Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Our First Look at Andrew Velazquez
By Robbie Knopf
Wondering about the prospects that the Tampa Bay Rays acquired in the Jeremy Hellickson trade? Well, now you can wonder ever so slightly less about Andrew Velazquez. The 20 year shortstop played in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League last night, and it’s a nice opportunity to learn a little more about him.
Dominican Winter League: Leones del Escogido 6, Tigres del Licey 5 (11 innings)
Enny Romero has the stuff to dominate in a relief role, but he is certainly not getting results like he is hoping for pitching for the Leones. Romero entered the game in the 8th inning with a 4-2 lead and allowed 1 run that inning and 2 more the next frame to send the contest into extras. In 1.1 innings, Romero allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, on 2 hits, striking out 1 while walking 1. He had just a 7.04 ERA and a 9-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 7.2 innings pitched.
Jose Ruiz did have a nice game for Licey, going 3 for 4 with a double. He singled off Romero, and his pinch-runner eventually scored to make it a 5-4 game. Braulio Lara also struck out the only batter he faced for the Tigres. Finally, we can’t have a Rays lefties conversation without Jordan Pacheco, who went 1 for 5 with an RBI for Escogido.
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Mexican Pacific League: Naranjeros de Hermosillo 6, Venados de Mazatlán 2
Olmo Rosario was almost the entire Venados offense in their loss, going 3 for 3 with both RBI in the game. He now has two consecutive multi-hit games, and he has rebounded from an 0 for 17 stretch by going 8 for his last 16. Rosario, interestingly enough, is not actually from Mexico, which would explain why it took him until his 10th pro season to make it into the Mexican League. After a strong split-season between Tabasco and Monclova in 2014, Rosario hopes a long Mexican League career is ahead of him.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Criollos de Caguas 4, Indios de Mayaguez 2
Andrew Velazquez did not have a great game on the day in which he became a Rays prospect, going 0 for 4. It’s funny, though, because he’s been doing so outstanding every other day. Even after the 0 for 4, Velazquez has a .405/.419/.571 line for the Indios with 2 homers, 4 RBI, and 3 stolen bases in 10 games. This contest broke up a 7-game hitting streak including 6 multi-hit games. Contact is the biggest concern for Velazquez, and he does have 8 strikeouts against 1 walk, but it is always exciting to see such a young player excelling against older competition.
Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes del Magallanes 5, Leones del Caracas 3
Daniel Mayora had a nice game in the loss for Caracas, going 2 for 4 with a solo home run. He now has a 6-game hitting streak, and his numbers on the season are starting to look impressive. He now has a .274/.394/.415 line with 4 doubles, 3 homers, 16 RBI, and an 18-16 strikeout to walk ratio. You wish he had more power or more speed, but that type of plate discipline could get him another minor league offer this offseason.
Tigres de Aragua 5, Tiburones de La Guaira 1
Doug Mathis was dominant (well, somewhat) to lead Aragua to the win, going 6 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 1 while walking 2. He’s not missing any bats, but his groundout to flyout ratio was 9-3. He did a nice job shutting down the ex-Rays minor leaguers on La Guaira, with Alex Cabrera going 0 for 1, Cesar Suarez going 0 for 2, and Miguel Rojas going 0 for 3. Hector Gimenez went 1 for 4 in the win for the Tigres.