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December 27, 2013

Minor League Update

International Winter League Games of December 26

by Jeff Moore

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The Good

  • Victor Mateo, RHP, Rays (Cangrejeros de Santurce, PRWL): 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Mateo, who you may know for throwing a nine-inning a no-hitter this summer in Double-A, has been having a solid winter for the Cangrejeros, striking out a batter per inning. The right-hander features a low-90s fastball that has missed fewer and fewer bats as he’s moved up the minor league ranks, but Thursday marks his third start this winter striking out six or more batters despite not throwing more than six innings in any start. At 24, he’s not much of a prospect as a starter, but perhaps this winter is a step in the right direction toward being a usable major league bullpen arm.
  • Benji Gonzalez, SS, Pirates (Leones de Ponce, PRWL): 3-5, 2 R. For a guy with a below-average hit tool, Gonzalez sure is having a strong winter. Such is the life of following prospects through small sample sizes. Gonzalez has shown no ability to consistently hit minor league pitching, but he’s having some fun with balls in play this winter, hitting .308/.321/.442 for the Leones. He profiles as nothing more than utility man whose bat may not even be strong enough for that role.

The Bad

  • Reymond Fuentes, CF, Padres (Leones de Ponce, PRWL): 1-5, 2B, R, 3 K. A bit of power for Fuentes is a good thing, but the amount of strikeouts he racks up for a player with virtually no pop is a major concern for his future.
  • Deolis Guerra, RHP, Twins (Navegantes del Magallanes, VWL): 1/3 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, BB. Remember when Guerra was a significant piece of the Mets/Twins trade with Johan Santana? Those days of Guerra being a prospect are long gone. He was beginning to resemble a usable pitcher not too long ago, but Guerra missed almost all of the 2013 season with thoracic outlet syndrome, ironically the same injury that plagued Santana in 2012. At this point, it doesn’t look like the Twins will get anything out of Guerra.
  • Kris Negron, SS, Reds (Criollos de Caguas, PRWL): 0-4, BB, 4 K. Negron has spent enough time stalled out in Triple-A to get a diploma, and his lack of plate discipline likely makes that his ceiling. He should bounce back and forth from the minors to the majors because of his ability to play all over the field, but he’ll never hit enough to play regularly.

Major Leaguer of the Night

  • Alexi Amarista, 2B, Padres (Caribes de Anzoategui, VWL): 3-4, 2 R 2B, HR, BB. Amarista, known mainly for his glove, did it all with the bat on Thursday, including drawing a rare walk.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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