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 CrawfordAndre 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. 


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So what type of prospect has Ruf become? Are you sold after this season or does he profile as more of a AAAA masher?
i really hope Ruf makes it in the bigs and proves every single prospect writer wrong. as evident by my username, im not only a phillies nut through and through, but i love Ruf. i think i was one of the first people to own his jersey, and its just something about him that i love. it sounds really cliche and lame, but he's what sports is all about. the guy that nobody thought could make it as a big-league regular, only to have him turn out to be a great everyday player. is it likely?...probably not. i would say at best, he profiles as a platoon guy who can face lefties, and also spell Ryan Howard at 1B when tougher lefties are on the mound. however, one thing ive continually said about him being "too old" for his level is this....there's only a certain level of production you can expect out of a many HR would Ryan Howard hit if he played the same number of games in AA next year? it possible that Ruf was ready for the bigs for the last 1-2 years and the Phillies simply had no place to put him?...i know its his defense that has held him back for sure, and he wasnt that great prior to this year admittedly, but i just want him to do well for the Phillies so bad. He's the ultimate Philly thing to mention though. the Phils do have somewhat of a recent history of not promoting guys until they are a bit older than most rookies....Ryan Howard didnt become a regular until 2006 when he was 26-27...Carlos Ruiz wasnt their everyday catcher until 2007 when he was 28....and Chase Utley wasnt a full-time regular until 2005 when he was 26.
The Babe now has 730 PAs on the year. Is he tired yet? Noooo. He leads the Venezuelan League in HRs with 11 and is 3rd in OPS. Perhaps best of all, he's done it with only 18 PAs against lefties. He's crushed them (1.593) but still has a better than .850 against righties in 119+ PAs(his last 2 for 4 game with a HR is not yet incorporated in his stats on site).
Charlie has already said he's going to get a chance to be a platoon OFer in ST, "and we'll see from there". A lot depends on who else the Phillies bring in.
The best example for Ruf is Jason Werth. He started as a platoon OFer with the Phillies at age 28, after kicking around for 4 years with Toronto and LAD and missing a year due to injury, and didn't become a full regular until he was 30. They are *not* comparable players. Werth has much broader skills-more speed, defense and he draws a lot of walks--tho Ruf walks too and don't believe those who say he's a bad glove at 1B. The reports on his OF play this winter have been positive enough to reinforce the Phillies willingness to give him a chance out there.
Point is, too much of the dismissiveness about the Babe has been based on his age, and too little attention has been paid to what he is doing.
I think Ruf's going to get a very good chance to win a bench job in Philly this year. We won't know if he's more AAAA or capable role player in the big leagues until he's in that type of role for at least a couple months. When a player starts 1-2 per week, with a few pinch-hit appearances in between, it's very hard to get a rhythm and many young players struggle. Ty Moore of the Nats was an exception last season. I love stories like this so I'll be cheering for Ruf to have a similar year to Moore's in 2012.
Is it actually spelled 'Ruf' or are we just spelling Bryan LaHair wrong?
All good, but performances not bolded.