As we move into the second half of the winter season, Christian Villanueva continues to dominate the Mexican Pacific League. Villanueva leads the league in on-base percentage and is in the top ten in four other categories.
Tennessee shortstop Carlos Penalver made his debut in Venezuela, while Arismendy Alcantara and Fernando Cruz continue to excel in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Things will start to get interesting down the stretch, so keep up by taking a look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Note: Coverage of the Winter Leagues runs from Sunday to Saturday
Dominican Winter League
In a game against Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League last Sunday, Cibaenas used two runs in the ninth to edge the Cardinals 4-3. Frank Batista came on with one out in the eighth and worked around a hit in 0.2 scoreless innings for the victory.
Leones del Escogido
Escogido rallied back to a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning, but could not hold as they lost 3-2 to Cibaenas on Friday. Carlos Pimentel started for The Pride and allowed two earned runs on three hits, including a solo home run. Pimentel struck out three in 4.1 innings.
Tigres del Licey
First place Licey continued its roll on Wednesday, as they crushed Este 11-0. Arismendy Alcantara was back at second base and played a large part in the win. Alcantara went 4-for-4 with a walk, a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored.
The Tigers saw their first place lead go down to a half game lead to their rivals Oriente on Friday with a 5-2 loss. Arismendy Alcantara played center field and went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Saturday saw the Pride fall into a first place tie as they came back with two runs in the ninth but lost 3-2 to Escogido in 11 innings. Arismendy Alcantara started at second base, but moved to left field as he was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases.
Mexican Pacific League
Tomateros de Culiacan
Culiacan relied on solid pitching to get past Navojoa 4-2 on Wednesday. Ryan Buchter remained among the LMP save leaders by dealing a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save.
The Tomateros continue to fight in every game as they tied the game in the ninth on Friday and won it in the 10th, beating Hermosillo 2-1. Ryan Buchter remains a rock as he blanked the Orangemen in the 10th for his second victory.
Yaquis de Obregon
The Yaquis began the week right, beating Los Mochis 7-3 last Sunday. Christian Villanueva lined-up at DH and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the victory.
Obregon is rounding into mid-season form as the steamrolled past Jalisco 9-4 on Tuesday. Christian Villanueva remained at designated hitter for the Tribe and had a big evening, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored.
On Wednesday, the Yaquis made it two in a row over Jalisco, blanking then 3-0. Christian Villanueva moved into second place in both batting and OPS by going 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Villanueva raided his average to .373 with a .986 OPS.
Achieving consistency has been a challenge for the Tribe this season, as they lost to Navojoa 4-3 on Friday. Christian Villanueva went 0-for-2, but drew four walks, scored a run, and stole a base in the loss.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Cangrejeros de Santurce
The week began for Santurce with a 2-1 loss to Mayaguez last Sunday. Fernando Cruz held the Indians at two runs by striking out two in 1.2 scoreless innings.
It took 10 innings on Wednesday, but the Crabbers were able to edge out Caguas 2-1. Providing quality relief was Fernando Cruz, who came on in the eighth inning and worked around a walk to hold the Creoles.
In game two of a doubleheader with Mayaguez on Friday, the Cangrejeros were able to step on the gas in the sixth and seventh innings to blow past the Indians 7-2. Fernando Cruz relieved starter Joel Huertas after he got in trouble in the third inning and got them out of it with no further damage.
Criollos de Caguas
A pitcher’s duel turned against Caguas on Wednesday, as they lost to Santurce 2-1 in 10 innings. Andres Santiago suffered the loss, as he allowed the winning run in the 10th.
The Creoles remained in second place on Saturday even though they lost to Mayaguez 3-1. Andres Santiago received the start and went 5.2 innings, giving up an earned run on five hits and two walks.
Venezuelan Winter League
Aguilas de Zulia
Zulia was out-classed last Sunday as they lost to Anzoategui 15-7. Bryant Flete entered the game in the seventh inning, singling and scoring in one at bat and walking his second time up. Flete also played left field as he was 1-for-1 with a run scored.
Cardenales de Lara
In a game against Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League last Sunday, Lara gave up two runs in the ninth to lose 4-3 to the Eagles. Yoervis Medina pitched the ninth and yielded two unearned runs on two hits and a walk to take the loss.
The Redbirds remained in striking distance of the second half leaders on Saturday as they beat Aragua 4-1. While Lara experienced success, Yoervis Medina continued to struggle, allowing an earned run and striking out two in 0.2 innings.
Leones del Caracas
Caracas was able to just get past Lara on Tuesday, winning 2-0. The Lions added a defensive whiz in Tennessee Smokies’ shortstop Carlos Penalver. In his winter debut, Penalver went 1-for-4 in the victory.
Attempting to keep up with the leaders in the second half, The Pride blew out Anzoategui 13-3 on Thursday. Carlos Penalver contributed to the cause by going 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Tigres de Aragua
Seeking to get untracked in the second half of the season, Aragua took a step forward on Thursday by shutting out Zulia 3-0. Armando Rivero delivered in the seventh, striking out a batter and pitching a perfect inning.