It was a busy week leading into the holidays in the winter leagues as most of the Cubs’ prospects currently on rosters saw playing time. It continued to be basehits or strikeouts for Javier Baez as he had a big night Friday in Puerto Rico.
Third base prospect Jeimer Candelario made his winter debut for Este in the Dominican Winter League. And Christian Villanueva is among the league leaders in home runs in the Mexican Pacific League, while Yoanner Negrin was dominant in Venezuela.
So put aside your holiday shopping for a while and take a look at today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Coverage of the winter leagues is from Sunday through Saturday.
Dominican Winter League
Cibaenas tried to keep pace with the league leaders last Sunday by beating Licey 7-5. Manny Ramirez (1-for-4) drove in two runs with a double.
A ninth inning rally fell short on Tuesday as Aguilas fell 6-5 to Cibao. Manny Ramirez was in the thick of things as he was 4-for-4 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
Cibaenas took matters in their own hands on Thursday and beat first place Oriente 7-4. Frank Batista started again for the Eagles and struck out five while allowing an earned run on three hits and a walk in three innings. Manny Ramirez continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-3.
After making up ground the previous night, the Aguilas slipped backward on Friday by losing to last place Escogido 5-4. Manny Ramirez did his best to keep Cibaenas in the game, as he went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
Toros del Este
A distant fourth and struggling to even their record, Este lost on Thursday to Licey 3-2 in 11 innings. It was all hands on deck for the bullpen, as Jeffry Antigua contributed 0.2 scoreless innings.
The Toros were in a battle for relevance on Friday as they beat Cibao 10-3. Jeffry Antigua spoiled the shut out, as he gave up a three-run home run in the ninth.
The Bulls took advantage of a former Cubs farmhand and minor league pitcher of the year on Saturday in a 6-2 win over Licey. Este beat up on Mitch Atkins, tagging him for four runs in two innings. Jeimer Candelario was called up by the Toros and started at shortstop, going 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.
Estrellas de Oriente
Oriente remained in first place to start the week, as they began with a 10-3 crushing of Cibao. Left fielder Junior Lake had a big game, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases. Lake leads the league with 20 stolen bases.
Estrellas continued to hold on to their first place lead with a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat Este 7-6. Marcos Mateo remains dominant, as he had a strikeout in a scoreless ninth for his league leading 19th save.
The Eastern Stars completely embarrassed Licey on Wednesday, shutting them out 10-0. Ivan Pineyro had one of his best outings in 18 months, striking out six and tossing five shutout innings. Outfielder Junior Lake was 0-for-1 with two walks, but was replaced by a pinch-runner in the sixth inning.
Oriente was unable to put any distance between themselves and their nearest pursuer on Thursday, as they lost to Cibaenas 7-4. Starling Peralta entered the game in the second inning to relieve beleaguered starter Chris Bootcheck and scattered three hits while striking out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Junior Lake went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
A tense game on Friday saw a single run in the fifth inning stand up as Estrellas edged past Licey 1-0. Junior Lake was 1-for-3 while Marcos Mateo nailed down his 20th save with two strikeouts in the ninth.
Leones del Escogido
Last place Escogido had some good news on Saturday as they beat Cibao 4-2. Carlos Pimentel started for the Lions and was nicked for two unearned runs as he struck out six in four innings.
Tigres del Licey
Licey continued to trudge through the season last Sunday, but put up a fight as they lost 7-5 to Cibaenas. Arismendy Alcantara played centerfield and was 0-for-4 with a walk.
It was a battle of the basement dwellers on Tuesday as the Tigers beat up on Escogido 8-2. Arismendy Alcantara had a big night as the centerfielder slugged a two-run home run and was 3-for-4 with a walk.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
Just as good as Obregon was in the first half of the season, they have been equally as bad in the second half as they lost 4-3 last Sunday to Mexicali. Christian Villanueva started the game at third base and was 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.
The Yaquis were back in action on Tuesday and were able to survive a late rush by Los Mochis to win 6-5. Christian Villanueva remained at third base and went 0-for-5 in the victory.
It took 10 innings for the Tribe on Wednesday, but they were able to finally get past Los Mochis 4-3. Christian Villanueva moved among the league leaders as he belted his eighth home run of the winter, a solo shot, as he went 1-for-5.
The second half struggles continued for Obregon on Thursday as they gave up two runs in the ninth and lost to Los Mochis 8-7. Christian Villanueva moved into sixth place in the league with his ninth home run of the winter as he went 1-for-5 in the loss.
The Yaquis moved on to Culiacan on Friday and were able limit the Tomateros to a first inning run and won 3-1. Christian Villanueva was 0-for-4 as he batted third and played third base.
The Tribe had the tables turned on them on Saturday as Culiacan scored three late runs to beat Obregon 3-1. Christian Villanueva (0-for-4) remained cold at the plate.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Santurce kept themselves out of the cellar of the LPBRC last Sunday by beating San Juan 4-2. Javier Baez had a big game as the second baseman was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI.
After bad weather cancelled two games, Santurce was unable to mount any threat against San Juan on Wednesday and lost 2-1. Javier Baez scored the Crabbers’ only run as he went 1-for-3 with a double.
On Friday, the Crabmen took on league leading Caguas and came away a 7-2 winner. Javier Baez played a big part as he moved over to shortstop and went 3-for-4 with his second home run of the winter.
Santurce got on a mini roll on Saturday and used a seven run eighth inning to beat San Juan 8-3. Javier Baez remained at shortstop and was 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Senadores de San Juan
San Juan could not make up any ground last Sunday as they lost to Santurce 4-2. Both Jonathan Mota and John Andreoli went 0-for-3 in the loss.
Venezuelan Winter League
Cardenales de Lara
Lara continued to struggle to even their record as they lost 8-6 to La Guaira last Sunday. Luis Valbuena went 1-for-1 with an RBI but left the game in the third inning for a defensive replacement.
The Cardinals remained just below .500 as they lost to Aragua 6-1 on Wednesday. Luis Valbuena returned to the lineup at DH and was 1-for-4.
It was another trying night for the Redbirds on as they lost 9-1 to La Guaira. Luis Valbuena was 0-for-2 with a walk in the loss.
Caracas remained in a slump on Friday as they lost to Magallanes 5-3. Eduardo Figueroa had to eat some innings after the Cardenales starter gave up five runs in the second inning. Figueroa went three scoreless innings with a strikeout. Luis Valbuena remained at DH and was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.
It was more disappointment on Saturday as the Cardinals lost to Aragua 5-1. Luis Valbuena went 0-for-4 as the team’s designated hitter.
Leones del Caracas
Caracas never gave Margarita a chance on Thursday as the Lions blew past them 9-1. It was the type of game Yoanner Negrin flashes every now and then, as he struck out 11 while allowing an earned run on four hits in 7.2 innings.
It was another big win for the Leones on Friday as they bested first place Anzoategui 9-3. Reliever Loiger Padron was taken deep for one of the runs, as he yielded an earned run in 0.1 innings.
Tiburones de La Guaira
La Guaira continued to put in a solid effort on Monday in beating Zulia 7-4. Joseph Ortiz pitched well in middle relief, working around two hits with a strikeout in 1.1 scoreless innings.
The Tiburones remained on a roll on Wednesday as they blew past Magallanes 12-6. Joseph Ortiz gave up a harmless hit as he worked 1.1 scoreless innings.
Tigres de Aragua
It was a day Aragua would like to forget last Sunday as they were shut out by Magallanes 7-0. Willson Contreras started at catcher and was 0-for-3 in the loss.
News and Notes
The Cubs added OF/1B Shane Peterson off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics. Peterson is currently assigned to Aguilas de Mexicali in the Mexican Pacific League.