Rays Prospects

Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Maxx Tissenbaum Headlines Catchers’ Week

By Robbie Knopf
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I’ve missed several days of Winter Leagues recaps, but you’re in for a treat right now to make up for it. Here is the best of the Tampa Bay Rays-related players in Winter Ball over the last week, with Maxx Tissenbaum and the catchers stealing the show.

Australian Baseball League All-Star Game: Team Australia 11, World All-Stars 8 (12/17)

The three Rays prospects appearing in this game did not disappoint. As pointed out by a reader, Johnny Field was set to be the MVP of this game until Australia somehow scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. In any event, Field went 3 for 3 with a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, continuing his spectacular 2014.

Maxx Tissenbaum, meanwhile, went 2 for 2 with a run scored. More on him in a second. Tommy Coyle rounded up the group with a 1-for-4 performance with a walk and a run scored.

Brisbane Bandits 10, Canberra Cavalry 3 (12/21)

Tissenbaum was just warming up for this contest, his best game of the season. He went 4 for 5 with 2 homers, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. I keep placing him a step behind the performances of Coyle and Field in the ABL, but it’s time to stop that.

Tissenbaum now has a .333/.400/.571 line in 95 appearances, and his bat is certainly starting to pique some interest. If he can hit to pair with his interesting catcher/infielder profile, we’re talking about another fascinating Rays prospect.

Speaking of Coyle and Field, the former went 1 for 3 with a solo homer, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. Tissenbaum’s 5 homers have passed Coyle’s 4, but I’m not one to quibble with a .346/.430/.567 line. Field, on the other hand, went 1 for 4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. Can anyone else do as much with only 1 hit in a game? Field’s line is at just .262/.376/.485.

Mexican Pacific League: Caneros de los Mochis 8, Yaquis de Obregón 7 (12/18)

Have a game, Armando Araiza! It was Araiza’s Hot Rods teammate Oscar Hernandez who the Arizona Diamondbacks selected in the Rule 5 Draft, but Araiza reminded us in this game not to forget about him either.

Araiza was making just his second start since November 8th but certainly made a case for more time, going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. The RBI came in the 8th inning, when his second double tied the game at 6. The Yaquis decided to ride the hot hand as he came to the plate and were rewarded with a huge hit. Araiza also threw out 1 of 2 runners attempting to steal.

Tomateros de Culiacán 3, Yaquis 1 (12/20)

This was Araiza’s next game after that contest, and we went just 0 for 2 after entering as a defensive replacement. Instead, it was Ali Solis emerging as the difference in this game, going 2 for 3 with a pair of solo home runs. Solis still has just a .210/.274/.339 line on the MPL season, but he has some surprising power and decided to bring some of it to lead the Tomateros to victory.

Russell Branyan also went 1 for 3 with a double in the win for Culiacán. In vintage Russell-Branyan-in-Winter-Ball fashion, he has a .210 average but a .383 OBP so far for the Tomateros.

More from Rays Prospects

Caneros 4, Charros de Jalisco 3 (12/21)

Carlos Fisher had some kind of relief appearance to lead the Caneros to this win. He entered the game having thrown 24.1 innings across 27 appearances, a solid margin under 1 inning per outing. In his last appearance, he had managed to retire neither of the batters he faced. But then, for no reason at all, Fisher went 4.1 shutout innings in this game allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6 as he earned the win in relief. That’s pretty impressive.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Gigantes de Carolina 4, Senadores de San Juan 3 (12/19)

Time to smile for a second about the possibility of Rene Rivera as the Rays’ starting catcher. He went 3 for 4 with a walk as the Senadores’ first baseman in this game. That is all.

Venezuelan Winter League: Leones del Caracas 10, Caribes de Anzoátegui 9 (12/21)

To set the stage for this game, Henry Rodriguez has been playing out of his mind of late for the Leones. Specifically, he homered on the 19th, and he homered again on the 20th. Then, in this game, he went 3 for 5 with 2 homers, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored. Overall, he has 4 homers and 8 RBI in his last 3 games. Another fun fact: he had 4 homers combined in his previous 48 games. Let’s just say that he’s feeling good right now.

Bobby Abreu also went 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored for Caracas while Jesus Flores went 1 for 3 with a runner caught stealing for the Caribes.

Tiburones de La Guaira 7, Bravos de Margarita 4

Alex Cabrera turns 43 on Christmas eve, but don’t tell that to Venezuelan Winter League pitchers. In this game, Cabrera went 2 for 5 with a homer and 4 RBI for the Tiburones. He now has a .293/.352/.465 line in 176 plate appearances–pretty good for a player well past the point where he was supposed to decline. Cabrera spent one season in the big leagues–2000–and then dominated in Japan for the next decade. Major League Baseball might have missed out.

Cesar Suarez also went 2 for 4 with an RBI for La Guaira, extending his hitting streak to 7 games.

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