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January 21, 2014

Minor League Update

International Winter League Games of January 17-20

by Jeff Moore

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Friday, January 17th

The Good

  • Zoilo Almonte, OF, Yankees (Aguilas Cibaenas, DWL): 2-5, R, HR. Almonte continues his hot winter, but with the Yankees slated to use an outfielder as their DH (Alfonso Soriano), there is only one bench spot for an outfielder and that spot is going to go to Ichiro Suzuki. Almonte may be on the outside looking in no matter how well he hits this spring.
  • Leury Garcia, 2B, White Sox (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 3-5, 2 R, 2B. Garcia is in a similar situation to Almonte. With the White Sox being willing to use a bench spot on a 1B-only player (Paul Konerko) and having given a multi-year deal to Jeff Keppinger last offseason, it doesn’t leave much of an opening for a utility player like Garcia to make the team unless they move Gordon Beckham. Garcia also recorded three more hits on Saturday, including a double.
  • Mel Rojas, OF, Pirates (Gigantes de Carolina, PRWL): 3-4, R, 2B, BB. There was some excitement surrounding Rojas (the son of the former major-league pitcher), but at this point his name is more recognizable than his game. He did post a career-high .742 OPS in Double-A last season, but has limited power and fails to control the strike zone at all.
  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Caribes de Anzoategui, VWL): 3-5, R, HR, BB. Aguilar is showing no signs of cooling off this winter. The question will be whether the break between the end of the Venezuelan playoffs and the start of spring training can do it.
  • Heiker Meneses, SS, Red Sox (Tiburones de La Guaira, VWL): 2-5, R, 2 2B, K. Meneses hasn’t been having a strong playoffs for the Tiburones and frankly has never hit with any authority or power to speak of. Meneses also homered on Saturday, however, his first of the winter, and collected two more hits on Sunday.

The Bad

  • Daniel Corcino, RHP, Reds (Leones del Escogido, DWL): 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, K. Corcino posted a 1.74 ERA in seven Dominican regular season appearances, but in the playoffs his ERA is 9.53. Such is life with small sample sizes.

Saturday, January 18th

  • Francisco Peguero, CF, Orioles (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 3-4, K. For a streaky hitter like Peguero, his hot play this winter has to be among the best runs of his career.
  • Deolis Guerra, RHP, Twins (Navegantes del Magallanes, VWL): 2 IP, H, 3 K. A strong winter for Guerra has gotten stronger in the postseason as he continues to rack up scoreless appearances.

Sunday, January 19th

  • Rafael Ortega, CF, Cardinals (Tiburones de La Guaira, VWL): 0-5, 2 K. Ortega has solid tools, including plus speed, but he was extremely raw for his late-season cameo in the majors and has struggled to hit this winter.
  • Jose Pirela, UTIL, Yankees (Aguilas del Zuila, VWL): 3-5, 2 R, 3B, BB. Pirela is primarily an infielder who can play multiple positions, but he played left field on Sunday and has played 33 games there in his minor-league career. That versatility will give him a better shot at cracking the Yankees major-league roster at some point this season.

Monday, January 20th

  • Gregory Polanco, CF, Pirates (Leones del Escogido, DWL): 1-4. After a strong regular season, it’s been a struggle for Polanco in the Dominican playoffs.
  • Breyvic Valera, 2B, Cardinals (Tiburones de La Guaira, VWL): 3-5, 3 R. That the Tiburones were comfortable with a 21-year-old Valera starting in such a big game says something about him, but what that is remains in question. There are some bat-to-ball skills there but he makes no attempt to drive the ball with any authority, limiting him to a slap-hitting utility role.

Abreu-mania

  • Friday: 2-5, 2 R, BB, K.
  • Sunday: 0-2, BB.
  • Monday: 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 BB, K.

Abreu was at the height of his winter league powers on Monday night, connecting on a grand slam and then following it up with an opposite-field single to walk his team off for a 14-13 victory in a game that was every bit as crazy as it sounds. His 5-for-11 performance over the long weekend put his average at .464 for the playoffs.

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

3 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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indianacardinal

I believe that CF Rafael Ortega has moved to the Cardinals via the Rangers, and previously the Rockies, all through waiver claims.

Jan 21, 2014 06:18 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jeff Moore
BP staff

Yeah, I think you're right. We've got him on the Cards on our Depth Charts page, which is the most accurate place you'll find. I thought he might have moved on but couldn't track down where to last night. Thanks for pointing it out.

Jan 21, 2014 06:27 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Fixed.

Jan 21, 2014 06:44 AM
 
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