The sun has set on another Arizona Fall League, with C.J. Edwards and Bijan Rademacher putting the exclamation points on their fine performances before the final out.
In the Dominican Republic, Manny Ramirez is on a hot streak and Frank Batista continues to impress. While in Puerto Rico, John Andreoli is starting to round into form. Christian Villanueva is figuring larger in his team’s plans in the Mexican Pacific League, and relievers Joseph Ortiz and Loiger Padron remain steady in Venezuela.
It’s all in the details, which are inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Coverage runs from Sunday to Saturday.
Arizona Fall League
The championship hopes of Mesa faded in the Arizona sunset on Monday as the Solar Sox lost 5-2 to Glendale. Outfielder Jacob Hannemann was a one man wrecking crew. Hannemann collected three of the Solar Sox four hits and went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
The Solar Sox were out of the mix for the championship, and Mesa also lost their grip on a winning record as they went down in defeat 5-1 to Surprise on Tuesday. Elevated to the leadoff spot, Jacob Hannemann went 0-for-4. Danny Lockhart (0-for-4) played shortstop and went hitless while Dan Vogelbach was 2-for-4 in the loss.
It was a big day for Cubs’ prospects Wednesday as Mesa came out on top of Peoria 6-5 in 10 innings. The story of the game was Bijan Rademacher, who gave the Solar Sox the lead with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and a game-tying RBI in the ninth. For the day, Rademacher was 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run, four RBI, and a run scored. Starter C.J. Edwards finished up an impressive fall by striking out two in three scoreless innings. Gerardo Concepcion was not as fortunate. Concepcion allowed two earned runs on two walks and three hits in an inning of work. Zach Cates worked through two hits for a scoreless inning.
It was a fitting end to the Arizona Fall League on Thursday as the game between Mesa and Glendale ended in a 4-4 tie after 11 innings. Ivan Pineyro relieved starter Sean Nolin and tossed two scoreless innings while striking out three batters. Dan Vogelbach capped off his season by going 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Danny Lockhart lined up at third base and demonstrated he belonged in Arizona as he went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Jacob Hannemann was 0-for-5 while Bijan Rademacher went 0-for-1 in a pinch-hitting appearance.
Dominican Winter League
Cibaenas needed all the runs they could get last Sunday as they got past Licey 7-5. Manny Ramirez provided most of the muscle with a two-run homer in the third inning. Ramirez ended up 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
The Eagles made it two in a row Monday by beating Licey 6-4. Manny Ramirez (1-for-3) continued to stay hot with his fourth home run, a three-run blast, that ignited a four-run comeback in the eighth inning.
The Aguilas were unable to overcome an early deficit on Tuesday and lost 8-5 to Este. Manny Ramirez continued to hit, going 1-for-4 in the game.
On Wednesday, Cibaenas got back on the winning path due to some excellent pitching as they beat Este 4-3. Frank Batista continued his strong winter by giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks as he struck out three in five innings. Batista picked up the win.
The Eagles came out on the wrong end of a slugfest on Friday and lost 9-8 to Cibao. Manny Ramirez was not able to help matters and finished the game 0-for-4 with a walk.
It was touch-and-go for the Aguilas on Saturday as they edged past Oriente 2-1 in 12 innings. Manny Ramirez played a big part as he scored the first run in the fifth inning and set up the winning run in the 12th with a single. For the game, Ramirez was 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Toros del Este
Este could not hold a lead last Sunday as they lost to Escogido 8-7. Jeffry Antigua relieved starter Claudio Vargas and allowed an earned run on three hits while striking out a batter in 0.2 innings. Alberto Cabrera entered in the seventh inning and held the Lions scoreless for 1.1 innings.
The Toros jumped out to an early lead on Tuesday and kept up the pressure in beating Cibaenas 8-5. Jeffry Antigua helped let the Eagles back in the game by giving up an earned run on three hits in 0.1 innings. But Alberto Cabrera was able to bail him out with 0.2 scoreless innings.
A come from behind bid for the Bulls fell short on Friday as they lost 4-3 to Oriente. Alberto Cabrera was on top of his game as he threw two perfect innings with a strikeout.
Estrellas de Oriente
Oriente just cannot seem to get any momentum going this season as they lost 5-4 to Cibao last Sunday. Junior Lake is also having a rough time. Lake went 0-for-3 but drew two walks in the loss.
Estrellas was able to bounce back on Monday and beat Cibao 8-6. Marcos Mateo collected his seventh save by striking out two in a scoreless ninth.
The Stars let Licey peck away at them Tuesday in a 4-1 loss. Junior Lake was called upon in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter and delivered a single.
The rollercoaster for Estrellas continued Wednesday as they beat Escogido 4-1. Junior Lake played a big part in the win. Lake went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and three stolen bases. Marcos Mateo nailed down his eighth save by striking out two in 1.1 scoreless innings.
The Eastern Stars were finally able to put two wins together on Thursday with a 4-2 victory over Escogido. Marcos Mateo had some trouble collecting his ninth save. Mateo yielded an unearned run on two hits in the process. Mateo struck out a batter in the ninth inning.
Oriente held on to a lead on Friday as they beat Este 4-3. Junior Lake provided the winning margin with a solo home run in the third inning. Lake went 2-for-4 with a home run.
The Stars went to-to-toe with Cibaenas on Saturday but lost 2-1 in 12 innings. Junior Lake kept Oriente’s hopes alive in the ninth inning by leading off with a double and scoring the tying run. Lake went 1-for-5 in the loss.
Leones del Escogido
A see-saw game last Sunday had Escogido battle back in the ninth inning to edge out Este 8-7. Carlos Pimentel was the winning pitcher after contributing 1.1 scoreless innings while allowing only a walk and a hit.
The Lions pitching could not hold back Oriente on Wednesday as they lost 4-1. Carlos Pimentel remained effective in a relief role as he struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings.
The Leones put on a late rush to defeat Cibao 13-7 on Saturday. Carlos Pimentel did his job and struck out the only batter he faced.
Tigres del Licey
Slow and steady won the day Tuesday as Licey kept chipping away at Oriente and won 4-1. Marco Hernandez entered the game in the sixth inning at shortstop and was 0-for-2.
The Tigers put together two in a row Wednesday with a 7-5 victory over Cibao. Marco Hernandez started at shortstop and had quite a game. Hernandez went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
It was a third straight win for the Tigres on Thursday with an 8-6 victory over Cibao. Marco Hernandez received his second straight start at shortstop and was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
Extra inning baseball on Friday put an end to Licey’s winning streak as they lost to Escogido 6-5 in 11 innings. Marco Hernandez started again at shortstop and was 0-for-2 with an RBI before being replaced with a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
In an intense contest on Saturday, the Tigers bowed to Este 2-0. Arismendy Alcantara played his first game of the winter and went 0-for-4.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
Obergon took over first place last Sunday with a 4-1 victory over Hermosillo. Christian Villanueva (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly.
The Yaquis stretched their first place lead to a full game Monday night with a 6-3 victory over Mexicali. Christian Villanueva (1-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored) added the exclamation point with a solo home run in the top of the ninth.
The Tribe fell back into a first place tie with Jalisco after a 4-2 loss to Mexicali on Tuesday. Christian Villanueva was elevated to the third slot in the line-up and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Obregon lost further ground Wednesday with a 3-2 loss to Mexicali. Christian Villanueva retained his third place in the batting order and went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The Yaquis regained their tenuous hold on first place Saturday by beating Navojoa 5-1. However, it was a “dry one” for Christian Villanueva as he went 0-for-4 in the win.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Senadores de San Juan
It remained difficult for San Juan to generate any offense as they managed only three hits in a 10-1 loss to Santurce on Monday. Jonathan Mota was 0-for-3 while John Andreoli pinch-hit and went 0-for-1.
It took 10 innings, but the Senadores came away with their second win of the winter Tuesday with a 5-4 victory over Carolina. John Andreoli played a big part in the victory. Andreoli went 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, an RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Jonathan Mota went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
The Senators are starting to put together some offense as they won their second in a row by shutting out Carolina 4-0 on Thursday. John Andreoli went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Jonathan Mota moved over to first base and was 2-for-4 with an RBI, run scored, and a stolen base.
It was a step backwards for San Juan on Friday as they lost 5-0 to Santurce. Jonathan Mota remained at first base and was 1-for-4 while centerfielder John Andreoli went 1-for-2 with a stolen base.
Pitching fell apart for the Senators on Saturday and they let a 2-1 lead slip away for a 9-2 loss to Mayaguez. John Andreoli is starting to step up his game as he went 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Jonathan Mota was 0-for-2 before being replaced by a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Venezuelan Winter League
Leones del Caracas
Caracas was rocked right out of the gate Wednesday as they were beaten by Zulia 8-3. Loiger Padron came on in relief of ineffective starter Albert Suarez after 2.1 innings and stopped the bleeding a bit by holding the Eagles to just a hit over 1.2 scoreless innings.
Pitching for Leones was not able to hold back Magallanes on Friday as they lost 6-3. However, Loiger Padron was able to chalk up his third hold by working around a walk and a hit with a strikeout in a scoreless inning.
Tiburones de La Guaira
La Guaira coasted to a victory last Sunday and shut out Caracas 6-0. Joseph Ortiz faced two batters in relief and gave up a hit in 0.1 innings.
A breakdown in starting pitching and defense for the Hammerheads on Friday was the reason behind a 5-1 loss to Aragua. Joseph Ortiz did his job out of the pen as he worked around a hit for a scoreless inning.
It was the bullpen that failed the Tiburones on Saturday as they bowed 3-2 to Magallanes. La Guaira squandered a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning as White Sox farmhand Ryan Kussmaul allowed the tying and winning runs. Joseph Ortiz bailed Kussmaul out of a jam with a strikeout in 0.2 innings.
Tigres de Aragua
Two big inning buoyed Aragua last Sunday as they beat Margarita 8-5. Willson Contreras capped a four-run second inning with a two-run home run. Contreras went 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, and two runs scored in the game.
It was a dry one for the Tigres on Tuesday as they were shut out 5-0 by Margarita. Willson Contreras appears to have taken over the starting catcher role as he went 2-for-3 in the loss.
The Tigers were on the wrong end of a laugher Saturday in a 10-2 loss to Caracas. Willson Contreras entered the game as a defensive substitution in the sixth and went 0-for-1.
News and Notes
In former Cubs’ prospect news, OF/1B Josh Kroeger (2007-09) is batting .350 in six games for Margarita of the Venezuelan Winter League.