For many of the younger players in Winter Ball, they only get into games when scores get lopsided. They can retain hope, however, because a few strong performances in such contests could lead them to more regular time. Armando Araiza had a big game as the Yaquis de Obregón suffered a blowout loss, and he hopes that his team will take notice.
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Dominican Winter League: Leones del Escogido 5, Toros del Este 4
Alex Colome‘s results are not too important in Winter Ball–the mean thing that the Rays want him to do is build innings. Nevertheless, it has nice that he delivered his second straight strong start for the Leones in this game. Colome went 5 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was also a strong 7-1.
Mexican Pacific League: Caneros de los Mochis 16, Yaquis de Obregón 3
Justin Christian had a strong game, going 2 for 5 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, to help the Caneros run away with this game. Gerardo Reyes gave up 4 of the runs across 2 innings, albeit with some bad luck bearing some of the fault. His first run came when a runner scored from second base on a double play grounder while he last three would have been avoided had his infielders been able to field a pair of grounders that went down as infield singles.
The biggest story from this contest, though, was Armando Araiza. After he replaced Said Gutierrez for defense in the 6th inning, Araiza drilled a line drive single in the 7th then finished the game in style with a 9th-inning solo homer. Araiza has been appearing almost exclusively as a defensive replacement for Gutierrez, not even getting a backup catcher’s usual once-a-week start. However, a game like this reminds the Yaquis how much talent he has.
Armando Araiza is Rule 5 eligible this offseason, and while it’s exceedingly unlikely that he will be selected, he is a player that the Rays will be excited to keep in their system. He may not have the offensive upside of his Bowling Green teammate Oscar Hernandez, but he is a great defender with a chance to become another interesting Rays catching prospect.