Starlin Castro reports to the Dominican to play winter ball. Marcos Mateo sees lots of action on the hill. Catchers like Robinson Chirinos and Welington Castillo continue to take their off-season cuts. Jeff Gray makes an appearance in the VWL.
All that and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report! Venezuelan Winter League
Last Wednesday Zulia and La Guaira split a VWL double header. La Guaira took game one 5-4 in a game that took extra innings to complete (they played nine instead of the slated seven). Zulia bounced back with a 6-5 victory in the second game. Ty Wright came to the plate in the sixth inning of game one as a pinch hitter for Zulia. He lined out. In the second game Wright was the DH and went 1-for-2 with a single. He also walked and scored a run.
Caribes and Magallanes opened up their months of December with a pitchers’ duel on Wednesday. Magallanes came up just short as they were edged 2-1. Robinson Chirinos went 0-for-3 and saw his average decline to .261. Robinson had a strong day in the field as the only Caribies base runner who attempted to steal was gunned down. Click for full box score.
Zulia, whose coaching staff is filled with instructors from the Cubs system, fell to La Guaira again on Thursday. Ty Wright was called upon for a pinch-hit at-bat with his team trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning. The left hand hitting outfielder came through with an RBI single to make it a one run game, but Zulia couldn’t complete the comeback. Wright is now hitting .259 on the winter. Click for full box score.
Magallanes was blanked 6-0 in a rout at the hands of Caracas on Thursday. Robinson Chirinos had another hitless day. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout before departing midway through the contest. Click for full box score.
Aragua pounded Zulia on Friday by a score of 8-1. Marquez Smith, who started at third base, went 1-for-5 and scored a run. Aragua pounded out 12 hits and was aided by two Zulia errors. Click for full box score.
Jeff Gray, who the Cubs acquired from Oakland a year ago, has reported to Venezuela to pitch for Zulia. He pitched the top of the ninth inning in the club’s 7-4 loss to Aragua on Saturday. Gray worked a scoreless three up and three down and recorded two strikeouts. Click for full box score.
Dominican Winter League
Aguilas beat Toros last Tuesday by a score of 5-3. Nelson Perez came to the plate for Toros as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning and hit a sac fly. Former Cubs farmhand Al Alburquerque pitched for Aguilas and was charged with two runs in 0.2 innings. The Cubs traded the right- handed hurler to the Rockies for Jeff Baker in 2009. Click for full box score.
Starlin Castro joined Escogido in time for Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Gigantes. Castro had a rough DWL debut going 0-for-5, but he did score a run and record an RBI. Catcher Welington Castillo is also a member of the Escogido squad. He went 2-for-4 and drove in two in the win. Luke Sommer pitched 0.2 inning but did not allow a run to cross despite two hits. Click for full box score.
Licey came from behind to beat Estrallas 6-5 thanks to a late rally. Ex-Cub Jake Fox had a huge day for the victorious Licey team with three hits, two homers and four runs knocked in! Marcos Mateo worked an inning for Estrellas. He was charged with two runs on a walk and two hits. Click for full box score.
The Cubs starting shortstop picked up his first hit of the winter, an RBI single on Wednesday. Escogido dropped the game to Gigantes 8-6. In the bottom of the fourth Escogido plated a half a dozen, but Gigantes managed to squeak back into the game. Click for full box score.
Toros hammered Aguilas 10-1 in the first game of the month last Wednesday. Nelson Perez came on as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning for Toros. He reached on an error and was one of six men to cross the plate for his team in the frame. Click for full box score.
A day after having a subpar outing, Marcos Mateo bounced back with two solid innings of relief to earn the win in Estrellas’ 5-4 victory over Licey. Mateo improves to 2-0 with the victory. After he allowed just an unearned tally in the top of the eighth, Estrellas scored twice to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Click for full box score.
Aguilas scored a run in the top of the second inning on Thursday. That tally held up as they beat Escogido 1-0. Starlin Castro saw his DWL average drop to .091 with a hitless day. The base knock by Castillo was one of the only three hits for the team all day. Click for full box score.
Toros blanked Licey 6-0 on Thursday. Cubs catching prospects Welington Castillo continued his struggles, which have spanned most of the winter. He struck out in all three at-bats and saw his average dip to .167. Click for full box score.
Escogido topped Aguilas 5-4 on Friday thanks to a three-run fifth and solid bullpen work. Smokies’ lefty Luke Sommer was the first guy to come out of the ‘pen. He was handed a one-batter assignment and struck out the only man he faced, who was leading off the fifth inning. Starlin Castro went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in the win. Click for full box score.
Toros came from behind to beat Licey 5-3 on Friday. Brad Snyder, who recently re-signed with the organization, went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He hit sixth in the lineup and played right field. Snyder made a dandy defensive play when he staged a pop-up and then doubled the runner off first base. Click for full box score.
Gigantes beat Estreallas in a wild 11-inning affair that concluded by the final of 10-9. Estrellas lost despite scoring seven times in the first inning. Gigantes scored in the ninth to tie it and take the game to bonus baseball. They scored twice in the top of the 12th, and Estreallas’ response of one run was not enough. There were a total of 30 hits in the game. Macros Mateo went 1.1 innings without allowing a hit or a run. He walked one and struck out a man. Click for full box score.
The second end of the double header also took extra inning to complete. Estrellas came away with a 3-2 win in ten in that one. Bryan LaHair went 1-for-4 with a single in his DWL debut. He started at first base and hit sixth in the lineup. Marcos Mateo worked another 1.1 innings and did not allow a run. Click for full box score.
Rule V Draft
Major League Baseball will hold its 2010 Rule Five Draft on Thursday at the Winter Meetings in Florida. There is a long list of Cubs prospects left unprotected that are up for grabs in the draft. Among them are James Adduci, Matt Camp, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Steve Clevenger, Angel Guzman, Marco Carrillo, Hung-Wen Chen, Marwin Gonzalez, J.R. Mathes, Scott Moore, David Patton, Blake Parker, Jeremy Papelbon, Marquez Smith, Bobby Scales, Scott Rice, Mike Parisi, Craig Muschko, Ty Wright, Luke Sommer, Brad Snyder and Matt Spencer. It will be interesting to see if anyone is drafted.
The Cubs will have the ninth pick if they choose to take it. Their last two Rule V Draft picks (David Patton and Mike Parisi) have been busts. Any player selected in the big league portion of the draft must be kept on the new club’s 25-man roster for all of 2011 or else he will be offered back to his old club.
Note from Brandon
I want to let all of the great readers here on the CCO know that this will be my last Down on the Farm Report. Because of other commitments in the New Year, I will no longer be available to put together these reports. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing on this site and reading the responses that you provide in the comments. I want to give Neil a big thank you for giving me this opportunity and for running such a great website. I will continue to visit the site daily! Thank you for reading!
Go Cubs Go!!!
RIP Ron Santo, the world’s greatest Cubs fan. You are missed.