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Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Doug Mathis Solid In VWL

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Winter leagues can be a way for a team to send their prospects in order to get more seasoning to fast-forward their developmental clock. But, just as important is that winter leagues can also help an individual boost his stock in hopes of latching on with an affiliated team the next season. That is the goal of Doug Mathis, and he was successful in his first outing for Tigres de Aragua.

Arizona Fall League: Peoria Javelinas 2, Glendale Desert Dogs 2 (11 innings)

After going 11 innings in this game, the Javelinas and Desert Dogs ended the game in a tie. Two Rays’ farmhands saw action in this game in Justin O’Conner and Patrick Leonard. O’Conner cooled off after going 7 for 12 in his first three games in the AFL, going 0 for 4 in this game, though he added a walk. Patrick Leonard, meanwhile, raised his AFL average to an even .300 with a 2 for 4 performance.

Venezuelan Winter League: Tigres de Aragua 10, Tiburones de La Guaira 1

Doug Mathis spent a majority of the 2014 season in the Durham Bulls’ bullpen, though he did get three spot starts. Mathis is a minor league free agent this offseason, and he went to the VWL in order to boost his stock to find a job with an affiliated team in 2015. The difference though, is that Mathis is looking to get stretched out as a starter, and he started this game for Tigres de Aragua. He pitched well too, giving up just one run in 5.0 innings of work while striking out three and walking two.

Like Mathis, Rays prospect Jake Thompson was a reliever this year in the Rays system, throwing to a 2.79 ERA between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. Thompson had a track record as a starter, but in two Double-A seasons he made little progress, so the Rays converted him to relief. However, Thompson is getting another chance to start in winter ball for the Tiburones de La Guaria. He was not successful in his first outing, though, as he gave up five runs, three earned, in just 3.0 innings pitched. Moving Thompson back to the rotation is slightly intriguing after he had such a good relief year in 2014, but do not expect him anywhere but the bullpen when he’s back with in the Rays system in 2015.

A couple of former Rays farmhands also appeared in his game. Cesar Suarez went 1 for 3 as the first baseman for La Guaira, and he was pinch-hit for by fellow former-farmhand Erold Andrus, who went hitless in his only at-bat. Alex Cabrera made an appearance as the DH for La Guaira. though he went 0 for 3 in the contest. Hector Gimenez appeared for Aragaua as the first baseman, going 1 for 4 with two walks and two runs scored.

Mexican Pacific League: Venados de Mazatlan 3, Mayos de Navojoa 0

No matter what happens, Jon Weber cannot stop hitting in winter ball. Though he last appeared in affiliated ball in 2010, Weber keeps coming back to winter ball and he keeps playing well. With his 2 for 4 performance for Navojoa on Monday, Weber simply kept his average at .500 for the young MPL season. Appearing on the other side was former Ray Olmo Rosario, who went 0 for 4 for Mazatlan.

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