Rays Winter Ball Recap: Victor Mateo K’s 8 in Santurce Win

By Robbie Knopf

The Tampa Bay Rays have already acquired two relievers this offseason: Heath Bell in the Ryan Hanigan trade and Mark Lowe on a minor league deal. Victor Mateo will be one of the players hoping to convince the Rays that additional depth may not be necessary and that internal options for the bullpen could do just fine. 8 strikeouts is always a nice way to do that.

Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 13, Estrellas de Oriente 4

Huge game for Hector Luna in this one as he went 2 for 3 with a 2-run homer, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. After a sluggish start, Luna has not notched two straight impressive games as he looks to start a roll. Luna was in the major leagues as recently as 2012 and is coming off a strong season for the Chunichi Dragons, hitting to a .350/.399/.520 line in 356 plate appearances. Luna’s deal with the Dragons for just one year, so he will hope to get back in a big league organization for this year. Juan Sandoval worked around a hit to toss a scoreless inning for the Aguilas in the victory.

Mexican Pacific League: Mayos de Navojoa 11, Venados de Mazatlán 3

The Mayos pulled away immediately and never looked back, and Jon Weber was a big reason why, going 1 for 3 with a 3-run double, a walk, and 2 runs scored. Weber has had a rough go overall in the MPL this year, but he had been seeing the ball well, managing a 7-8 strikeout to walk ratio in his last 10 games, and it was only a matter of tme before the hits started coming. Henry Mateo had a strong performance for Mazatlán in the loss, going 2 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored.

Tomateros de Culiacán 4, Caneros de los Mochis 2

Strong contributions from Jorge Cantu and Ali Solis led the Tomateros to victory in this one. Cantu went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 runs scored while Solis went 1 for 3 with another double and an RBI. Solis also threw out the only runner who attempted to steal against him. Cantu now has a 6-game hitting streak, including multi-hit games in 3 of his last 4, and while the power has not come yet, he has a solid .290/.357/.417 line on the MPL season. Solis, meanwhile, is at .292/.338/.450, and while you wish he had any plate discipline (33-9 K-BB), his great defense and flashes of power make him a little more interesting than your average Triple-A depth.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Congrejeros de Santurce 9, Idios de Mayaguez 2

Victor Mateo has bounced around from starting to relieving for the Congrejeros, having more success in his limited time in relief. But Santurce has continued to start him, and Wednesday gave fans a glimpse of why. Mateo made two big mistakes in this game, allowing solo home runs to Irving Falu and Randy Ruiz, but he still went 5 strong innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 8 while walking 2. He even had a nice 4-1 groundout to flyout ratio. On the season, Mateo has now allowed 4 home runs in 22.2 innings pitched, a scary 1.6 HR/9, but that can’t overshadow the fact that his strikeout to walk ratio is an incredible 29-7. John Rodriguez went 2 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored to help give Mateo his run support.