Rays Prospects

Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Kes Carter Clutch for Peoria

By Robbie Knopf
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The 2014 MLB season is over, and what an ending it had. Watching Game 7 was quite the thrill, with Madison Bumgarner making history as he led the San Francisco Giants to the title. Luckily, though, baseball has no intention of stopping now, and I don’t mean the offseason. The Arizona Fall League and the Winter Leagues are in full swing, and as Kes Carter showed on Wednesday night, there will be plenty of drama there as well.

Arizona Fall League: Peoria Javelinas 5, Glendale Desert Dogs 4

This game had a wild finish as the Javelinas scored four runs in the top of the 9th, but the Desert Dogs came back with two in the bottom of the frame.

Kes Carter started the scoring in the game with an RBI single (off a lefty) in the second inning, and he came up big again in the ninth, drilling a sac fly for Peoria’s final run. That proved to make all the difference as fellow Rays prospect Zach Cooper allowed three straight one-out hits in the ninth and two runs before forcing a game-ended double play. This was not the way he hoped to get it, but Cooper’s efforts led to his first save of the AFL season.

Carter went 1 for 3 with 2 RBI overall, and topped off his day with his first stolen base of the fall. Colton Reavis also got into the game for Peoria, allowing only a hit in an inning of work while striking out 1. One terrible appearance has Reavis’ ERA at 6.43 on the season, but he has looked sharp in 4 of 6 appearances and has a 7-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 7 innings pitched.

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Surprise Saguaros 4, Salt River Rafters 4 (11 innings)

Games in the Arizona Fall League that are tied after 11 innings are ruled draws, and it’s quite appropriate in this case because there was Rays-related player on each side.

For Surprise, Luke Maile had a strong game, going 2 for 4 and throwing out 2 of 4 attempted basestealers. It has been tough for Maile playing just once or twice a week in the AFL, but this game provides a glimpse of how good he can be. Reid Redman also got into the contest for Salt River, tossing a perfect inning of relief.

Dominican Winter League: Gigantes del Cibao 4, Tigres del Licey 2

Juan Perez was in left field for the Giants making a nice running catch to rob Nori Aoki of a hit, but he was also in this game tossing a scoreless inning of relief. Simply amazing.

In less sarcastic news, Wilson Betemit‘s two-run homer got the Gigantes on the board and proved to be the winning margin in the game. The player he hit the homer off of was Ramon Ortiz, the 12-year MLB veteran who also spent some time in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system with the Durham Bulls. Ortiz went 3 innings allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. Ramon Ramirez, meanwhile, recorded the save for Cibao, tossing 1.1 innings allowing 2 hits but striking out 1.

Leones del Escogido 6, Estrellas de Oriente 4

Jordan Pacheco had a nice game for the Leones, going 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and 2 runs scored. He has delivered a solid season for them so far, hitting to a .316/.381/.395 line. Enny Romero, on the other hand, came into this game having struggled mightily but finally got himself right, tossing a perfect eighth inning with 2 strikeouts for his first hold of the season. It tells you everything you need to know about Romero’s stuff that he entered the game with a 40.50 ERA in two appearances, but was still trusted in a big spot. Hopefully additional positive results are on the way for Romero.

Mexican Pacific League: Aguilas de Mexicali 3, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 1

Mike Jacobs had a strong game to lead the way for the Aguilas, going 1 for 3 with a solo homer, a walk, and 2 runs scored. Bizarrely, Jacobs has 3 homers and an improved 8-3 strikeout to walk ratio in his last 10 games, but he’s hitting just .175 with a .633 OPS in that stretch. Even crazier is that the lefty hitter Jacobs has an .822 OPS versus lefties compared to .629 against righties in almost identical sample sizes. His homer in this game, of course, was off a lefty, and the Aguilas have to be hope to picks up the slack against opposite-side pitchers as well.

Venados de Mazatlán 4, Caneros de los Mochis 0

There are inconsistent relievers, and then there is Carlos Fisher. He looked incredible in this game, striking out the side in the ninth for the Caneros as he worked around a walk. But if it looks like he has turned the corner, it’s worth noting that his ERA stands at 11.12 on the season to go along with an 11-9 strikeout to walk ratio. Also, who has 11 strikeouts and 9 walks in just 5.2 innings pitched?

Olmo Rosario went 1 for 4 in this game for the Venados while Justin Christian went 0 for 4 for los Mochis.

Venezuelan Winter League: Caribes de Anzoátegui 4, Bravos de Margarita 2

It was more exciting when he was on his power tear, but Brandon Allen‘s plate discipline right now is unreal. After going 1 for 3 with a walk in this game, he now has seven straight games with a walk and nine of his last ten. His line on the season is not up to .321/.472/.589. Adding this to a couple of years of strong performance at Triple-A, and it seems extremely likely that Allen will find some offers from big league organizations this offseason. He may even find himself in a situation where he has a chance for his first big league time since 2012.

Tomas Perez went 1 for 4 for Anzoátegui while Taylor Motter went 0 for 3 with a walk for Margarita.

Leones del Caracas 8, Tiburones de La Guaira 2

Daniel Mayora drilled an RBI groundout in the second inning to get the Leones on the board, but he was just getting started. In the following frame, he drilled a two-run triple to give Caracas a commanding 5-2 lead. Henry Rodriguez also went 1 for 5 with an RBI in the win for Caracas.

On the La Guaira side, there was not much offense to be found, but much of what there was came from Rays-related players. Erold Andrus finally got something going for the Tiburones when he drilled a pinch-hit two-run double in the seventh inning. Alex Cabrera, meanwhile, went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored while Cesar Suarez went 1 for 4. Andrus has played well for La Guaira, hitting to a .294/.351/.412 line in 13 games.

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