The list of Cubs’ prospects and players participating in the winter leagues grew last week. Counting the recently completed Arizona Fall League, the Cubs now have 43 players participating in winter ball. Pitchers Rafael Dolis and Ryan Searle, catcher Neftali Rosario and recently signed Johermyn Chavez and Alberto Gonzalez were added to rosters over the last seven days.
Infielder Luis Valbuena and right-handed pitcher Esmailin Caridad had a good week as both players picked up their game in the hopes of impressing the parent club. While in the Dominican Republic, infielder Diory Hernandez perked up at the plate as he is playing for a new contract.
To see how everything unfolded … take a peek inside this week’s report. Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Dominican Winter League
Michael Bowden was a hard-luck loser for the Eagles on Wednesday. Bowden allowed two runs and struck out two over five innings in a 2-1 loss to Este.
Toros del Este
It was a full week for the Toros and they started things out on Monday with a 6-5 win over Licey. Reliever Jeffry Antigua allowed an earned run in 0.2 innings, while Diory Hernandez was 0-for-2.
Horacio Ramirez’s turn in the rotation came up on Tuesday and the lefty allowed three earned runs while walking three and striking out three in four innings as Este lost 7-5 to Escogido. Alberto Cabrera relieved Ramirez and struck out four in two scoreless innings. Diory Hernandez went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Diory Hernandez continued to show some life at the plate on Wednesday. Hernandez went 1-for-4 in a 2-1 win over Cibaenas.
No one in the Cubs system played again until Friday when Diory Hernandez exploded with a 4-for-5 effort that included a double and three runs scored as the Bulls thumped Estrellas 7-3. Jeffry Antigua gave up an earned run in an inning of work.
The week ended on a down note for Este as they lost 2-0 to Cibaenas on Saturday. Diory Hernandez went 1-for-3 in the loss.
Tigres del Licey
Again, it was mainly pinch running appearances for Arismendy Alcantara last week as he scored a run in Monday’s 6-5 loss to Este. Alcantara stayed in on Wednesday and played second base after being called on to pinch run. Alcantara went 0-for-1 in his lone at bat as the Tigers lost 4-3 to Cibao in ten innings.
Estrellas de Oriente
Oriente had a tough time this past week and were able to scratch out only two wins. Things started well for Junior Lake on Monday as he was 3-for-4 with his sixth stolen base and scored the Stars’ only run in a 6-1 loss to Cibao. Nelson Perez (0-for-1) was called on in a pinch-hitting role and went hitless in his only plate appearance.
However, Nelson Perez contributed in a big way on Tuesday. Perez went 1-for-4 and walked four times as Estrellas edged out Cibao 4-3 in ten innings. Junior Lake (1-for-7) drove in a run in the victory.
Oriente did not play any of the Cubs prospects again until Friday. Rafael Dolis joined the squad as the Stars lost 7-3 to Escogido. Dolis walked a batter over a scoreless inning of work while Junior Lake went 1-for-4 with a double. Nelson Perez (0-for-1) was used as a pinch hitter again.
Nelson Perez demonstrated some previously unseen plate discipline on Saturday. Perez (0-for-2) walked and scored a run in a 4-3 win over Escogido to close out the week. The game was significant for Junior Lake (0-for-3 with a walk) as he saw his first action this winter in left field.
Mexican Pacific League
Venados de Mazatlan
Iowa starter Jay Jackson made two appearances this past week. Jackson tossed tossing two innings while striking out two as the Stags defeated Novajoa 2-1.
Jay Jackson took the mound again on Saturday but allowed three earned runs over five innings as Mazatlan lost 4-2 to Obregon. Jackson walked one and struck out two batters.
Yaquis de Obregon
Obregon finished off the first half of the season with a flurry and came within one game of league leading Culiacan … and opened the second half with seven straight wins. Helping the cause has been reliever Esmailin Caridad, who has been absolutely airtight in the bullpen.
The week started for the Tribe with a 6-3 win over Hermosillo on Sunday. Shortstop Alfredo Amezaga was 2-for-5 with a run scored, while Esmailin Caridad struck out two in a scoreless inning of work in route to his seventh hold.
Yaquis opened a three games series with the Canaries of Los Mochis on Tuesday and shut them out 3-0. Alfredo Amezaga (0-for-4) began what would be a prolonged slump. Esmailin Caridad walked a batter but did not allow any runs in his inning of work. Caridad picked up his eighth hold of the winter in the win.
Game two on Wednesday saw Alfredo Amezaga walk and score a run, but he almost give the game away. Amezaga committed two errors and finished 0-for-3 at the plate in a 4-2 win over Los Mochis. Esmailin Caridad continued his successful run while showing that he can be a workhorse. Caridad struck out two and walked a batter in his third straight appearance of the week. Caridad held the Birds scoreless for an inning and earned his ninth hold.
Esmailin Caridad was in a different role on Thursday as he closed things out in a series sweep over Los Mochis as Yaquis posted a 3-1 victory. Caridad struck out the first batter he faced then gave up a single but earned his first save by inducing a game-ending double play. Cardidad deflected the single past a diving Christian Villanueva (0-for-1), who entered the game as a pinch hitter. Alfredo Amezaga broke out of his slump by going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
It took ten innings to preserve their win streak on Friday as the Yaquis edged out Mazatlan 6-5. Christian Villanueva (0-for-2) worked two walks and scored a run. Alfredo Amezaga (0-for-2) pinch hit for Villanueva and stayed in the game at shortstop but went hitless in his two at bats.
The week ended Saturday with the Tribe taking the series over Mazatlan with a 4-2 victory. Alfredo Amezaga (0-for-5) continued his struggles while Esmailin Caridad was back in his set-up role. Caridad struck out a batter in a scoreless inning and picked up his tenth hold.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Atenienses de Manati
It was a quiet week for Edwin Maysonet. The shortstop went 1-for-3 with a double on Saturday as the Athenians defeated Carolina 5-4.
Indios de Mayaguez
Catcher Rafael Lopez did not see much action this week. Lopez went 1-for-3 in a 7-1 loss to Manati on Sunday. Lopez’s next appearance was not until on Saturday. Lopez came in on defense as the Indians lost 10-1 to Caguas.
Venezuelan Winter League
Bravos de Margarita
It was a tough week for Dave Sappelt and the Braves as they managed only two wins in five games. Sappelt started the week by going 0-for-4 in a 5-1 loss to Magallanes on Sunday. However, Margarita broke out the bats on Tuesday and Dave Sappelt (1-for-5 with two RBI) bashed his first home run as they thrashed Magallanes 12-2.
The Bravos then lost the rubber game on Wednesday 6-3 to Magallanes. Dave Sappelt went 2-for-4 with a run scored and his second stolen base. Sappelt ended up struggling after his two-hit performance and went 0-for-4 in a 6-5 loss to Aragua on Thursday. Sappelt followed his Thursday 0-for with a 0-for-6 performance on Friday as the Braves beat Aragua 2-1 in ten innings. Sappelt then went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored on Saturday as Margarita beat Caracas 9-4.
Cardenales de Lara
Lara struggled as a team last week but Luis Valbuena continued to hit the ball with authority for the Cardinals. Valbuena went 0-for-4 last Sunday as Aragua shutout the Redbirds 5-0. Valbuena bounced back at the plate on Tuesday as he was 2-for-5 with a double but Lara dropped their second straight, a 6-5 defeat at the hands of Caracas.
Luis Valbuena lit up the scoreboard on Thursday as he was 3-for-3 with a double, two home runs, a walk, and five RBI. Valbuena was a one man wrecking crew in an 8-1 defeat over La Guaira.
Luis Valbuena ended the week with a pair of 1-for-4 games as the Cardinals beat Magallanes 5-2 on Friday.
Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) doubled and drove in a run on Saturday as Lara lost 5-2 to Aragua.
Caribes de Anzoategui
Recently signed outfielder Johermyn Chavez went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored on Friday as the Caribes defeated Caracas 8-2.
Tigres de Aragua
It was a tale of two different weeks for outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha. Ha had a big game in Sunday’s 5-0 win over Lara. Ha went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and his sixth stolen base.
It was Jae-Hoon Ha’s defense that shined on Tuesday as he threw out two runners and went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored at the plate.
However, that would be it for Jae-Hoon Ha as he posted consecutive 0-for-4 games on Friday and Saturday as the Tigers lost 2-1 in ten innings to Margarita but beat Lara 5-2 to end the week.
Leones de Caracas
It was an interesting week for the Lions and their Cubs prospects as Yoanner Negrin began the week by allowing five earned runs in six innings in a 6-5 victory over Anzoategui. Negrin ended up walking one and striking out two batters. Josh Vitters went 0-for-4 in the game.
Catcher J.C. Boscan went 0-for-4 on Monday in Caracas’ 7-5 win over Magallanes.
Tony Campana was 0-for-4 on Tuesday as Leones lost 6-5 to Lara. Campana bounced back on Wednesday with a 1-for-4 performance that included a double, a walk and his second stolen base in the Pride’s 3-2 victory over Anzoategui. J.C. Boscan was 0-for-4 in the contest.
Both J.C. Boscan (0-for-2) and Tony Campana (0-for-4) went hitless on Thursday as the Lions lost 8-1 to Anzoategui. Campana was 1-for-3 with a walk in another loss on Friday, 6-2 to Anzoategui. The week ended with a 9-4 loss to Margarita on Saturday as Boscan was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Tiburones de La Guaira
It wasn’t a good start to the week for Eduardo Figueroa as the starter gave up four earned runs in 1.1 innings last Sunday in a 9-7 loss to Zulia.
Australian Baseball League
Play began in the ABL on November 1 but pitcher Ryan Searle (Tennessee, Daytona) was not activated until this past week. In the second game of a scheduled doubleheader on Saturday, Searle pitched the final four innings and collected his first victory of the winter. Searle allowed an earned run and struck out three in a 7-3 win over Adelaide.
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