Four weeks after the first winter leagues began, we now have all leagues in play with the opening of the Roberto Clemente League and the Australian Baseball League this past week. With new leagues, more Cubs’ prospects started making appearances on rosters such as Javier Baez, Neil Ramirez, John Andreoli, and Jonathan Mota in Puerto Rico while Marco Hernandez popped up in the Dominican Republic.
In the Arizona Fall League, Bijan Rademacher continues to make a name for himself while C.J. Edwards was lights-out in the Fall Stars Game.
For all the details, check out today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Coverage of the winter leagues run from Sunday to Saturday.
Arizona Fall League
It was a baseball rarity on Monday as the game between the Mesa Solar Sox and first place Salt River was called after 11 innings in a 3-3 tie. C.J. Edwards started and pitched three innings of no-hit ball, striking out a batter. Outfielder Jacob Hannemann tried to be a catalyst from his number two spot in the order. Hannemann went 3-for-6 with two triples and a run scored. First baseman Dan Vogelbach was 2-for-5.
A real pitcher’s duel went against Mesa on Tuesday as the Solar Sox lost 2-1 to Peoria. Ivan Pineyro started for the Solar Sox but was removed after facing three batters due to an injury. Pineyro had a strikeout in 0.2 innings. Gerardo Concepcion took over in the fourth inning. Concepcion pitched two innings and allowed an unearned run on his throwing error while striking out a batter. Dan Vogelbach entered the game in the third inning as a pinch-hitter and was 0-for-2 with a walk.
The Solar Sox finally got on the winning side of the ledger Wednesday and beat Scottsdale 7-5. Outfielder Bijan Rademacher had his first hitless game. Rademacher went 0-for-4 but nailed Scorpions’ third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. at second base with an outfield assist. First baseman Dan Vogelbach went 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Mesa had the tables turned on them Thursday and lost 7-5 to Scottsdale. Outfielder Jacob Hannemann had one of his best games of the fall. Hannemann was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI while erasing Scorpions speedster Roman Quinn at second with an outfield assist. Reliever Zach Cates was torched for four earned runs on a walk and four hits, including a home run, in an inning of work.
The Solar Sox ended the week back on the winning track as Mesa beat Glendale 5-2 on Friday. Once again, the story for Cubs’ prospects was Bijan Rademacher. Batting second in the line-up, Rademacher went 1-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Friday also marked the debut of infielder Danny Lockhart, who replaced infielder Addison Russell on the Mesa roster. Lockhart was 2-for-4 with an RBI while playing second base. First baseman Dan Vogelbach was 0-for-1 but had four walks.
The dominant pitching of the East squad was on display on Saturday night as the game’s best prospects got together for the AFL Fall Stars Game with the East winning 6-2. Cubs’ RHP C.J. Edwards had an electric outing in relief after giving up a leadoff single. Displaying an explosive fastball and hard-biting slider, Edwards showed pinpoint control in throwing 10 strikes in 13 pitches, including strikeouts of Rays’ first baseman Patrick Leonard and Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Dominican Winter League
The contest was never in doubt last Sunday as Cibaenas defeated Licey 6-1. Frank Batista followed up a surprising start with another strong effort as he allowed an earned run on seven hits and a walk, while striking out three in 4.2 innings.
A back-and-forth game Thursday saw the Aguilas on the losing end as they fell to Licey 7-6. Manny Ramirez took a turn at designated hitter and was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Eagles saw a close game broken wide open in the fifth inning of Friday’s game as they lost 10-5 to Cibao. Manny Ramirez was once again the DH and went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Cibaenas was not able to keep pace with Este on Saturday at lost 11-7. Designated hitter Manny Ramirez contributed with a 1-for-3 performance that included a walk, a run scored and an RBI.
Toros del Este
With a run in the top of the ninth, Este edged past Escogido 4-3 last Sunday. Reliever Alberto Cabrera contributed a small part by helping the team out of a jam in the seventh inning.
On Wednesday, Toros managed only one run as they lost to Cibaenas 4-1. Jeffry Antigua relieved starter Claudio Vargas and was nicked for an unearned run in an inning of work.
The bulls had their offense working overtime on Saturday in an 11-7 defeat over Cibaenas. Alberto Cabrera helped Este overcome some early pitching woes by tossing a scoreless fourth inning.
Estrellas de Oriente
It wasn’t as close as the score made it appear on Monday as Oriente defeated Cibao 3-1. Outfielder Junior Lake had a big night. Lake went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. Reliever Marcos Mateo nailed down his third save in the ninth with two strikeouts.
On Wednesday, Estrellas scored four runs in the sixth inning but it wasn’t enough as they lost 6-4 to Escogido. Junior Lake went 0-for-3 but drove in a run.
The Eastern Stars fell apart in the late innings on Friday with an 11-4 loss to Este. Junior Lake was 1-for-5 in the contest.
Oriente broke open a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with three runs and defeated Escogido 5-2 on Saturday. Junior Lake was given an intentional pass in the seventh and wound up scoring on a three-run double. Lake ended up 0-for-3 on the night. Marcos Mateo worked around a walk to strike out the side in the ninth and collected his fifth save.
Leones del Escogido
Escogido was unable to hold Oriente back Saturday and lost 5-2. Iowa swingman Carlos Pimentel pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Pimentel allowed a hit and a walk while striking out a batter.
Tigres del Licey
Licey was not able to generate any runs after the second inning Wednesday and lost 4-2 to Cibao. Daytona shortstop Marco Hernandez was 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
The Tigers traded runs with Cibaenas on Thursday but scored the one that counted in the bottom of the ninth as they won 7-6. Playing second base, Marco Hernandez had a huge night and went 2-for-3 with a walk, a triple, an RBI, and a stolen base.
El Tigres roll continued Friday with a 6-3 victory over Escogido. Marco Hernandez played both short and second base and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
It was a romp for Obregon last Sunday as they crushed Los Mochis 12-1. Christian Villanueva remained at designated hitter and went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI in the game.
The Yaquis couldn’t leave anything to chance on Monday as they traded run for run with Jalisco before coming out on top 5-4. Christian Villanueva lined up again at DH and was 1-for-4.
It was one of those games you would like to forget about on Wednesday as the Tribe was blown out 11-4 by Jalisco. Christian Villanueva continues as the Yaquis’ designated hitter and was 1-for-4 in the game.
Obregon edged Navojoa on Friday with a 3-2 win. Designated hitter Christian Villanueva was 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Senadores de San Juan
Saturday saw the debut of two more Cubs’ prospects this winter as San Juan lost 6-3 to Santurce. Tennessee outfielder John Andreoli was back in action after missing most of the season with injuries and showed his rust as he went 0-for-5 in the leadoff spot. Infielder Jonathan Mota was at third base and was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Venezuelan Winter League
Cardenales de Lara
Lara could not keep pace last Sunday as they lost to Anzoategui. Starter Eduardo Figueroa has had a rough start to his winter as he allowed two earned runs on three hits and a walk while striking out three in three innings.
The offense could not break through and the bullpen could not hold for the Cardinals on Saturday as they lost 2-1 to Zulia in 12 innings. Eduardo Figueroa had his best start of the winter. Figueroa struck out six and allowed four hits with three walks in five scoreless innings.
Leones del Caracas
Caracas had trouble finding its offense last Sunday in 2-0 loss to Zulia. Reliever Loiger Padron remains unscored upon in 7.1 innings as he tossed 1.2 innings and recorded a strikeout.
A late inning comeback attempt fell short Friday as the Leones lost 8-7 to Zulia. The scoreless streak for Loiger Padron ended and he was roughed up for four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk while striking out a batter in 1.1 innings.
Tigres de Aragua
Aragua pitching was not able to hold back Lara Friday as they lost 6-5. Willson Contreras continued to make an impact in every game he plays in. Contreras went 1-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
News and Notes
The Cubs granted free agency to OF Ryan Kalish.
Former Cubs’ pitching prospect Ryan Searle (2008-2014) struck out 12 and gave up two solo home runs in 7.1 innings for his Australian Baseball League debut as Brisbane edged Adelaide 6-5 on Saturday.
Former Cubs’ infield prospect Jake Opitz (2008-2011) is currently hitting .281 with three RBI in nine games for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League.