Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/28/13

“Finals Week” is usually a tense time but it didn’t seem to faze most as Leones de Escogido, Criollos de Caugas, and Esmailin Caridad and the Yaquis de Obregon made short work of their league championships. Each is now a representative in the Caribbean World Series, with Luis Valbuena and Cardenales de Lara and Navegantes de Magallanes battling for the final spot in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Ryan Searle and the Brisbane Bandits remained in a dogfight for the final playoff spot in the Australian Baseball League.

Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas

As the Eagles were swept in four games by DWL champion Escogido, reliever Frank Batista was able to see some action. Batista tossed a scoreless inning in mop-up duty last Sunday, as Cibaenas lost 9-0.

Mexican Pacific League

Yaquis de Obregon

Obregon completed their improbable playoff run by sweeping Aguilas de Mexicali in the finals to claim their third straight LMP title. The only action reliever Esmailin Caridad saw was on Tuesday when he allowed an earned run in 0.1 IP. Caridad picked up his third hold, as the Yaquis defeated the Eagles 5-3.

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Venezuelan Winter League

Cardenales de Lara

Lara secured a spot in the VWL finals on Sunday, as they defeated Caracas 7-4 in their last game of round-robin play. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with a triple in the contest.

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The finals started on Wednesday against powerhouse Magallanes, with the Cardinals taking it on the chin in a 5-2 loss. It wasn’t a particularly good start for Luis Valbuena as he was 0-for-3 with a walk.

However, on Thursday, the Navigators saw why the Redbirds are the hottest team going into the Caribbean World Series. Luis Valbuena started the scoring by cracking a solo home run, his third of the post-season, as he went 1-for-4 in a 3-0 victory.

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Luis Valbuena then flexed his muscles again on Friday, as the Cards went up 2-1 in the series with a 4-2 win over Magallanes. Valbuena sparkled at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, a run scored and an RBI.

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Lara made a furious comeback on Saturday but the Nav’s proved to be too much as they defeated the Cardinals 6-5 to even the series. Luis Valbuena drove in a run and was 2-for-5 in the game.

Caribes de Anzoategui

The Caribes were one of the teams that tied for second in the regular season. However they stumble in the round-robin playoff, finishing at 8-8.  The Indians fought to the end, as Johermyn Chavez went 0-for-4 in Anzoategui’s 3-2 win over Zulia in 11 innings last Sunday.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Tribe closed out their season on Monday by beating Zulia 6-3. Outfielder Johermyn Chavez was 0-for-4 in the victory.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Leones de Caracas

After tying for second in the regular season, the Lions were underwhelming in round-robin play, going 7-9. Limping to the finish line on Monday, catcher J.C. Boscan was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI as Caracas lost 4-1 to Magallanes.

Australian Baseball League

Brisbane Bandits

With the Bandits needing wins to secure a playoff spot, starter Ryan Searle picked the wrong time to lay an egg as Brisbane lost to league-leading Sydney on Friday night 13-0. Searle was only able to go three innings. Searle allowed five earned runs while striking out three and walking five batters. This put the Bandits a game behind the Perth Heat for the final playoff spot in the ABL. But while Brisbane and Sydney sat out a rain delay on Sunday, Perth crushed the Melbourne Aces 11-1 to lay claim that spot.

Tuesday’s with Tom U

After the success of last week’s initial Tuesday’s with Tom U. chat, The CCO will be offering another chance for everyone to join in the discussion. Join us on Facebook tomorrow, January 29, from 7:00pm CST until 8:00pm CST (that’s from 2:00pm to 3:00pm GMT for our international followers) for another Q & A session.

Don’t Forget!

The CCO has a new Twitter feed dedicated to the Cubs minor league teams, prospects, and players @TheCCO_Minorsand now, minor league coverage has been included on the CCO’s Facebook page. Stay up to date with all minor league happenings by following Chicago Cubs Online on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Attention CCO Readers

The Down on the Farm reader’s poll continues this week. You can cast your votes on Twitter, Facebook, and the CCO. The leaders remained from last week, 3B Christian Villanueva and RHP Dillon Maples with RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua, 1B Dan Vogelbach, OF Jorge Soler, and RHP Pierce Johnson close behind.  Please post the names of the minor league players you would like the Down on the Farm Report to follow next season. The CCO will track the progress of ten players throughout the entire season. A representative sample of positions and levels of play is optimal. You can name as many players as you like, but remember, only ten will be chosen. So from Luis Acosta to Tony Zych, all nominations will be accepted and given equal weight. Once a list is compiled of the top 20 vote getters, a poll will be placed on the site to cut the list in half.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Ray Ray

    Hoyer didn’t seem too optimistic that a Soriano trade will happen before season. So…….Soriano DeJesus Schierholtz Hairston and Sappelt looks like the 5 to start season. That’s weak! Infield Stewart Castro Barney Rizzo with Valvuena and probably Clevenger as 3rd catcher and backup 1st baseman. Castillo at catcher with Navarro backing up. I hope Hoyer is wrong and is able to pull some late deals.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Love the name! Some people call me that too. Personally, I’m hoping Soriano’s gone before Opening Day. I’d like to see Bourn in center but I’m in the minority there. Garza will be elsewhere in 2014, Marmol too.

      • daverj

        Doesn’t it depend on what Bourn is looking for? It will cost the Cubs their second round pick (along with the draft dollar allocation for that pick) plus Bourn’s salary. At some dollar amount for Bourn it may be worth the cost, but if Bourn is looking for 5 years at $75 million, would you still want to sign him?

        • Raymond Robert Koenig

          You are right. I wouldn’t give Bourn more than 3 years at a reasonable average annual salary. The draft pick and slot money would not loom large in my eyes.

    • Brp921

      I’m not against trading Soriano if they can get the right Value for him, but if you think the outfield is weak now then wait till you take thirty home runs and a hundred RBI’s out of it.

    • daverj

      I actually think an outfield of Soriano in left, DeJesus/Sappelt platoon in center and Schierholtz/Hairston platoon in right will be moderately productive. Not a division winning outfield, but better than last season.

      Soriano will be with the Cubs on opening day. If he hits like he did last year (excluding April) and a contender needs a bat in July, then we may see a deal.

      • paulcatanese

        If Soriono produces as he did last year, I don’t think a deal is neccesary, the Cubs could not do much better, and then they only have one year left to think about moving him.

      • triple

        I agree, if Soriano stays healthy, he should be able to produce close to the same numbers as last year. And I think our OF defense is improved over last year as well. Maybe this is the year we start hitting the cutoff man! Yet doubtful with some of their arms.

        And I just think Bourn is too costly of a guy that I don’t think we want playing for us after another year or two. No way should a rebuilding team forfeit their 2nd round pick for a 30-something baseball player that is represented by Boras who will want big money over many years.

        • Brp921

          I agree, with the second pick being so high, and our need for pitching, we need to draft as many live arms as we can and hope some of them develope.

          • triple

            Exactly, and I totally understand why all the other teams that would actually have to forfeit their first round pick aren’t falling over him either! They really need to change this rule, because it really is unfair to both the players and the signing team. Although I’ll admit I’m enjoying it because it’s affecting Scott Boras’s business!

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I see Valbuena continuing to mash in winter ball. I wonder if it means anything. I would love to see that for the Cubs and say goodbye to Stewart’s wrist problems forever.

    • Bill jones

      Just like spring training. It means nothing.

      • paulcatanese

        Would not go as far as meaning nothing, as Stewart has not even swung a bat in competition yet,and the salary difference if Stewart makes the team would mean he would really have to perform, wearas Valbuena has so far.

      • John_CC

        You’re saying that performance in spring training doesn’t matter?

        • Bill jones

          I am saying stats don’t mean a whole lot in spring training. You face pitchers getting their work in. The curve doesn’t break as much in Arizona. It is not as accurate test on how the player will perform over a season.

  • calicub

    Hey neil, I’ve been having issues with the Disqus comments loading on my droid for this site but not others… Any ideas?

    • Neil

      Word Press did an upgrade that Disqus has not done yet. It should be worked out soon … sorry.

      • calicub

        thanks neil. I suppose can get my fix on my other devices for the time being.