Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Granden Goetzman Goes Off
By Robbie Knopf
We haven’t talked much about the Australian Baseball League or the Roberto Clemente Winter League in Puerto Rico, but they are in full swing and several Tampa Bay Rays prospects are firmly involved. Players like Granden Goetzman and Cameron Seitzer are doing their best to give us incentive to look at those leagues more often.
Australian Baseball League: Brisbane Bandits 7, Adelaide Bite 2
The Bandits feature Rays prospects at the top three spots in their lineup, and two of them had great games. In particular, Granden Goetzman was in another stratosphere.
Goetzman delivered the best performance we have seen so far in Winter Ball, going 3 for 4 with a homer, 2 doubles, 2 stolen bases, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He managed just 1 hit combined in Brisbane’s first three games of the season, but he broke out of that slump with quite a show. We know that Goetzman has excellent raw power and speed, and the Rays only wish that he could tap into those tools more often.
Thomas Coyle, meanwhile, went 2 for 3 with a solo homer, a hit-by-pitch, and 2 runs scored. Coyle’s biggest issue this year at Double-A was a lack of power, and it would be nice to see him hit a few more balls over the fence. Johnny Field also went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored in the Bandits win.
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Dominican Winter League: Gigantes del Cibao 8, Aguilas Cibaenas 6
For Cibao, Wilson Betemit went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. He has a .279/.373/.442 line in his first 11 games for the Gigantes as he hopes to return to the big leagues for the first time since 6 games in 2013. Ramon Ramirez, meanwhile, looked excellent in recording the save for Cibao, tossing 1.1 perfect innings with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts.
On the Aguilas side, Manny Ramirez went 0 for 5 and Matt Ramsey allowed a hit, 2 walks, and a run in an inning of relief. Juan Sandoval allowed just a hit and no runs in 2 innings of work, striking out 3, but even he had a rough game, allowing 2 inherited runners to score to give Cibao the lead.
Leones del Escogido 8, Tigres del Licey 6
What are the odds of having two 8-6 games among the three in the Dominican Winter League on Sunday? In any event, this game actually featured a more interesting nuance than that.
Enny Romero is one of the highest-upside lefties the Rays have, but this was not his finest game for Escogido as he allowed a run on a hit in 1.2 innings, striking out 2 while walking 1. He was actually squarely out-pitched by Braulio Lara, who went 1.1 innings for Licey allowing just a walk while striking out 3. Lara also has electric stuff, but unfortunately, poor command and secondary pitches have led to far too much inconsistency.
Jordan Pacheco, who is also related to Rays lefties because he taught Matt Moore his breaking ball, went 2 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base for Escogido.
Roberto Clemente Winter League (Puerto Rico): Gigantes de Carolina 9, Criollos de Caguas 4
Cameron Seitzer is a great example of a player who is served well by playing in Winter Ball. He has talent, but he is coming off a disappointing season and needs to find a way to get the Rays’ attention. A strong performance for Carolina could help him take a step in the right direction. In this game, Seitzer went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored, raising his average to .400 through 3 games.
Jesus Feliciano nearly made the Rays’ roster out of spring training in 2012, but a poor season at Durham that year saw him stuck in the Mexican League in 2013. He didn’t play anywhere during the 2014 regular season, and the 35 year old’s chances of a big league return are not good at all. He is off to a nice start for Carolina, though, going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI to give him a .417 average to begin the year.