Prospect of the Day: Maikel Franco, 1B, Phillies (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 2-4, R HR. The beauty of power-hitting prospects with questionable hit tools is that every time you start to doubt them a little bit, they run into one and remind you why you like them in the first place. Franco got his first home run of the winter on Tuesday while playing first base for the Gigantes, something he’s expected to do more of this season.
- Rudy Owens, LHP, Astros (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K. Owens is little more than starting pitching depth at this point, but that’s still something that has value, especially for an organization like the Astros without many reliable starters. After missing most of the 2013 season with a stress fracture in his foot, just seeing Owens making his turn in the rotation is a good sign. The fact that he’s pitching well and has 27 strikeouts in 30 innings is simply a bonus.
- Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Cangrejeros de Santurce, PRWL): 1-3, 2 R, HR, BB, K. It’s taken Singleton some time, but he’s beginning to round into shape, which is not necessarily a commentary on his figure. He now has three home runs in his past 10 games to go with a .979 OPS.
- Jordan Lennerton, 1B, Tigers (Leones de Ponce, PRWL): 2-5, R, 2B, BB, K. Lennerton is not really a prospect, despite his selection to the Future’s Game this year, but he is following up his .812 OPS breakout season in Triple-A with a .360/.405/600 performance this winter. If he wasn’t old enough to rent a car, it would be more impressive, but still, it’s noteworthy that he’s carrying over his solid season into a strong winter.
- Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Leones del Caracas, VWL): 1-3, 2 R, HR. Aguilar wasn’t close enough to the majors last season to get selected in the Rule Five Draft, but the Indians knew he was this year and put him on their 40-man roster. If they hadn’t, his .309/.374/.576 winter campaign with 11 home runs in 35 games would be catching somebody’s eye. He still has some serious holes in his swing, but the power is very much for real.
- Jorge Polanco, 2B, Twins (Leones de Escogido, DWL): 2-3, K. There’s a ton of development left for Polanco to become the potential high-role-5 player we said he has the potential to be in our Twins rankings last week, but if he continues to hit over .300 at every stop like he is once again this winter, he’s going to get there.
- Carlos Triunfel, SS, Mariners (TIgres del Licey, DWL): 0-4, K. A 5-for-25 rut has thrown Triunfel’s winter numbers into a freefall, and he’s giving the Mariners little reason to use him as a utility man this season, other than the fact that he can still play shortstop from time to time. He can’t play shortstop well, but he’s adequate there and is doing it this winter.
- Eddie Rosario, 2B, Twins (Indios de Mayaguez, PRWL): 0-4, R. It’s hard to say exactly what’s wrong with Rosario this winter, but the fact that he’s had just one hit since his suspension announcement a week ago probably isn’t a complete coincidence. There were reports of him looking lost at the plate before that, but he may have had it on his mind before the announcement was made. Regardless, he has just one hit in his last 25 at-bats and is hitting just .111 in Puerto Rico.
Random Major Leaguer of the Day
- Michael Martinez, INF, Unaffiliated (Estrellas de Oriente, DWL): 1-4, R, HR, K. Mini-Mart batted second for the Estrellas, played both second base and shortstop, and hit a home run, which will probably get him a guaranteed contract from the Phillies.
Why We Love International Winter Leagues
- Salvador Perez, C, Royals (Tiburones de La Guaira, VWL): 2-4. Perez played first base.
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