Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Daniel Mayora Unstoppable for Leones
By Robbie Knopf
It is always nice to return from an absence and immediately make your presence felt again. After being sidelined since December 17th, Daniel Mayora returned to the lineup of the Leones del Caracas and proved to be an impossible out in their blowout win.
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Dominican Winter League: Leones del Escogido 8, Tigres del Licey 3
Burt Reynolds had a strong game for the Leones, going 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored as their left fielder. That brings up the obvious question: who is Burt Reynolds? Reynolds, not to be confused with the actor of the same name, is somewhat interesting to us for three reasons: 1) his name, 2) the fact that he’s Robinson Cano‘s cousin, and 3) his three years in the Tampa Bay Rays system from 2008 to 2010.
Reynolds did not play well after posting a .788 OPS at Advanced Rookie Princeton in his pro debut and then spent 2011 to 2013 in Independent ball. But maybe Cano called in a favor as Reynolds signed with the Seattle Mariners for this season and played well against younger competition at A-ball.
Alexander Simon also played in this game for Escogido, entering as a defensive replacement before going 0 for 1. It was Simon’s first hit in 10 at-bats–this bench player thing isn’t working out so well for him. In any event, Simon had a solid season at Low-A Bowling Green in 2014, hitting to a .281/.323/.374 line even though he had never played above the Gulf Coast League prior to the year.
Mexican Pacific League: Tomateros de Culiacán 7, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 3
Russell Branyan and Adan Munoz had exhilarating games for the Tomateros and Naranjeros respectively, with Branyan going 0 for 1 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored while Munoz went 0 for 3 with a run scored. (Yes, I was kidding.)
Also appearing for Culiacán in this game was right-hander Gary Majewski, who worked around a hit and a walk with a strikeout in 1.1 shutout innings. I am mentioning Majewski because the six-year big leaguer was once dealt from the Washington Nationals to the Cincinnati Reds in a deal that also included future Rays Brendan Harris and Felipe Lopez.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Gigantes de Carolina 9, Cangrejeros de Santurce 3
Speaking of Harris, he went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored in this contest for Carolina. He’s now at .333 through his first 7 games with his new team. Jesus Feliciano, meanwhile, went 1 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored as he saw his average slip to .381.
Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes del Magallanes 5, Tigres de Aragua 4
Juan Apodaca has literally gone from a weak-hitting catcher to one of the Navegantes’ best hitters in the span of a couple of weeks. In this game, he went 2 for 3 with a solo home run, and now he has a .484/.528/.839 line over the course of his 9-game hitting streak. What does that even mean?
Hector Gimenez had a good game for the Tigres in their loss, going 1 for 2 with 2 walks.
Leones del Caracas 10, Tiburones de La Guaira 1
Daniel Mayora, however, was just a little bit better than Apodaca in this game as he gets the headline. Mayora went 2 for 2 with a homer, a double, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, proving to the bane of the Tiburones’ existence in this contest. Henry Rodriguez, meanwhile, went 2 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, while Bobby Abreu went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Caracas also did a nice job holding down La Guaira’s slugging former Rays minor leaguers as Cesar Suarez and Alex Cabrera went a combined 1 for 8.