Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Granden Goetzman Slowly Heats Up
By Robbie Knopf
I really don’t understand the Australian Baseball League at all–for no apparent reason, the Brisbane Bandits didn’t play a game from November 30th to December 11th. But in any event, the long layover can act as needed rest for some players and a fresh start for others. Granden Goetzman is still trying to find himself on the baseball diamond, but the last two games represent continued progress for him in his journey.
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Australian Baseball League: Brisbane Bandits 3, Perth Heat 2 (11 inning; game played on 12/11)
Perth 4, Brisbane 2 (12/12–remember the time difference between here and Australia!)
In the first game back, Thomas Coyle kept up his strong hitting for Brisbane on the season, going 2 for 4 with a walk, but the basepaths did not treat him well as he was caught stealing twice, once after a pickoff. Granden Goetzman had some better luck, going 1 for 5 with a double and his 7th stolen base of the season. Maxx Tissenbaum also went 1 for 4 with the first RBI for the Bandits while Johnny Field went 1 for 5 with a run scored.
In the second contest, meanwhile, Granden Goetzman accounted for nearly all of the Brisbane offense, going 3 for 5 with a two-run home run and his 8th stolen base of the season. Goetzman’s line on the season is still bizarre–he’s at .244/.295/.512 with 6 homers, just 4 doubles, and 13 RBI. However, he is starting to find more consistency than the isolated home run or stolen base in recent games as he’s riding a 3-game hitting streak and has hits in 8 of his last 10 contests overall.
Coyle also went 1 for 4 with a triple, a walk, and a run scored for the Bandits. That day actually sent his numbers down a decent amount as he has maintained a .373/.448/.590 line on the year. Finally, Johnny Field went 0 for 5 in the Brisbane loss.
Mexican Pacific League: Caneros de los Mochis 7, Aguilas de Mexicali 5
Justin Christian continued his hot streak for the Caneros, going 2 for 5 with a solo home run. He’s now up to a .289/.347/.489 line with 9 RBI in his last 10 games as his numbers are getting increasingly respectable. Christian put up a strong season for the Durham Bulls this with numbers quite similar to that recent stretch as he hit to a .271/.344/.434 line. While he will turn 35 in April, he remains athletic and may have one last big league stint in him.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Gigantes de Carolina 13, Criollos de Caguas 4
Former Durham Bull Jesus Feliciano continues to be a rock star for Carolina, going 1 for 3 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored in this game. Feliciano has hit to an insane .398/.423/.545 line, with his .398 batting average being .039 ahead of his nearest competitor. Feliciano stood out for his fielding in Rays Spring Training in 2012, but he is certainly bringing the bat out now.
Ex-Rays draft pick Danny Dorn also had a strong game for the Gigantes, going 2 for 3 with a double, 2 walks, an RBI, and a run scored. Dorn has cooled off, but he is now up to a .318 average in his last 6 games as he hopes to get back on track.
Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes del Magallanes 19, Aguilas del Zulia 7
This might be the most bizarre game we’ve had yet in one of these recaps. Juan Apodaca is a weak-hitting catcher, but he got 3 of his 5 RBI on the season entering this game in a fluky December 3rd contest. Well, apparently lightning can strike twice.
Apodaca went 2 for 5 with a double, 4 RBI, and a run scored out of the nine-hole for the Navegantes in this game to help them to their blowout win. Apodaca is still at just a .254/.333/.305 line on the season, and his .314/.368/.343 line in his last 10 games isn’t exactly setting the world on fire either. However, he has twice now come up with out-of-nowhere heroics, and we’ll have to see if he can do it again.
Jason Pridie had a nice game in the Zulia loss, going 2 for 4 with a walk and a run scored, and then there was poor Ray Olmedo. The former big league infielder drew the short straw and had to pitch the ninth inning, and he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits before finally finishing the game. Olmedo has pitched twice before in the minor leagues. The funny thing for the moment is that Olmedo has logged just 6 games for the Aguilas now, and 1/6 of them have come off the mound.