With the beginning of the Australian Baseball League on Thursday and the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico in Friday, all leagues are now in play for the winter. Top young stars such as Junior Lake and Rubi Silva made their winter debuts, while Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora participated in the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game. Plus, Javier Baez was added to the Leones roster of the Roberto Clemente League.
Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Arizona Fall League
Mesa Solar Sox
If Mesa had more offense on Monday the outcome might have been better than a 3-2 loss to Salt River. Armando Rivero still had his troubles on the mound and allowed an earned run on two hits with a walk in an inning of work that allowed the Rafters to take a 3-0 lead. But Kris Bryant brought the Solar Sox close with a two-run homer as he was 1-for-3 on the day. Jorge Soler extended his hit streak to eleven games with a 1-for-3 effort, while Albert Almora had no official at bat as a pinch-runner for Soler.
Third baseman Kris Bryant continued his offensive rampage on Tuesday, but Mesa lost 7-3 to Salt River. Bryant was only 1-for-5, but he did hit his AFL leading sixth home run which resulted in his 17th RBI of the fall. Jorge Soler had his hitting streak snapped as he went 0-for-4. Lendy Castillo couldn’t find the plate. Castillo issued three walks, gave up a hit, an earned run, and a strikeout in 0.1 innings.
Mesa returned to their winning ways on Wednesday as they shut out Scottsdale 7-0. Dallas Beeler was the big story as the starter pitched four scoreless innings while allowing only two hits and striking out a batter. Wes Darvill was the only Cubs’ position player to see action. Darvill went 1-for-5 with two runs scored playing third base for the Solar Sox.
The Solar Sox made it two wins in a row on Thursday as they beat Scottsdale 7-3. Jorge Soler went 1-for-3 with a walk and drove in a run. Kris Bryant scored two runs and went 1-for-4 with a walk, but Albert Almora was 0-for-4. Armando Rivero was able to get his game back on track. Rivero struck out two in a scoreless inning of relief.
The Solar Sox battled back on Friday before they fell 5-4 to Peoria. Albert Almora was back in full swing as he went 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and a walk. Almora’s triple came in the ninth with one out but he was left on third representing the tying run when the game ended. Wes Darvill started at third and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Lendy Castillo added a scoreless inning in relief.
It was All-Star time in the AFL on Saturday as the East fell to the West 9-2. Kris Bryant started at third and batted third for the East. Bryant went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two errors, while Jorge Soler hit seventh and started in right field. Soler went 1-for-1 with a walk. Albert Almora took over for Soler in the sixth inning and was 0-for-2.
Dominican Winter League
Toros del Este
It wasn’t a good start of the week for the Bulls as they lost 7-0 to Licey. Reliever Jeffry Antigua allowed two runs (one earned) on a walk and two hits while striking out two in an inning of work.
Jeffry Antigua finished off his week on a positive note. Antigua struck out a batter in 0.1 innings in Este’s 5-2 win over Licey on Saturday.
Tigres del Licey
It was a romp for the Tigers on Sunday as they shut out Este 7-0. Arismendy Alcantara hit leadoff and went 1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Centerfielder Julio Borbon was 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Arismendy Alcantara saw his next action as a pinch-runner in Licey’s 5-2 loss to Este on Saturday. Julio Borbon was a late inning defensive replacement in centerfield.
Estrellas de Oriente
On Wednesday, Marcos Mateo was able to eat up some innings for the Eastern Stars as they lost 6-5 to Escogido. Mateo surrendered only two walks to go along with a strikeout in 2.1 scoreless innings.
Oriente was able to hold onto a 5-3 victory over Este on Friday thanks to Marcos Mateo. The Iowa reliever notched a strikeout in a scoreless ninth and recorded his third save of the winter.
Junior Lake made his season debut for the Stars on Saturday. Lake was 2-for-4 with a stolen base while playing left field as Oriente lost 4-2 to Cibaenas.
Mexican Pacific League
Tomateros de Culiacan
It was save number four for Marcus Hatley on Wednesday as he slammed the door in the Pickers’ 2-1 victory over Obregon. Hatley picked up two strikeouts while working around two walks and a hit in a scoreless ninth.
Marcus Hatley was able to get some good work in on Friday in Culiacan’s 7-2 win over Mazatlan. The Iowa right-hander struck out two batters in the ninth inning.
Yaquis de Obregon
Third baseman Christian Villanueva continued to excel as Obregon lost 7-3 to Mazatlan on Sunday. Villanueva was 2-for-4 in the contest.
Christian Villanueva remained hot at the plate on Tuesday. Villanueva went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored in Obregon’s 3-2 victory over Culiacan.
Christian Villanueva tried to do his part on Wednesday. Villanueva collected one of the Yaquis’ seven hits as they lost 2-1 to Culiacan. Villanueva was 1-for-4 with a double.
The Tribe was finally able to solve Culiacan on Thursday as they scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 8-7. Christian Villanueva was 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in the victory.
Obregon was able to outlast league leading Hermosillo on Friday with a 4-3 victory. Unfortunately, Christian Villanueva wasn’t able to contribute as he went 0-for-4 in the game.
Christian Villanueva went 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday in the Yaquis’ 5-2 loss to Hermosillo.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Leones de Ponce
It was a successful opening night for the Lions on Friday as they defeated Mayaguez 9-3. Tennessee outfielder Rubi Silva opened in left field and went 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored. Tennessee utility man Jonathan Mota lined up at third base and was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Jonathan Mota was 1-for-3 with a walk while Rubi Silva went 0-for-4 as Ponce lost 4-1 to Carolina on Saturday.
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Iowa infielder Edwin Maysonet was 1-for-3 with a walk as the Crabmen defeated Caguas 1-0 on Saturday.
Venezuelan Winter League
Tigres de Aragua
Kane County catcher Willson Contreras was 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday in the Tigers’ 8-2 loss to Zulia. Iowa reliever Eduardo Sanchez also saw some action. Sanchez struck out a batter in 0.2 scoreless innings.
Leones de Caracas
Reliever Hector Rondon started his week out right by being the winning pitcher in the Lions 5-3 win over Zulia last Sunday. Rondon worked around a hit and notched a strikeout in a scoreless inning.
Loiger Padron could not bail out his starter on Tuesday as Caracas lost 5-2 to Magallanes. After giving up four runs, Padron relieved the Lions’ starter and allowed an earned run while striking out two batters in 1.1 innings.
It was a fine effort for Yoanner Negrin on Thursday in the Pride’s 6-4 win over La Guaira. Negrin allowed two earned runs on three hits while striking out two in 6.1 innings.
Bravos de Margarita
Frank Del Valle got in some work on Tuesday. Del Valle walked a batter and struck out a batter in 0.2 scoreless innings as the Braves lost 4-2 to Lara.
On Saturday, Margarita stretched out Frank Del Valle and gave him the start in their 7-5 win over La Guaira. Del Valle went three innings, allowed an earned run on four hits and three walks while striking out two batters.
Aguilas del Zulia
Yeiper Castillo came on in relief on Tuesday and picked up his first victory as the Eagles beat La Guaira 7-3. Castillo scattered five hits while allowing an earned run and striking out a batter in 2.1 innings.
Yeiper Castillo had one of his more shaky outings on Friday, but was able to get out of things unscathed as Zulia beat Aragua 9-2. Castillo gave up two walks and a hit, but also had a strikeout in a scoreless inning.
News and Notes
Infielder Elliot Soto, who played at Tennessee and was a part of Daytona’s Florida State League championship team, was suspended for 50 games for a second violation of the substance abuse policy.
The Cubs released RHP Juan Francisco and LHP David Villegas. The 23-year old Francisco was 0-1 in 12 relief appearances for the AZL Cubs with a 6.39 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP. Villegas, a 21-year old southpaw, was 0-4 in 15 games, one start, for the Rookie League Cubs with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.