Hitting streaks and third basemen seem to go together as Christian Villanueva has hit safely in nine straight games in the LMP. Meanwhile, Jeimer Candelario has an eight-game hitting streak and is working his way into the conversation of MVP of the Arizona Fall League.
In Venezuela, Armando Rivero is beginning to assert himself as a bullpen force as he has helped his Aragua Tigers attain first place.
There’s even more news from the winter leagues, if you just look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Note: Coverage of the Winter Leagues runs from Sunday to Saturday
Arizona Fall League
In last Monday night’s featured game, Mesa was not able to hold off Glendale and lost 5-3. Cubs’ prospects did their part as lead-off hitter Mark Zagunis went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. Jeimer Candelario continues to be a wrecking crew, going 3-for-5 with a walk, a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored.
It was another thumping for the Solar Sox on Tuesday as Surprise took it to Mesa and beat them 10-3. Jeimer Candelario remained hot, hitting his second home run in as many days as he was 1-for-4 with and RBI and a run scored. Cael Brockmeyer got the start at catcher and went 1-for-4 with a double.
On Veterans Day, Mesa was able to come back after spotting Surprise two runs as the Solar Sox held on for a 7-5 victory. Rob Zastryzny has been performing a little better each outing, and continues to lead the league in strikeouts. In four innings, Zastryzny allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out four batters. David Garner relieved and served up a solo home run. Garner also notched a strikeout in an inning of work. Corey Black was likewise touched up for an earned run and struck out one in one inning. Jeimer Candelario extended his hitting streak to five games as he went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Thursday saw a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel as the Solar Sox were edged out by Peoria 1-0. In his best performance of the fall, Pierce Johnson started and scattered five hits and a walk over five innings while striking out four batters. Mark Zagunis remained an on-base machine, going 1-for-3 with a walk as Mesa’s leadoff hitter. Jeimer Candelario was also 1-for-3 with a walk, while Cael Brockmeyer went 2-for-3 with a double.
Mesa’s pitching staff seems to be settling down, as they put together back-to-back solid performances in a 2-1 victory over Scottsdale on Friday. Jeimer Candelario doubled with two outs in the fourth inning and scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch. Candelario went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored, and Mark Zagunis was 0-for-4 in the victory.
The week ended with a reversal for the Solar Sox as their pitching dominated Scottsdale in a 5-1 victory. The bullpen was especially tight, allowing no runs and three hits over five innings. David Garner was part of that effort as he gave up only a walk in a scoreless eighth inning. Lining up at DH, Jeimer Candelario remained in the middle of the offensive action, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Cael Brockmeyer was 0-for-4 as he started at catcher.
Dominican Winter League
Cibaenas brought their bats with them to the park last Monday as they belted out a 12-5 win over Licey. Frank Batista relieved starter Ranfi Casimiro after the fifth and allowed two earned runs while striking out two in 1.1 innings for the victory.
The Eagles could not translate eight hits into more than one run on Friday as they lost to Escogido 2-1. Frank Batista took over for Jose Urena in the fourth inning and gave up two runs (one earned). Batista also struck out a batter in 2.1 innings and suffered the loss.
Estrellas de Oriente
Oriente was stymied by Escogido pitching on Wednesday as they lost 3-1. Juan Paniagua entered the game in the sixth inning and worked around two walks with a strikeout in two scoreless innings.
Leones del Escogido
Escogido broke through with three runs in the 10th inning on Saturday to beat Licey 7-4. Carlos Pimentel was the starter for the Lions and allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out a batter in 2.2 innings.
Tigres del Licey
Licey went toe-to-toe with Escogido on Saturday, but wound up losing 7-4 in 10 innings. Arismendy Alcantara started the game in centerfield and went 0-for-3 with two walks and a stolen base.
Mexican Pacific League
Tomateros de Culiacan
It was a rough start to the week for Culiacan, but they were able to turn things around on Tuesday, beating Los Mochis 9-3. Ryan Buchter pitched a perfect ninth inning and had two strikeouts.
The Tomateros were not able to take advantage of their 10 hits on Friday, as they lost to Jalisco 3-2. Ryan Buchter struck out the side in the ninth inning of the loss.
Yaquis de Obregon
Obergon was able to make a three-run third inning hold up last Sunday as they beat Hermosillo 3-1. Christian Villanueva remained steady as he went 2-for-3 with a walk in the victory.
The Yaquis could not overcome a six-run first inning on Tuesday and they lost 6-4 to Mexicali. Christian Villanueva was constant with a 1-for-4 game, but could not produce any runs.
On Wednesday, the Tribe narrowly escaped with a 7-6 victory over Mexicali. Christian Villanueva led the charge for the Yaquis as he was 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBI, and a run scored.
It wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Obregon scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut their deficit in half and lost 10-5 to Mexicali on Thursday. Christian Villanueva moved to DH and was perfect on the night, going 3-for-3 with a walk.
Friday saw the Yaquis evening their record again, this time at 15-15, with a 5-3 victory over Navojoa. Christian Villanueva extended his hitting streak to eight games as he went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
The Tribe was methodical in their dismantling of Navojoa on Saturday, winning 5-1. Obregon scored a run every other inning with Christian Villanueva being in the thick of things. Villanueva extended his hit streak to nine games as he was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Fighting to stay out of the basement of the LPBRC, Santurce was unable to get past Carolina on Wednesday and lost 4-2. Fernando Cruz gave up his first earned run of the fall as he tossed 1.1 innings in the loss.
Venezuelan Winter League
Bravos de Margarita
Margarita remains the bottom-feeder of the VWL, but was able to eke out a 7-6 win over La Guaira on Wednesday. P.J. Francescon had another shaky save, his fifth of the season. Francescon entered in the ninth with bases loaded and no outs and allowed three inherited runners to score while giving up an earned run of his own.
Cardenales de Lara
A furious rally by Zulia on Thursday was not enough, as Lara was able to escape with an 11-9 win. Yoervis Medina was unable to close things out for the Redbirds, giving up two earned runs in the ninth as he pitched 0.2 innings.
Navegantes de Magallanes
Magallanes rallied for five runs in the final four innings last Sunday to Beat Aragua 5-4. Erick Leal was one of 10 pitchers used by the Navs and he retired the only batter he faced.
It was a bad end of the week for the Navigators, as they were shut out by La Guaira 7-0 on Saturday. Erick Leal entered the game in the sixth inning and gave up two earned runs on a two-run home run in 0.2 innings.
Tigres de Aragua
Aragua held Anzoategui to four hits on Wednesday as they won in a 1-0 thriller. Armando Rivero relieved former Cubs’ prospect Austin Bibens-Dirkx in the eighth and struck out two in a scoreless inning.
The Tigers are now tied for the lead of the VWL as they defeated Margarita 5-2 on Friday. Armando Rivero was once again a force in the eighth, as he had a strikeout in a perfect inning of work.
Aragua remained in a first place tie on Saturday with their 2-1 victory over Margarita. Armando Rivero again played a part, as he entered in the eighth and struck out a batter. Rivero completed a scoreless inning for his fifth hold.