Rays Winter Ball Recap: Ryan Brett Safe on Baseball’s 1st Successful Challenge


This week in the Arizona Fall League, Major League Baseball is testing the challenge system it hopes to implement in the near future. Baseball history isn’t usually made in the AFL, but on Ryan Brett‘s stolen base attempt in the top of the first inning, that is exactly what happened.

Arizona Fall League: Scottsdale Scorpions 7, Salt River Rafters 4

With one on and nobody out in the first inning, Ryan Brett singled to center. Then a few pitches later, Brett was off and running, but the second base umpire called him out. Brett began walking to the dugout, disappointed in himself for not getting a good enough jump. But that was not the way the story ended. Salt River’s manager challenged the play under the near replay system, and after 45 seconds, Brett was ruled safe. Baseball history had been made. Brett left the game for whatever reason after that (it didn’t seem like he was hurt or anything), but I guess he made enough of an impact for one night.

Luke Maile was also in the Rafters’ lineup, and he went 1 for 4 with a run scored. And then there were the Rays’ pitchers, and they had quite an interesting night. Mike Montgomery entered in the 4th inning, and after allowing a single and a walk to give the Scorpions two on with two out, he got a force out and a double play ball to escape the jam. Then he pulled off the same feat in the 5th, only with two walks followed by a strikeout and a flyball double play. Kenny Wilson made an incredible catch on a drive to centerfield only to drop the ball during his transfer to glove to hand well after he had caught it, and after review, it was called an out in center and the Rafters completed the double play. Some luck for Montgomery there, but it was great how he was able to walk three guys but then find a way to buckle down and keep Scottsdale off the board. Every pitcher has their lapses of control, and nice job by Montgomery making sure it did not result in any runs. Merrill Kelly followed and he was very good, going two no-hit innings allowing just a walk, striking out 1 and getting a trio of outs on the ground. Kelly has really had a rough go this fall, but he now has 3 straight shutout innings and hopefully he’s finally finding the form he used to have a great season at Triple-A once again.

Mexican Pacific League: Mayos de Navojoa 2, Venados de Mazatlán 1

Henry Mateo went 1 for 3 with a walk and the only run scored for the Venados in the 8th inning, but it was not enough as a sac fly and a huge error gave the Mayos a 2-0 lead that turned out to be enough to hang on. Jon Weber went 1 for 3 with a walk for the Mayos while Wes Bankston went 1 for 4. Mateo extended his hitting streak to 5 in the loss, although his consecutive multi-hit games streak did come to an end.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Congrejeros de Santurce 3, Crillos de Caguas 2

After a surprisingly strong season for the Rays’ Double-A Montgomery affiliate highlighted by a no-hitter, 24 year old right-hander Victor Mateo is now a minor league free agent. We will discuss Mateo and the rest of the Rays’ minor league free agents more in depth today or tomorrow, but right now let’s talk about Mateo’s outing for Santurce. Mateo was excellent, going 5.2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking none. Mateo got his audition for all of baseball off to a great start, and we will have to see whether the Rays look to retain him.

Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes del Magallanes 4, Bravos de Margarita 0

When we covered Jean Machi in our Winter Ball recaps last offseason, he was a 30 year old reliever with eight poor relievers for the San Francisco Giants under his belt. Now, Machi is coming off the season of his life, managing a 2.38 ERA and a 51-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 51 appearances for the Giants, but here he is back in Winter Ball to show his gratitude for the team that helped spur him to that great performance last winter. Machi’s first appearance was as dominant as it should be for a big league reliever coming off a quality year as he allowed a hit but struck out 2 in his inning of work. Robinson Chirinos also appeared in the game for Magallanes, going 1 for 4 with an RBI double.

Caribes de Anzoátegui 4, Leones del Caracas 1

It may be actually time to start worrying about Daniel Mayora now that he has missed a second straight game. Mayora is dealing with a quadriceps injury (Spanish link), and the Leones have decided to rest him for a week rather than risk further injury. Hopefully he will be OK. Danny Dorn had a good game for Caracas, going 2 for 4 with a double, and then there was Leslie Anderson, who went an 1 for 3 with a walk to drop his average down to an even .400 but extended his hitting streak to 13 games. It kind of seeems like Anderson is cooling off…but how can we say that when this hitting streak is still going and he has also gotten on base at least twice in his last 8 games?