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December 5, 2013

Minor League Update

International Winter League Games of December 4

by Jeff Moore

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Prospects of the Day:

  • Maikel Franco, 1B, Phillies (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 1-4, R, HR, K. Franco connected on his second home run of the winter but also his 30th strikeout in 35 games. That about sums up his winter, with his inability to make good contact severely limiting him. If he can’t hit for a decent average, he’s going to make an ungodly amount of outs because his aggressive approach will lead to bad contact and he won’t beat anything out.
  • Jorge Polanco, 2B, Twins (Leones del Escogido, DWL): 1-2, R, 2 BB. Polanco is hitting well over .300 this winter but the most impressive part is the way he handles the strike zone. With two more walks on Wednesday, Polanco now has 17 to just 19 strikeouts. These numbers are even more impressive than his 42-to-59 BB:K ratio this season. If he hit for no power, it wouldn’t be as much of an achievement, but with solid gap power, the ability to draw walks and limit strikeouts could be huge for his development.
  • Paul Demny, RHP, Nationals (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K. Demny’s strikeout rates jumped this season to over a strikeout per inning for the first tine since 2009, reversing a trend in the opposite direction. Tuesday marked his first outing with the Gigantes, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to miss bats the same way he did during the season.

Random Major Leaguer

  • Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals (Tigres de Aragua, VWL): 2-4, R, HR, K. Ramos is hitting .358 this winter, showing no ill effects of the wear and tear of a long season that catchers usually exhibit.

Former Prospect Name

  • Junior Lake, LF, Cubs (Estrellas de Oriente, DWL): 1-4, R, 3B, K. Lake is having a great winter, hitting .357 with some power, prompting a question in yesterday’s MLU about his future. Despite Lake’s solid performance in the majors last year and his even better performance in limited time in the Dominican, Lake has one major flaw – he swings at everything. Even this winter, his 24-to-6 K:BB ratio stands out. The league will figure him out and pound him with breaking balls. His career will hinge on his ability to adjust, but his aggressive approach doesn’t bode well for his success.
  • Gorkys Hernandez, CF, Royals (Caribes de Anzoategui, VWL): 2-4, R, HR. Hernandez has some of the same problems as Lake, but typically less power. He can, however, play a solid center field. This winter, however, he’s demonstrating solid power with 12 doubles, three triples, and now three home runs.

Did Jonathan Singleton Homer?: Yep, sure did. He hit his seventh home run of the winter as part of a 3-for-5 day that included a double.

Why we love winter leagues: Bobby Abreu is still playing. He’s hitting .289/.391/.395 this winter and is not the answer for your team.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Jonathan Singleton,  Maikel Franco

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