Richie Shaffer playing every day? Shaffer went 1 for 3 with Phoenix’s only RBI in this one, extending his hitting streak to 4 since he entered the Desert Dogs starting lineup thanks to the absence (whether because of injury or otherwise) of Brewers prospect Hunter Morris. Hak-Ju Lee went 1 for 4 in the game but made a pair of throwing errors- Shaffer’s inexperience playing first base certainly didn’t do him any favors- and Kevin Kiermaier went 0 for 2 with a walk and a rare error of his own, another throwing error.

Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 6, Toros del Este 0

Omar Luna returned to the leadoff spot for Cibaenas for this first time in a while and had a nice game as the tablesetter, going 0 for 2 but with 3 walks, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. This one great game improved Luna’s strikeout to walk ratio from a mediocre 9-4 to a nice 9-7, although Luna better continue showing patience or teams won’t care too much.

Estrellas de Oriente 3, Leones del Escogido 1

Willy Aybar went just 0 for 4 for Escogido and is just 2 for 14 so far in the DWL, although he has struck out just once.

Gigantes del Cibao 2, Tigres del Licey 1 (1o innings)

Wild finish in this one as Licey got a solo homer from Rangers prospect Leonys Martin in the 10th to break a scoreless tie before Cibao won it with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. The ex-Rays position players did not have a good day, with Rhyne Hughes going 0 for 3 and Juan Miranda going 0 for 1 as a pinch-hitter, and Jhonny Nunez worked around 2 hits in the 9th for Cibao to toss a shutout frame, striking out 1.

Mexican Pacific League: Naranjeros de Hermosillo 5, Caneros de los Mochis 4

Jorge Cantu went 0 for 2 with 2 walks in this one for Hermosillo. Cantu has a nice 16-10 strikeout to walk ratio on the MPL season, but has hit just .241 in 15 games and hasn’t hit for much power either, managing just a .426 slugging percentage with only four of his 13 hits going for extra bases.

Mayos de Navojoa 1, Tomateros de Culiacan 0

Wait a second, this team was between the Mayonaises and the Tomatoes? No, not quite, the Mayo Native Americans and the Tomato Plants- really, the Tomato Plants? In any event, Wes Bankston had a rare bad game, going 0 for 4 for Navojoa.

Aguilas de Mexicali 10, Yaquis de Obregon 1

Jon Weber, the ex-Rays prospect from 2007 to 2009 who is most famous for having a big spring training for the Yankees in 2010 but not making the team, went 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored for Mexicali in this one. He was struck at Independent in 2012 but is having a nice time in the MPL, posting a .291/.388/.419 line with 6 doubles, 1 homer, 11 RBI, and 14 strikeouts against 14 walks in 27 games. Catcher Iker Franco, who was a Rays prospect from 2000 to 2002, went 0 for 2 for Obregon.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico): Leones de Ponce 2, Congrejeros de Santurce 1

Felipe Lopez started at second base for Santurce and went just 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. He has started the RCPBL (there has to be a better acronym than that) season going just 1 for 11, although he does have 4 walks compared to 4 strikeouts.

Criollos de Caguas 13, Gigantes de Carolina 4

Among the recognizable ex-Rays prospects, Jesus Feliciano went 1 for 4 with a run scored. For the other two ex-Rays in the game, you’re going to strain yourself to remember them even if you’re the most avid Rays prospect watcher. Sergio Espinosa went 1.1 innings for Caguas allowing a hit and a walk while striking out 2. Eddie Morlan, meanwhile, struggled mightily for Carolina, allowing 4 runs in just 1.1 innings on 2 hits, a walk, and a hit batsman. Morlan is best known as the throw-in along with Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett in the Delmon Young trade, and spent 2008 to 2010 in the Rays organization, while the lefty Espinosa was with the Rays in 2009 and 2010 after signing out of Cuba. Morlan and Espinosa were teammates on the 2010 Montgomery Biscuits. Morlan was also a nice prospect at one point, hitting 97 MPH with his fastball out of the bullpen to go along with a great slider, but command issues got his career off-track. Morlan is only 26 years old and has been electric in independent ball the past two seasons, so we may not have seen the last of him.

Venezuelan Winter League: Cardelanes de Lara 9, Bravos de Margarita 1

The Bravos have to give some help to Sean Burroughs if they ever want to win any games. Burroughs went 3 for 3 with a walk and the only Bravos run scored. He’s on a 4-game hitting streak with multiple hits in 3 of the 4, and he has a .367/.438/.544 line in 21 VWL games with 5 doubles, 3 homers, 16 RBI, and a 12-9 strikeout to walk ratio. The 32 year old Burroughs, who was with the Rays back in 2006, saw time in the big leagues with the Twins in 2012 and should have a good amount of offers this offseason after his great performance for the Bravos. Romulo Sanchez worked around 2 hits to toss a scoreless 9th for Lara, striking out 1.

Leones del Caracas 7, Aguilas del Zulia 3

The Aguilas completely imploded at the end of this one, but that was not the fault of Alex Torres. Torres did not have his best control but battled his way to a nice outing, going 6 innings allowing just 1 runs on 3 hits, striking out 6 while walking 4 and posting a 6-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Torres has just a 4.40 ERA on the VWL season after his implosion the other day, but his strikeout to walk ratio is a ridiculous 47-14 in 28.2 innings. That’s 14.8 strikeouts per 9 innings, although he has walked 4.4 per 9- still a good mark for the enigmatic lefty Torres. After Torres left the game, Caracas scored 6 of their 7 runs, including 4 in the 9th to break a 3-3 tie, and 3 of those 4 runs were driven in by ex-Rays prospects Henry Wrigley and Daniel Mayora. Wrigley went 1 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored while Mayora went 1 for 5 with 2 RBI. Wrigley has a great .324/.378/.562 line with 8 homers and 23 RBI in 28 VWL games, but his strikeout to walk ratio is still pedestrian at 20-8.

Navegantes de Magallanes 3, Tigres de Aragua 2 (15 innings)

This game was a defensive disaster and it speaks to how good the pitchers were that it was a low-scoring game and even lasted until the 15th inning- although an error did end the game. Former Royals prospect Mario Lisson walked, stole second base, and then stole third base and scored on a throwing error to end the game. For the Rays-related players, Leslie Anderson had a nice game, going 3 for 4 before getting lifted for a pinch-runner in the 8th inning and watching the second half of this game from the dugout, Erold Andrus went 1 for 6, and Chris Nowak had a game to forget, going 1 for 6 with a double while making 3 errors at third base. Anderson is now hitting .378 in 9 VWL games, collecting at least 1 hit in all but 1 and notching multiple hits in 5 of 9.