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December 11, 2013

Minor League Update

International Winter League Games of December 10

by Jeff Moore

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Prospect of the Day: Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Leones del Caracas, VWL): 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, K. Well, it’s officially in Venezuela this winter. Aguilar was already putting on an impressive power performance, then he went off and hit his 15th and 16th home runs on Tuesday. As we’ve seen this winter, right-handed power is at a premium in baseball right now, so if his hit tool can play at all, the Indians will find a spot for him.

The Good

  • Francisco Peguero, CF, Orioles (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 3-5, 2 R, HR. The Orioles are excited about their newest outfielder, signed just this offseason after being DFA’d by the Giants. The O’s shouldn’t expect a ton of power like this from him, however, as he’s been more tools and athleticism to this point than actual production and doesn’t project to have much power anyway.
  • Rudy Owens, LHP, Astros (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 5 IP, H, 3 BB, 4 K. The Astros left-hander added another chapter to his strong winter, as he continues to limit hard-hit balls. Owens has historically limited hits well in his career despite less-than-premium velocity, but still profiles as a back-end starter. On the Astros, however, that’s enough to get a shot.
  • Luis Cruz, LHP, Astros (Criollos de Caguas, PRWL): 5 IP, H, R, BB, 3 K. Cruz is a 5-foot-9 lefty without a lot of projection, but his strikeout numbers jumped up this year to over a batter per inning for the first time in his career. He just turned 23 and spent some time in Double-A this season, and is having a nice winter for the Criollos. He’s worked both as a starter and in relief in the minors, but as an undersized left-hander, it’s hard to project him anywhere but in a bullpen in the major leagues, and even that would be in a middle-relief role at best.
  • Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Cangrejeros de Santurce, PRWL): 2-5, 2 K. After a red-hot stretch last week, Singleton has come back down to Earth slightly, at least in the power department, but has still been getting on base.

The Bad

  • C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Leones del Escogido, DWL): 0-5, 2 K. Cron had carried over his strong AFL into winter ball but has played sparingly. The recent trade of Mark Trumbo opens up a spot for Cron to play out of position, as he’s also blocked by Albert Pujols at first base. He’ll make his Triple-A debut next season and will look to build on his solid winter season to make up for a disappointing regular season.
  • Nestor Molina, RHP, White Sox (Cardenales de Lara, VWL): 1 IP, 2 H, ER. Molina is best known in prospect circles as the player traded for Sergio Santos, but he hasn’t done a whole lot since. He struggled in 2012 then missed most of 2013, so he’s making up for lost time. He got off to a strong start working exclusively in relief this winter, but he’s allowed runs in his past three appearances.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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