Arizona Fall League MVP Kris Bryant and the Mesa Solar Sox could not seal the deal as they lost in the championship on Saturday. Meanwhile, winter baseball is heating up as reliever Marcus Hatley is on a roll in Mexico and Junior Lake remains hot in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs also added two more to winter rosters as Luis Valbuena and Walter Ibarra began their seasons.
Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Arizona Fall League
Mesa Solar Sox
Mesa started the week out well last Monday as they shut out Peoria 4-0. Dallas Beeler took the hill as the starter and fired five scoreless innings. Beeler scattered five hits and struck out two batters. Kris Bryant smacked two doubles as he was 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Albert Almora went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
It was two wins in a row for the Solar Sox on Tuesday as they defeated Peoria 8-1. Batting second and playing centerfield, Albert Almora was 1-for-4 with an RBI, while Jorge Soler was in right field and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Kris Bryant played third and was 1-for-4. Lendy Castillo was “effectively wild” as he allowed an unearned run, walked three, and struck out a batter in one inning of work.
Mesa made it three straight wins on Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over Glendale. Matt Loosen got the start and allowed two hits with three walks and one strikeout over two scoreless innings. Jorge Soler was the DH and went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Albert Almora was 1-for-4 in centerfield, and made a highlight reel catch. Wes Darvill was 0-for-3 in left field.
Mesa secured their place in the finals and the best record in the Arizona Fall League by defeating Glendale 9-3 on Thursday. Jorge Soler was 2-for-5 with a run scored, while Kris Bryant went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Albert Almora was 0-1 before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.
After leading the Arizona Fall League from wire-to-wire, the Mesa Solar Sox fell to Surprise 2-0 in the championship on Saturday. Dallas Beeler got the start for the Sox and went five innings. Beeler allowed an earned run and struck out five batters. Kris Bryant started at third and was 0-for-4 while Jorge Soler was in right field as went 0-for-3. Bryant was named the AFL’s Most Valuable Player prior to the game. Bryant hit .364 with 17 RBI and three stolen bases. Bryant led the league in home runs with six, slugging at .727, and with an OPS of 1.184.
Dominican Winter League
Reliever Frank Batista was able to mop up on Monday as Cibaenas defeated Cibao 8-1. Batista notched a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
Frank Batista ended up with a blown save on Wednesday as he allowed an inherited runner to score in the tenth inning of Eagles’ 5-4 loss to Oriente.
Tigres del Licey
Although Licey won 3-1 over Cibaenas on Sunday, Julio Borbon went 0-for-3 while starting in left field.
Arismendy Alcantara was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday as the Tigers lost 3-2 to Este.
On Friday, the Stripes jumped out ahead and coasted to a 6-2 victory over Oriente. Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Julio Borbon went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
Both Arismendy Alcantara and Julio Borbon were each 0-for-3 as Licey was shut out 5-0 by Escogido on Saturday.
Estrellas de Oriente
It was a blown save for Marcos Mateo last Sunday, but he ended up being credited with the victory as Orient defeated Cibao 5-1. Mateo allowed an earned run on a hit and a walk, while he struck out a batter in an inning of work. Junior Lake scored two runs as he was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Junior Lake lined up in centerfield and went 2-for-4 with a RBI as the Eastern Stars lost 3-2 to Este on Tuesday.
It was another big game for Junior Lake on Wednesday as he was 3-for-5 with a home run in the Stars’ 5-4 victory over Cibaenas in ten innings.
Friday saw Junior Lake go 2-for-4 in Oriente’s 6-2 loss to Licey.
The Eastern Stars lost 6-4 on Saturday as Junior Lake was 1-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases.
Mexican Pacific League
Tomateros de Culiacan
Last Sunday, Marcus Hatley mopped up as Culiacan defeated Mexicali 7-2. Hatley allowed a walk in a scoreless inning.
It was only 0.2 innings but it was all the Tomaterosneeded out of Marcus Hatley as they held on to a 1-0 victory over Navojoa on Tuesday. Hatley even his record at 1-1 after he picked up the final two outs.
Marcus Hatley picked up his fifth save the hard way as the Tomato Pickers beat Navojoa 6-4 on Thursday. Hatley pitched the ninth, notched a strikeout and allowed an earned run on a solo homer.
Reliever Marcus Hatley is emerging as one of the best closers in the MPL as he recorded his sixth save in Culiacan’s 5-3 victory over Guasave on Friday. Hatley worked around a walk by striking out two batters in a scoreless ninth.
Venados de Mazatlan
Newly signed infielder Walter Ibarra was 0-for-2 on Saturday as Mazatlan lost 6-2 to Mexicali.
Yaquis de Obregon
Christian Villanueva started off the week by going 0-for-2 with a walk as Obregon lost 3-0 to Navojoa last Sunday.
On Tuesday, Christian Villanueva broke out of his slump in a big way as the Yaquis beat Mexicali 7-4. Villanueva was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run.
Although it was another defeat for the Tribe on Wednesday, Christian Villanueva looks as if he is back on track. Villanueva went 1-for-3 with a walk in a 6-3 loss to Mexicali.
Once again, Obregon could not muster enough runs on Thursday as they lost to Mexicali 6-5. Christian Villanueva was 1-for-4 in the contest.
Christian Villanueva was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter on Friday as the Yaquis lost 4-3 to Hermosillo.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Criollos de Caguas
It was a rude welcome in the first appearance for Daniel Bard this winter. Bard allowed three runs (two earned) and walked three in only 0.1 innings as Caguas defeated Ponce 6-5 in 13 innings on Wednesday.
The struggles for Daniel Bard continued on Saturday as he allowed three earned runs on five walks and failed to get an out as the Creoles beat up on Carolina 22-9.
Leones de Ponce
Jonathan Mota broke out offensively on Monday as Ponce defeated Santurce 7-3. Mota went 2-for-5 with an RBI.
The Lions took it on the chin on Tuesday as they lost 6-2 to Carolina. Jonathan Mota was 1-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a walk and run scored.
On Wednesday, Jonathan Mota went 0-for-3 with two walks. Mota played both third and first base in the Pride’s 6-5 loss to Caguas in 13 innings.
Jonathan Mota contributed a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored while going 1-for-3 on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough as Ponce lost 5-4 to Santurce.
Ponce ended the week beating Mayaguez 5-1. Jonathan Mota was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Monday saw Edwin Maysonet go 2-for-4 for Santurce as they lost 7-3 to Ponce.
The Cangrejeros dropped their second game in a row on Tuesday as they lost 6-3 to Caguas. Edwin Maysonet went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the loss.
It was a night that Edwin Maysonet might like to forget as he went 0-for-5 on Wednesday in the Crabmen’s 4-2 loss to Mayaguez.
Edwin Maysonet bounced back with a 2-for-4 performance on Thursday as Santurce beat Ponce 5-4.
The hot bat of Edwin Maysonet still could not lift the Cangrejeros on Friday as they lost 5-2 to Mayaguez. Maysonet went 3-for-5 with a double in the contest.
Venezuelan Winter League
Tigres de Aragua
Eduardo Sanchez was able to hold Lara in check with a strikeout in a scoreless eighth inning as Aragua lost 5-3 on Thursday.
Leones de Caracas
Yoanner Negrin was roughed up again last Sunday as Caracas lost 6-2 to Magallanes. Negrin allowed five earned runs and struck out four in five innings of work.
Despite giving up two earned runs on Wednesday, Hector Rondon still got credit for the win as the Lions defeated Lara 7-6 in ten innings. Rondon pitched the top of the tenth and gave up the two runs on three hits with a strikeout, and was bailed out by Caracas’ offense.
Yoanner Negrin got his game back on track on Saturday in the Pride’s 6-1 defeat over Lara. Negrin pitched 5.1 scoreless innings and allowed five hits and a walk while striking out four batters. Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Bravos de Margarita
Frank Del Valle made his second start on Saturday and was on top of his game in Margarita’s 4-1 victory over Magallanes. Del Valle pitched 5.1 scoreless innings and surrendered a hit and two walks with seven strikeouts.
Cardenales de Lara
Chicago infielder Luis Valbuena made his winter debut on Thursday and went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored while playing second base for Lara in their 5-3 win over Aragua.
In a 13 inning marathon on Friday, the Cardinals lost to La Guaira 13-12. Luis Valbuena went 2-for-6 with a walk and a run scored.
The Redbirds could not keep up with Caracas on Saturday as they lost 6-1. Luis Valbuena went 0-for-4 in the contest.
Aguilas del Zulia
Zulia started the week out right as they edged Anzoategui 6-5 last Sunday. Yeiper Castillo pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out two batters in route to his second hold of the winter.
It wasn’t one of the best outings for Yeiper Castillo on Wednesday as he allowed two earned runs on three hits in 0.1 innings as the Eagles lost 6-5 to Margarita.
Although Yeiper Castillo blew a save on Thursday, the Raptors were able to hang on and beat Caracas 2-1 in ten innings. Castillo allowed an earned run on three hits and a walk while striking out four batters in 2.1 innings.
News and Notes
The Cubs signed SS/2B Walter Ibarra to a minor league contract.