Rays Prospects

Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Cesar Suarez Leads Night of Clutch Hitters

By Robbie Knopf

For whatever reason, Tampa Bay Rays-related players had a night to remember in Winter Ball last night. From Cesar Suarez to Juan Apodaca, the hitters delivered when it mattered most and made their numbers look a little more shiny.

More from Rays Prospects

Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 6, Leones del Escogido 5

We’ll start slowly with this game. Cibaenas rallied for 4 runs in the 8th to win this one, with Derek Dietrich drilling a game-tying RBI single. Dietrich and Manny Ramirez both went 1 for 4 with an RBI in this game, with Ramirez’s hit being a double.

In other news from this contest, Freddy Guzman went 0 for 5 for the Leones while Cesar Cabral went 0.2 shutout innings allowing a hit and striking out 1 for the Aguilas.

Mexican Pacific League: Mayos de Navojoa 10, Aguilas de Mexicali 2

Now things start picking up a little more. Jon Weber‘s second game back with the Mayos was quite reminiscent of how he did before he left. Weber went 2 for 4, with the latter of those hits extending the Navojoa’s lead to 6-2. Weber has a .270/.341/.516 line in 32 games for the Mayos, and he looks primed to sustain those numbers even after his hiatus.

Venezuelan Winter League: Leones del Caracas 6, Cardenales de Lara 2

The Leones scored 5 runs in the 9th as they rallied to win, and both Daniel Mayora and Henry Rodriguez were right in the thick of things.

The Leones first scored in the 3rd, when Mayora singled and eventually scored on Rodriguez’s sac fly. Then in the 9th, Mayora’s 1-out single tied the game at 2, and Rodriguez ended the game with a bang. His 2-out single scored Mayora and another Caracas runner to give the Leones a 5-2 lead, and the 6th run scored when Rodriguez was caught in a rundown.

Overall, Mayora went 3 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored while Rodriguez went 1 for 4 but contributed 3 RBI. Mayora finally has his average above .300 on the season now at .304 while Rodriguez now has 7 RBI in his last 8 games.

Tiburones de La Guaira 7, Navegantes del Magallanes 6

Most of the players we have talked about are guys that we have lauded for their performance for all of Winter Ball. Cesar Suarez is no exception as he had a huge game for La Guaira, going 2 for 4 with 2 triples, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Suarez helped the Tiburones build up a 7-1 lead, and after everything fell apart from there, the value of his hits certainly stood out.

Alex Cabrera and Miguel Rojas also appeared for La Guaira, with Cabrera going 1 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored while Rojas went 0 for 3 with a walk. However, we still haven’t talked about the most surprising player in this game, Juan Apodaca for the Navegantes.

It was Apodaca, the weak-hitting catcher, who almost led his team back by going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI and a run scored. To put those 3 hits and 3 RBI in context, he had just 6 hits and 2 RBI in his previous 18 games.