This past week saw a baseball version of musical chairs for Cubs prospects as many experimented with other positions around the diamond. Arismendy Alcantara, Erick Castillo, and Edwin Maysonet lined up in two separate positions while Junior Lake appeared in three different places. Also trying out new roles were Ryan Searle and Christian Villanueva.
Staying in one spot was fortunate for Margarita in the Venezuelan League as Dave Sappelt batted a robust .565 with seven runs scored in six games this past week. Meanwhile, Michael Bowden, Jay Jackson, and Yoanner Negrin continued making their case to compete for starting roles in the organization this spring.
You don’t have to wait for the music to start again to come inside and check out the highlights. Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Dominican Winter League
Michael Bowden experienced the ups and downs of a starting pitcher this week beginning with a 14-1 victory over Licey on Sunday. Bowden went seven strong innings and allowed an earned run with two walks and four strikeouts.
Michael Bowden was back on the mound on Saturday but was not as successful. Bowden gave up three earned runs in 4.2 innings as the Eagles lost 4-2 to Cibao. Bowden walked one and struck out one while seeing his winter record hit the .500 mark at 3-3.
Leones de Escogido
It continues to be a rough go for reliever Lendy Castillo as he surrendered two earned runs and failed to record an out last Sunday as the Lions defeated Este 9-4.
Toros del Este
The Bulls had another rough week. Players from the Cubs’ system did not make an appearance until Tuesday. Diory Hernandez was the only player with Cubs ties to see action in Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to Cibaenas. Hernandez went 1-for-4.
Este’s only win came on Wednesday as the Herd defeated Escogido 3-2. Jeffry Antigua picked up his fifth hold as he struck out a batter in 1.1 scoreless innings. Diory Hernandez worked a walk but was 0-for-3 in the game.
After Thursday’s off day, Este was back to work on Friday as the Toros lost 8-5 to Cibaenas. Diory Hernandez was 2-for-4 while starter Horacio Ramirez struck out a batter in a 0.2 inning relief appearance. However, Alberto Cabrera wasn’t as fortunate. Cabrera served up a solo home run and allowed three earned runs in 1.1 innings.
Horacio Ramirez was called on to start on Saturday and he gave Este two scoreless innings in an 11-3 loss to Oriente. Jeffry Antigua chipped in by shutting out the Stars for 1.1 innings and Diory Hernandez was 0-for-2 in the contest.
Tigres del Licey
Despite having the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Erick Aybar, and Dee Gordon ahead of him, infielder Arismendy Alcantara has found ways to contribute to the Tigers. Alcantara entered the game last Sunday as a pinch runner and stayed on to play shortstop. Alcantara went 1-for-1 with a double as Licey was hammered 14-1 by Cibaenas.
Arismendy Alcantara was called upon as a pinch runner again on Monday. Alcantara went 0-for-1 but scored a run in a 5-4 win over Escogido.
Another blow-out on Tuesday offered an opportunity for more playing time for Arismendy Alcantara. Alcantara went 1-for-2 while taking over at shortstop as the Pride embarrassed Cibao 11-0.
Arismendy Alcantara was used as a pinch runner again on Saturday. Alcantara scored a run and filled in at second base as Licey beat Escogido 8-4 on Saturday.
Estrellas de Oriente
The Stars reeled off three straight wins and won four out of five this week thanks to the efforts of several Cubs’ prospects. Sunday saw Junior Lake line up in his familiar position of shortstop as he was 1-for-4 with his ninth stolen base in a 5-4 win over Cibao. Nelson Perez demonstrated some new found patience at the plate. Perez worked two walks, drove in three runs and smacked his fourth home run. Rafael Dolis struck out three batters in 1.1 scoreless innings and was credited with the win. Dolis evened his winter record at 1-1.
It was third base for Junior Lake on Tuesday as he went 1-for-4 while scoring a pair of runs as Oriente defeated Escogido 8-6. Nelson Perez struggled and went 0-for-4.
Nelson Perez continued his struggles at the plate on Wednesday. Perez was 0-for-2 as Estrellas squeaked out a 1-0 victory over Cibao. Junior Lake lined up in left field and went 1-for-3 at the dish.
Some time off on Thursday and Friday seemed to help Nelson Perez. Perez drew a walk in a pinch hitting appearance in and 8-7 loss to Escogido.
The breather appeared to have refocused Nelson Perez as he was 1-for-2 with a run scored and three walks as Oriente beat Este 11-3 on Saturday. Junior Lake had a big night. Lake went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and a run scored while lining up in left field again. Rafael Dolis struck out a pair but allowed an unearned run in an inning of relief.
Mexican Pacific League
Venados de Mazatlan
The Jay Jackson that was once a top ten prospect for the Cubs a few years ago appears to be showing up in Mexico as he evened his record at 2-2 in a 7-0 shutout of Navojoa on Thursday. Jackson pitched seven scoreless innings while walking a pair and striking out three.
Yaquis de Obregon
It was a quiet week for Cubs prospects in Obregon as the team decided to change-up its line-up. Esmailin Caridad tossed a scoreless inning and Christian Villanueva pinch hit and played first base in a 4-2 loss to Guasave on Wednesday. Esmailin Caridad gave up four earned runs while striking out two in an inning of work on Thursday. Caridad suffered the loss as the Yaquis dropped their second straight to Guasave, 9-5. The losing streak moved to three games as Alfredo Amezaga went 0-for-5 in a 5-4 loss to Navojoa on Friday.
The Tribe was able to salvage something from the week by defeating Navojoa 8-1 on Saturday. Alfredo Amezaga went 1-for-3 with a walk, a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Atenienses de Manati
It was a productive week for Edwin Maysonet in Puerto Rico as he belted his first home run of the winter in a 5-4 loss to Santurce on Sunday. Maysonet ended up going 2-for-4 while showing his versatility by lining up in left field. Maysonet was back at shortstop on Tuesday and went 2-for-3 as Manati was on the wrong end of a 10-0 laugher to Santurce.
It was back to left field for Edwin Maysonet on Thursday as the Athenians edged past Santurce 8-7. Maysonet went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI.
Edwin Maysonet ended his week by going 0-for-3 with a walk on Friday. Maysonet split time between left field and shortstop in a 3-1 loss to Carolina.
Venezuelan Winter League
Bravos de Margarita
The Braves managed two wins last week despite red-hot performances from Dave Sappelt and Alberto Gonzalez. Sappelt was 2-for-4 on Sunday as Margarita fell 6-3 to Lara.
Tuesday was the first of an extended run for Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez at third base and went 1-for-3 with a triple, a run scored and two RBI as Margarita fell 10-7 to Caracas. Dave Sappelt was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and his fourth stolen base.
Margarita had a change in fortune on Wednesday as Dave Sappelt had another monster game. Sappelt went 3-for-4 with two runs scored while swatting his third home run as the Bravos shut-out Caracas 9-0. Alberto Gonzalez (1-for-4 with a double) chipped in with two RBI.
Dave Sappelt continued his offensive rampage on Thursday. Sappelt went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI as the Braves lost 14-6 to Aragua. Alberto Gonzalez was 0-for-3 but drew a walk and scored a run.
Alberto Gonzalez and Dave Sappelt provided most of the offense in another Margarita loss on Friday. Gonzalez was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while Sappelt went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Saturday saw the Braves return to their winning ways as they defeated Zulia 6-5. Dave Sappelt scored a run in his fifth straight game while going 2-for-3 at the plate and Alberto Gonzalez went 1-for-5 in the win.
Cardenales de Lara
It appears Luis Valbuena ran out of gas last week as a promising start ground to a halt. Valbuena went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI in Sunday’s 6-3 victory over Margarita.
Luis Valbuena reached base four times on Monday with a 2-for-2 performance that included a pair of walks and his third stolen base of the winter as the Cards lost 2-1 to Magallanes. Valbuena (0-for-3) then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly as Lara beat Aragua 9-6 on Tuesday.
Wednesday brought a 6-3 loss to Aragua as Luis Valbuena went 1-for-4. Valbuena then went 0-for-4 on Thursday as the Redbirds beat Caracas 3-2.
The week ended for Luis Valbuena with an 0-for-4 performance on Saturday, as the Cardinals lost 4-3 to Anzoategui.
Caribes de Anzoategui
As hot as Johermyn Chavez was two weeks ago, he was equally as cold last week. Chavez went 1-for-4 last Sunday, his best performance of the week, as the Caribes lost 8-2 to La Guiara. Anzoatigui would make it two in a row over the Tiburones on Tuesday with a 9-8 loss. Chavez went 0-for-4.
Young catcher Erick Castillo showed off his versatility on Wednesday. Castillo lined up in left field as the Tribe took the finale in the set with La Guiara, 5-2. Castillo went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base.
Johermyn Chavez was back in the line-up on Thursday, but the results were the same. Chavez went 0-for-3 in a 4-3 victory over Magallanes.
Erick Castillo continued displaying his athleticism on Friday by moving to first base. Castillo sluggled his first home run as the Caribes romped 5-0 over Magallanes.
It was four in a row on Saturday as Anzoategui defeated Lara 4-3. Johermyn Chavez (0-for-1) only saw action as a pinch hitter.
Leones de Caracas
It was a tough week for the Lions, as good performances by Cubs prospects still didn’t translate into wins for Caracas. Tony Campana went 1-for-3 with two walks, two stolen bases and a run scored in a 5-4 win over Zulia last Sunday.
Tony Campana was part of the show on Tuesday as the Pride defeated Margarita 10-7. Campana went 2-for-5 with a RBI, a run scored and his sixth stolen base. J.C. Boscan was 1-for-2 with a walk. Hector Rondon, who ended up in the Cubs system later in the week in the Rule 5 Draft, allowed an earned run in an inning of work and was credited with the victory.
Caracas began a losing streak on Wednesday with a 9-0 loss to Margarita. Tony Campana was 1-for-4 with his seventh stolen base. Hector Rondon gave up an earned run in an inning on Thursday. Rondon was hung with a blown save while Tony Campana went 1-for-4 with a run scored in a 4-3 loss to Lara. Yoanner Negrin pitched well enough to win on Friday, but didn’t get enough support as Caracas bowed 7-6 to La Guaira. Negrin allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings with a walk and five strikeouts. Tony Campana (1-for-4) tripled, scored a run and drove in two runs, while J.C. Boscan went 0-for-3 with an RBI.
Tiburones de La Guaira
Reliever Eduardo Figueroa made only one appearance last week. Figueroa tossed 1.2 scoreless innings on Thursday as the Sharks beat Zulia 6-3.
Australian Baseball League
Down Under, it looks as if Ryan Searle is adapting well to his new role as closer for the Bandits. Searle picked up his second save as Brisbane defeated league leading Perth 6-4 on Friday. Searle tossed a scoreless ninth with a walk and a strikeout.
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO