There were plenty of standouts in Saturday's Arizona Fall League Championship and I've already wrote about most of them since I started on the Minor League Update a few weeks back. Rymer Liriano, Nate Roberts, and Mike Zunino each had three hits for Peoria, who beat Salt River 4-3 to win the AFL title. Instead of writing about them again, do yourself a favor and scroll down the Twitter timeline of former big league scout Bernie Pleskoff, who was tweeting lots of informative scouting notes during the game and throughout the entire season.
Here are some of my notes from the Caribbean Winter Leagues and even a few on some prospects playing in the World Baseball Classic.
- Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Royals (Nicaragua-WBC): 4-for-8, HR (1), 2B, RBI. His team was eliminated from the World Baseball Championship after losses to Panama and Colombia, but Cuthbert had a pair of hits in each game, including a homer on his 20th birthday on Friday. A return to Hi-A, where he struggled as a 19 year-old, is very likely to start the 2013 season.
- Jae-Hoon Ha, OF, Cubs (Aragua-VWL): 3-for-9, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K, 2 SB (6). The 22 year-old out of South Korea has solid skills across the board, although he profiles as a big league reserve. He has just 26 home runs in four minor league seasons since signing with the Cubs in 2009 but I did witness Ha hitting an impressive opposite field home run in the Futures Game off Pirates prospect Gerrit Cole.
- Sugar Ray Marimon, RHP, Royals (Colombia-WBC): 5 IP, ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K. The 24 year-old pitched his team to victory on Friday against Nicaragua before Colombia was knocked out when they lost on Saturday and Sunday. Marimon allowed just one run on a solo homer to Royals teammate Cuthbert.
- Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Mets (Licey-DWL): 5 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 4 K. Is he a reliever or a starter long-term? The Mets will have to cross that bridge at some point. Whether they sign R.A. Dickey long-term could have some effect whether Mejia has a chance to be part of a future rotation that would include Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. It wouldn't surprise me one bit, though, if he's closing out games for them in 2014. As of now, he's a starter for los Tigres del Licey in the DWL, where he has a 2.65 ERA in 17 innings pitched over four starts.
- Francisco Peguero, OF, Giants (Cibao-DWL): 4-for-7, 3 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB (1). After an exciting end of the season spent with the eventual World Champion Giants, though not on the playoff roster, Peguero finally joined los Gigantes del Cibao on Friday. That San Francisco Giants magic apparently hasn't worn off as the 24 year-old had three doubles, a single, and a walk in eight plate appearances.
- Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers (Mayaguez-PRBL): 2-for-8, HR (1), 2 RBI, 3 K, SB (1). Puig didn't waste any time showing off his speed and power, homering and stealing a base in his PRBL debut on Saturday. The 21 year-old Cuban, who signed a seven-year, $42 million major league with the Dodgers in late June, could be on the fast track to the big leagues. He'll run into a roadblock, however, with outfielders Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp all signed to long-term deals.
- Bruce Rondon, RHP, Tigers (Magallanes-VWL) IP, 0 R, H, BB, K, Sv (4). Reportedly a candidate for the Tigers' closing job in 2013, Rondon now has his 2012 save total up to 33 between the VWL, Triple-A, Double-A, and Hi-A. The 21 year-old has had control problems throughout his career but has shown much improvement this year. With a fastball that can reach triple digits, he's a very uncomfortable at-bat for hitters, as evidenced by their .172 batting average against him in 2012.
- Sandy Rosario, RHP, Red Sox (Cibao-DWL) IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K. He'll be competing for a spot in the Red Sox bullpen next spring after they claimed him off waivers from the Marlins in October. It's not too early to make a good impression, though. The 27 year-old, who had a 1.04 ERA with two walks and 24 strikeouts in 26 innings for Triple-A New Orleans in 2012, struck out the side in a 1-2-3 7th inning on Saturday.
- Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Phillies (La Guaira-VWL): 4-for-12, HR (11), 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K. The man they call "Babe" Ruf after he hit 41 homers in 2012 (38 in Double-A, 3 in MLB) continues to mash down in the Venzuelan Winter League. The 26 year-old has now rounded the bases 52 times on the year after he hit his 11th homer on Sunday. His RBI total is now up to 28 in 33 games.