It was strange happenings as the fall and winter leagues embraced the Halloween spirit. Eduardo Figueroa became the first trade of the winter, appearing for both Caribes de Anzoategui and Tiburones de La Guaira this week. Meanwhile, Mesa played to a rare tie and Javier Baez took over the league lead in RBI. And after struggling last week, Greg Rohan and Jae-Hoon Ha saw things turn around for them at the plate. Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Arizona Fall League
Mesa Solar Sox
After going 0-for last week, the tough times continued in the desert for Mesa as they started the week losing 5-4 to Salt River on Monday. Matt Szczur had the best day at the plate of the Cubs’ prospects. Szczur went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Javier Baez was 1-for-5, while Rubi Silva went 0-for-4 with a stolen base. Nick Struck and Kevin Rhoderick each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, with Rhoderick striking out two batters.
Tuesday saw something you don’t see every day in professional baseball. After 11 innings, the game against Phoenix was called a 7-7 tie. Javier Baez started at third base and continued to struggle defensively. Baez committed two errors and was 1-for-3 with an RBI at the plate. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee went 3.2 innings, allowing two earned runs. Tony Zych tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in relief.
It was a heartbreaker on Wednesday as the Solar Sox saw a 2-1 lead evaporate when closer Kevin Rhoderick served up a three run homer and they lost to Scottsdale 4-2. Nick Struck picked up a hold by striking out three in two scoreless innings. Rubi Silva was 1-for-4, while Matt Szczur also went 1-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.
The streak reached nine games on Thursday, this time Peoria embarrassed Mesa 8-2. Javier Baez was back at shortstop and worked his third walk of the fall, while smacking his fourth home run. Baez also scored two runs and stole two bases. The Cubs’ other offensive players were not as fortunate as both Rubi Silva and Matt Szczur went 0-4.
Finally, victory came Mesa’s way on Friday as they defeated Scottsdale 8-4. Once again, Javier Baez played a big part as took the league lead with 16 RBI by driving in two runs and stealing a base as part of a 1-for-5 effort. Rubi Silva chipped in with a 1-for-3 day that included a walk. Kevin Rhoderick bounced back from his poor outing by striking out two and picking up a hold with a scoreless inning. Tony Zych then shut down the Scorpions in the ninth.
The winning streak ended at one as the Solar Sox closed out the week with a 12-6 loss to Salt River. Matt Szczur had a solid effort. Szczur went 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk. After going 0-for-2, Javier Baez was lifted and Rubi Silva (0-for-3) came in at second in a defensive shift and didn’t fare much better. Nick Struck remained inconsistent, struggled with his command and walked two batters while giving up an earned run in an inning of work.
Dominican Winter League
Leones de Escogido
Pitcher Lendy Castillo remained unscored upon for the Lions. Castillo struck out two in 1.1 innings in a 3-2 loss to Este on Tuesday. Castillo then saw 0.2 innings of work on Saturday, once again striking out a batter as Escogido lost 8-7 to Oriente.
Toros del Este
It was a busy week for the Bulls, as they started out on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to Escogido. Iowa infielder Diory Hernandez went 0-for-4.
Cubs’ prospects had a big hand in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Escogido. Reliever Jeffry Antigua picked up a hold while striking out the only two batters he faced. Diory Hernandez (1-for-4) got Este on the board first with a solo home run. Iowa closer Jairo Asencio had a strikeout and picked up his second save.
However, Jairo Asencio ended up letting in the winning run on Wednesday with a throwing error, as the Bulls lost 4-3 to Cibaenas. Iowa pitcher Horacio Ramirez made his first start and struck out four while allowing three earned runs in 3.1 innings. Diory Hernandez went 1-for-4.
None of the Cubs prospects played again until Saturday, when Este lost 3-2 to Cibaenas. Diory Hernandez went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Jeffry Antigua had two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings.
Estrellas de Oriente
Infielder Junior Lake had an interesting week for the Stars. Lake went 3-for- 5, including a home run, in Sunday’s 12-5 loss to Cibao. Lake would not see action again until he had a pinch-hitting appearance on Saturday. Lake collected a hit in an 8-7 win over Escogido.
Mexican Pacific League
Venados de Mazatlan
It was a turn-around week for Greg Rohan, as he started out by going 1-for-3 with a walk in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Mexicali. Rohan then scored the only run for the Stags on Tuesday. Rohan was 2-for-3 in a 7-1 loss to Novajoa. The Mayos still didn’t have an answer for Rohan on Wednesday. Rohan went 3-for-4 and scored a run as Mazatlan dropped another one to Novajoa, this time 5-3.
The Deer turned their fortunes around by beating Novajoa 4-3 on Thursday and Obregon 8-5 on Friday. Greg Rohan was 0-for-5 on Thursday and 0-for-4 on Friday.
Yaquis de Obregon
Things didn’t start off well for the Yaquis this week, but they ended up posting a 3-3 record. The week began with a 2-0 loss to Hermosillo on Sunday. Infielder Alfredo Amezaga was 0-for-4 in the game. After an off day on Monday, Obregon was back in action and Amezaga went 1-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to Los Mochis. Daytona third baseman Christian Villanueva was 0-1 in a pinch-hitting appearance.
Wednesday saw Christian Villanueva get his first start for the Tribe and he belted a home run in his first at bat. The Tribe defeated the Canarymen 10-7. Villanueva ended up going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two RBI to go along with his big fly. Alfredo Amezaga scored two runs as part of a 4-for-5 performance.
Pitcher Esmailin Caridad helped make it two in a row over Los Mochis on Thursday. Caridad notched a strikeout in his 0.2 scoreless innings and earned a hold in a 4-1win. Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in another run while Alfredo Amezaga went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Obergon had the tables turned on them on Friday, as Mazatlan bet the Yaquis 8-5. Alfredo Amezaga was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored, and two RBI in the loss. The Yaquis then came back on Saturday to defeat the Stags 7-1. Alfredo Amezaga went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. Christian Villanueva (0-for-1) could not take advantage of a pinch-hitting opportunity.
Venezuelan Winter League
Cardenales de Lara
Infielder Luis Valbuena made his winter league debut on Wednesday and went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored, and two RBI. Valbuena was then 0-for-4 on Thursday as Lara defeated Margarita 4-1.
Luis Valbuena then showed he can work a count on Thursday, as he went 1-for-2 with two walks in the Cardinals’ 2-1 loss to Caracas. Valbuena earned another free pass on Saturday and went 1-for-3 as Lara beat Caracas 4-2.
Caribes de Anzoategui
Pitcher Eduardo Figueroa started the week with the Indians and pitched 0.2 scoreless innings while walking two and striking out a batter in an 11-10 win over Margarita.
Eduardo Figueroa then allowed an earned run with a walk and a strikeout in an inning of work as Anzoategui lost 8-1 to Aragua on Wednesday.
Tigres de Aragua
It was tough times for the Tigers as they posted a 1-5 record for the week. The Tigers started out losing 3-1 to La Guaira on Sunday. Ty Wright was 1-for-4 while Jae-Hoon Ha was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Aragua was back in action on Tuesday, but the results were the same as they lost 11-5 to Anzoategui. Jae-Hoon Ha (0-for-2) continued to struggle at the plate while Ty Wright (2-for-4) scored a run.
Ty Wright had another good effort on Wednesday. Wright went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored in the Cats 8-1 win over Anzoategui. It remained bad news for Jae-Hoon Ha (0-for-4) as he went hitless again.
Jae-Hoon Ha then broke out of his 0-for-9 slump by going 3-for-4 with a double and RBI on Friday in a 4-3 loss to La Guaira. Ty Wright was 1-for-4 in the game. Ha continued his offensive resurgence on Saturday. Ha stole two bases and finished the game 3-for-5 with an RBI as the Tigers bowed to Magallanes 6-5. This time, it was Wright who went 0-for-4.
Leones de Caracas
It was another good start for Yoanner Negrin on Tuesday, as he struck out five in five scoreless innings in an 8-5 loss to Zulia.
Tiburones de La Guaira
Eduardo Figueroa resumed his winter league season with La Guaira on Thursday. Figueroa tossed a scoreless inning and picked up a hold in as they defeated Caracas 6-4.
The results weren’t as good for Eduardo Figueroa in his second appearance for the Sharks, but the bottom line was an 8-2 win over Anzoategui. Figueroa allowed two earned runs while walking two and striking out two in 1.2 innings.
Aguilas del Zulia
Catcher Juan Apodaca saw sparse playing time this week. Apodaca went 1-for-3 with a walk on Wednesday as the Eagles beat Lara 8-7.
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO