Winter Ball Recap: Roman Ali Solis Homers in Culiacan Win
Why does it seem like every single doubleheader is a split? Wednesday twin-bill between the Tomateros de Culiacán and the Mayos de Navojoa was a split in every sense of the word as the Tomateros won the first game 7-1 then Navojoa won the second game by the same score. In that first game, though, three current and former Rays came through to add a little excitement.
Dominican Winter League: Leones del Escogido 4, Toros del Este 3
Mayo Acosta and Joey Terdoslavich both had decent games for Este in the loss, with Acosta going 1 for 3 with an RBI and Terdslavich going 1 for 4 with a run scored. Freddy Guzman, making a rare start for the Leones as opposed to his usual pinch-hitting role, went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. The starter for Escogido was also interesting: Graham Godfrey. At one point set to be the Oakland Athletics’ 5th starter in 2012, the A’s had seen enough after five starts and Godfrey was subsequently traded to the Red Sox and Pirates, having a solid season at Triple-A. The 29 year old right-hander hails from Tampa and might be an interesting look for the Rays as pitching depth. In this game, he went 2 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits as he continues to build up the arm strength to go deeper into games again.
Aguilas Cibaenas 7, Tigres del Licey 4
The Aguilas won this game more in spite of ex-Rays minor leaguer Tim Corcoran‘s starting performance then because of it, but it was nice to see Corcoran make his first DWL appearance nevertheless. Corcoran had a strange outing, going 2.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, forcing a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio. He was mostly fine, but a triple in the first inning and a homer in the second inning led to a pair of runs, and a third run in the 3rd was enough to get him hooked. Every pitcher makes their mistakes, but there’s always the hope that you can get away with a few of them. Not for Corcoran in this game. Corcoran, who spent three seasons with the Devil Rays including a solid 2006 as a starter, is coming off a forgettable season with the Yokohomo Bay Stars in Japan and will hope to get back into affiliated ball in the US.
Mexican Pacific League: Game 1: Tomateros de Culiacán 7, Mayos de Navojoa 1
Game 2: Mayos de Navojoa 7, Tomateros de Culiacán 1
The Rays have run through quite a few catchers over the years, and the players they have had in their system for depth runs even longer. But while Roman Ali Solis has not yet played a game in the system, he might be the most interesting depth piece. The reason: he actually has some power and the aptitude to hit. Solis continued his strong MPL performance with a homer in the day game as part of a 1 for 3 day with a walk before getting the nightcap off. Solis has a .276/.327/.467 line with 8 doubles, 7 homers, and 23 RBI in 48 games. Elsewhere in the first game, Wes Bankston and Jon Weber did just about everything positive for the Mayos, with Bankston going 2 for 4 with a double and Weber going 1 for 4 with a double. Bankston and Weber did both go hitless in the second game, however, although Bankston did walk and score a run.
Yaquis de Obregón 3, Venados de Mazatlán 0
Bobby Cramer had an excellent relief appearance to help lead the Yaquis to victory, going 1.2 shutout innings working around a hit and a walk with 3 strikeouts. Henry Mateo, meanwhile, notched 2/5 of the Venados’ 5 hits, going 2 for 4. One more ex-Ray, Darnell McDonald, went 0 for 3 for Obregón. But the most interesting player in this game goes to Mazatlán starting pitcher Walter Silva. Silva went the complete game allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1 as he took the loss. As Rays know from James Shields and others, always tough to toss a complete game and lose. Silva also has an interesting story–a career Mexican Leaguer, he joined the San Diego Padres for one year and somehow cracked their major league roster for a time, making 6 starts.
Venezuelan Winter League: Leones del Caracas 7, Tigres de Aragua 3
Bobby Abreu was a solid major league player not that long ago. He is certainly showing some signs of life in Winter Ball for Caracas, going 3 for 4 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored to raise his overall line to .316/.403/.443 on the year. Hector Gimenez, meanwhile, had another good game in an Aragua loss, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. Gimenez is hitting .444 with 6 homers and 15 RBI in his last 10 games…and the Tigres are just 3-7 in those games, including losses in their last three games.