Archive for the 'Mexico' Category

Top Prospects from Mexico

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Victor Arano and Giovanny Gallegos are the two pitchers from the list last year that saw some brief major league time. Julio Urias and Daniel Castro made it from the 2016 list but a shoulder injury has sidelined Julio’s progress with the Dodgers and pedestrian talent has prevented Castro from continuing his major league stay. There was a repeat number one and five of the ten players on this list were repeats. Dropping off the list were Francisco Rios, Jose Cardona, Jose Luis Hernandez, Fernando Perez and Christian Villanueva. This is not a list filled with top prospects. Only Luis Urias has a significant shot at seeing full time major league time.

1. Luis Urias (Padres) 2B/SS - He started as a second baseman but the Padres have given him time at short. His future position may be second base but the arm is strong enough to play short and the range is there. It just would not be super elite for the position. The bat is the prize here, making contact and walking more than striking out, a trait not shared by many. He also peppers the gaps with line drives, with the capability of staying in the .300 neighborhood. There is very little power in his swing and not a lot of speed in his legs, but he would be a perfect two hole hitter. Luis could be ready to see major league time by mid-season, but the 2018 season will see him start in AAA. His career minor league average is .310.

2. Isaac Paredes (Tigers) SS/2B - Paredes was acquired from the Cubs in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade. The Cubs signed Paredes out of Mexico in 2015. Isaac is another contact hitter who may lack the speed and build to stay at short. He does have a little power in his bat so a move to second or third could provide a team with an offensive second baseman or a defensive third baseman with decent power. He struggled a little bit in Low A (.217) after being traded by the Cubs. Still a teenager the Tigers could keep him at Low A to get his feet wet or challenge him with a promotion to High A where he would be considered one of the younger players in the league.

3. Jose Albertos (Cubs) RHP - Pitchers from Mexico usually are not hard throwers. The Cubs spent $1.5 million on Albertos because he can zing his fastball across the plate in the high 90s but generally sits on the higher side of the low 90s to the mid-90s. Like most pitchers from Mexico, they learn the change and Jose has a good one, making the fastball appear to have that much more velocity. A third pitch needs to be perfected for him to slide into the rotation, otherwise he may be best suited for the bullpen. Last year he pitched in the rookie leagues and did well. His career opposition batting average since signing is .176 and he strikes out 10.5 hitters per nine innings. Next year will be his big test when he starts a full season league.

4. Andres Munoz (Padres) RHP - The first new player on this list. The Padres paid out a $700,000 bonus in 2015 to sign Munoz away from the Mexico City team. Since his signing his fastball has increased from the low 90s to sitting in the high 90s to hitting triple digits. All of his work has been out of the bullpen where he does not need to hold back. Finding the plate has been a struggle walking just over six hitters per nine innings. Also, he pitches out of the bullpen because he only has a fastball/slider combination. Those limitations will keep him in the bullpen as he rises through the ranks. Last year he got three appearances at Low A. That is where he should start the 2018 season. If the Padres want to see him develop more pitches and improve his control they could move him into a starter’s role, but myworld does not see that happening this year.

5. Victor Arano (Phillies) RHP - Victor is one of two pitchers from the list last year who saw major league time. After 2015 all of his time has been spent in the bullpen where he can unleash his fastball in the mid-90s. His slider may be his best pitch, the one he uses to retire hitters. While his numbers at AA Reading were not awe inspiring (4.19 ERA) the Phillies still promoted him to their major league club. He did well, limiting the opposition to a .158 average and striking out 11 hitters per nine innings. With a good spring his strong major league performance could give him a shot to start the season with the major league club, or ride that roller coaster, bouncing back and forth between AAA and the Phillies.

6. Tirso Orneles (Padres) OF - The Padres have always talked about expanding their roster to include more players from Mexico, attracting fans from Tijuana to attend their games. Tirso is a player they signed for $1.5 million from the Mexico City club. Urias and Munoz are two other players the Padres have signed out of Mexico City. At 6′4″ Tirso has the ability to generate power in his bat, banging three homeruns last year in the Arizona Rookie League as a 17 year old. His lack of speed will keep him in the corner but his arm is a fit for right. The 2018 season should see him with another season in the Rookie League unless the Padres really want to challenge him.

7. Hector Velasquez (Red Sox) RHP - The Red Sox signed Hector after the 2016 season from Campeche after he won pitcher of the year honors for the second time. Like many pitchers from Mexico, his fastball is not overpowering. He relies more on his command of pitches and his secondary stuff to retire hitters. At 28 years of age the Red Sox started him at AAA where he limited the opposition to a .213 average. This led to a promotion to the Red Sox where he held his own with three starts and five relief appearances (2.92 ERA). With a good spring he could fill the back end of the rotation, but more likely he will start the season in AAA and will be called upon when needed, adding depth to the rotation.

8. Javier Assad (Cubs) RHP - The Cubs do a good job of signing players out of Mexico. Assad was signed in 2015 for $150,000. Assad has a large frame (200 pounds) so he needs to watch his weight. Not an overpowering pitcher he relies more on command and an assortment of pitches to throw at hitters to keep them off balance. A .275 opposition average is evidence that hitters can make hard contact against him if his command is off. The 2018 season will be his first in a full season league. His best bet is to fit in the back of a rotation or fill the middle of a bullpen.

9. Victor Ruiz (Reds) C - Victor was a third baseman for the Tijuana team but the Reds signed him in 2016 and moved him to catcher. His arm is strong for the position but last year he struggled throwing runners out with a 19 percent success rate. While there is some pop in his bat he failed to hit a homerun in his 78 at bats in the rookie league. He also needs to improve his patience at the plate with a 1/22 walk to whiff ratio leading to a .250 OBA. At 18 years old entering the 2018 season he will be a major work in progress. Expect him to stay in the Rookie League to continue to improve on his catching craft.

10. Giovanny Gallegos RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Giovanny in 2011, a year after signing Manny Banuelos. His stuff is not as good as Manny but his arm has survived to allow him to continue his major league pursuit, while Manny has transformed into a journeyman. A mid-90s fastball limited AAA hitters to a .180 average and 14.33 whiffs per nine innings. This got him a promotion to the Yankees where the hitters feasted on his lack of quality secondary pitches to hit him at a .263 pace. The 2018 season could see him rotate back and forth between the Yankees and AAA, but carrying only a fastball will leave him at the back end of the bullpen, unless he can perfect a second pitch to complement his fastball.

United States New Number One

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

With their win in the World Baseball Classic the United States has ended the three year reign of Japan and taken over the number one spot in baseball, according to the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC). With the top 12 teams qualifying for the Premier 12 in 2019 myworld will list the top 13 teams as ranked by the WBSC. Mexico sitting at number five has never been ranked higher.

1. United States (5025 points)
2. Japan (4609 points)
3. South Korea (4158 points)
4. Cuba (3152 points)
5. Mexico (2613 points)
6. Taiwan (2520 points)
7. Canada (2142 points)
8. Australia (2095 points)
9. Netherlands (2002 points)
10. Puerto Rico (1796 points)
11. Venezuela (1765 points)
12. Dominican Republic (1227 points)
13. Nicaragua (1155 points)

You can see the complete list at wbsc.org/rankings/

Cuba Win Pool Play in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

There were some meaningless games in the Series del Caribe. Mexico won their first game but it did not help them make the playoffs. Cuba also won to give them the best record in pool play, but that only gave them a date with the Dominican Republic in the first round of the playoffs. The Dominicans gave Cuba their only loss.

Cuba 6 Puerto Rico 3

Raul Gonzalez broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI double in the seventh inning to give Cuba the victory and the honor of winning pool play. Guillermo Aviles clinched it in the eighth with a two run single to up the spread by three. Leandro Martinez shut out the Puerto Rican bats for the last four innings to preserve the win.

All of Puerto Rico’s runs were scored on solo shots, the last one in the fifth inning by Cuban native Dayron Varona. Anthony Garcia hit his second homerun of the series in the first inning and Ruben Gotay slugged one in the fifth inning, the beginning of back to backs with Varona that tied the score at 3-3.

Frank Morejon hit a solo shot for Cuba in the third inning to score their first run. He also added an RBI double in the fifth and scored three of the six Cuban runs.

Mexico 8 Dominican Republic 1

Mexico got their first win but it did not help them advance in the playoffs since it was a foregone conclusion entering the game they were out of it. Mexico broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs, two of them driven in on a homerun by Justin Greene. Japhet Amador added a solo shot in the seventh.

Sergio Mitre worked six innings to get the win for Mexico.

Cuba Starts Off Strong in Series del Caribe

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Myworld was in Greensboro, North Carolina over the weekend coaching in a volleyball tournament so we missed the first weekend of the Series del Caribe. Below is a summary of the first weekend of activities.

Cuba 6 Venezuela 4

The first day saw Cuba knock off Venezuela in the opener. Yurisbel Gracial drove in three runs, including an RBI double in the first inning to drive in the second run of the game. Roel Santos got the inning started with a single and advanced to third after centerfielder Rafael Ortega committed an error. Yordan Manduley drove him in with a single.

Venezuela tied it with a run in the third. Back to back singles by Luis Sardinas and Rafael Ortega put runners on first and third with no out. Cuba stunted the rally turning a double play but it allowed the first run to score. In the fourth Luis Jimenez went deep with a solo shot to tie the game.

Gracial got the lead back for Cuba in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly. He scored Raul Gonzalez, who had started the inning with a single. Santos bunted him to second and Manduley advanced him to third with a single.

Cuba extended the lead to 5-2 with a two out rally. Santos started the inning with a walk, then stole second. Manduley walked and Gracial drove in his third run of the game with a single. Alexander Ayala drove in the second run with a single, pinch hitting for batting title winner Jorge Yhonson who had replaced the injured Alfredo Despaigne in left field.

Trailing 6-4 in the top of the ninth Venezuela loaded the bases. Luis Jimenez came to the plate with reliever Raidel Martinez having no place to put him. Martinez struck out Jimenez to end the inning and give Cuba the victory. The win may prove costly as Alfredo Despaigne had to leave the game with a pulled calf muscle.

Puerto Rico 7 Mexico 4

Puerto Rico got off to a good start despite an abbreviated season with a 7-4 win over Mexico. Both teams were tied at 4-4 entering the 8th but Puerto Rico scored three in the inning to put the game away. Anthony Garcia led off the inning with a double and David Vidal scored the go ahead run with a double. A wild pitch scored the second run and Dayron Varona sent one to the fence in center field for an RBI triple to extend the lead to 7-4.

In the bottom frame Mexico put runners on second and third with two out but Walter Ibarra struck out to end the inning. Miguel Mejia replaced Robby Rowland on the mound for the ninth inning, giving up only a one out single to Rico Noel, but retiring the other three hitters to earn the save and give the victory to Puerto Rico.

Venezuela 15 Dominican Republic 4

Venezuela battered Dominican pitching for 20 hits to rout the Dominican Republic. Recent National signing Balbino Fuenmayor went 5 for 5 with two homeruns a double and two singles. He drove in five runs and scored three times. Balbino got the scoring started in the second inning with a solo shot. In the third inning he made it 3-0 with a two run blast. Fuenmayor hit a two run double in the fifth just after the Dominicans scored three in the top frame to trim the lead to 4-3.

In the sixth inning after the first two hitters were retired by the Dominicans Rafael Ortega hit a two run homer and Rene Reyes also hit a two run homer to give Venezuela a commanding 10-4 lead. They scored five more in the 8th, Willains Astudillo and Alexi Amarista each contributing two run doubles to fuel the inning.

Raul Valdes got the start for the Dominican Republic and gave up four runs in four innings of work. The bullpen let the game get away allowing 9 runs in the last three innings Venezuela hit. Freddy Garcia started for Venezuela but was one out shy of getting the victory, allowing three runs.

Cuba 5 Mexico 4

Cuba sent Mexico down to their second loss, while they moved to 2-0 on Saturday. Cuba rallied to score three runs in their last two at bats to pull out the win. Raul Gonzalez led off the bottom of the 7th with a solo homerun. Frederich Cepeda tied the game later in the inning when he hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. In the 8th Raul Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Yoelqui Cespedes with the go ahead run.

Raidel Martinez came on to pitch the ninth and retired Mexico in order to send the Mexican faithful back home disappointed. Alain Sanchez went five innings in relief, allowing just one run to get the victory. He came on in relief of Cuban ace Yoennis Yera, who was not sharp, giving up seven hits and walking three to allow Mexico to score three of their runs.

Dominican Republic 6 Puerto Rico 3

The Dominicans scored five runs in the first two innings to bounce back from their Venezuelan loss in the opener. Edwin Espinal drove in the first two runs in the first inning with a two run single. Francisley Bueno pitched five innings of shutout ball to get the win.

The Dominican bullpen almost choked the game in the sixth with Samuel Deduno failing to retire any of the three hitters he faced. All of them scored to make the game close. Josh Judy was able to retire all three hitters he faced in the ninth to pull out the save for Dominican Republic for their first win.

Giovanni Soto gave up five of the six runs for Puerto Rico, failing to survive the second inning. He failed to retire the first three hitters he faced in the second inning and was pulled.

Venezuela 6 Mexico 4

The Venezuelan bats stayed hot, accumulating 14 hits in their second victory of the Series del Caribe. Willians Astudillo and Luis Domoromo led the charge with three hits apiece. Luis was a perfect 3 for 3 on the day with one walk. Rafael Ortega led the game off with a homerun, his second of the series for Venezuela. Astudillo hit a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie giving Mexico a lead they would not relinquish.

Chris Roberson hit a pinch hit two run homer in the 9th to put Mexico within two runs of a victory. A Fernando Perez single brought up pinch hitter Japhet Amador to represent the tying run. Venezuela went to Victor Capellan on the mound. An error by third baseman Niuman Romero put runners on first and third with one out. Walter Ibarra came to the plate representing the go ahead run. Capellan coaxed him into grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

After the first three days Cuba is the only undefeated team at 2-0. Mexico at 0-3 is close to being eliminated from the Series del Caribe they are hosting. They need a victory over the Dominican Republic in their final game of pool play just to survive. Venezuela is assured of advancing with their 2-1 record and Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico sit at 1-1, both needing one more win to clinch an advance.

Culiacan Wins Game Seven in Mexican Championship

Monday, January 29th, 2018

The Culiacan Tomateros will represent Mexico in the Series del Caribe after their exciting game seven 6-4 12 inning win over the Navojoa Mayos. Joey Meneses, who hit a two run homer earlier in the game, led off the 12th with a single to get the inning started. With the bases loaded and one out Alfredo Amezaga singled to score Meneses with the go ahead run. Jonathan Aceves added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly. Chad Gaudin came on to pitch the 12th and after giving up a leadoff hit struck out the last two hitters to earn the save and give Culiacan the championship.

Novojoa had a 4-3 lead going into the top of the ninth but Daniel Moskos could not close the game out. A lead off walk and Maxwell Leon double put runners on second and third with one out. An intentional walk loaded the bases to set up a double play but Sebastian Elizalde elevated the ball into the outfield to score Jose Chavez with the tying run.

Jesus Castillo was most of the offense for the Mayos. His solo shot in the bottom of the eighth had given the Mayos a 4-3 lead. He also added a two run homer in the bottom of the fifth.

Joey Meneses launched a two run homer for the Tomateros in the top of the fourth. Meneses finished the day with three hits, in addition to his two runs scored and two RBIs.

For Culiacan it is their first appearance in the Series del Caribe since 2015. Navojoa fans have not seen a champion since 2000 and they will have to wait another year to find one.

Japan Retains Number One Ranking in Baseball

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The United States earned more points than any other country in 2017 but it was not enough to surpass Japan for the number one ranking. For the third year in a row Japan is the number one ranked country in baseball. They earned the second most points in baseball last year and now lead the United States by 244 points. The 2018 season will be difficult for the United States to surpass Japan since they are not participating in the Under 23 Baseball World Cup in Nicaragua in October, one of the two tournaments that hand out the most points for the 2018 season. In a couple weeks the rankings could shuffle as points from 2014 expire, but if the United States should surpass Japan because of subtracted points their reign will be short.

Below are the top 12 teams in baseball, plus number 13 waiting to crack into the top 12. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Premier 12, which is the third most prestigious baseball tournament after the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

1. Japan (5658 points)
2. United States (5414 points)
3. Korea (4950 points)
4. Taiwan (3808 points)
5. Cuba (3677 points)
6. Mexico (3012 points)
7. Australia (2634 points)
8. Netherlands (2377 points)
9. Venezuela (2363 points)
10. Canada (2142 points)
11. Puerto Rico (1827 points)
12. Italy (1686 points)

13. Nicaragua (1636 points)

Novojoa First Team to Advance; Mexicali Follows

Monday, January 8th, 2018

The Novojoa Mayos beat the Hermosillo Naranjeros 4-3 to win their best of seven series in five. Randy Arozarena broke out of a slump with a 4 for 4 day, scoring two runs and driving in one. Jesus Castillo drove in three runs with his three hits. The two combined for 7 of the 10 Mayos hits and were responsible for driving in all four runs.

Eddie Gamboa picked up the win going 5.1 innings and allowing four hits and two unearned runs. Daniel Moskos put two runners on in the ninth but was still able to wiggle out of trouble to pick up the save.

The next day Mexicali blasted Mazatlan 10-1 to win their series in six games. The Aguilas hammered out 20 hits with Chris Roberson, Walter Ibarra and Luis Juarez leading the way with three hits each. Xorge Carrillo slugged a two run homer in the sixth inning and led all players in RBIs with three. Sergio Mitre pitched six innings of one hit ball, striking out five and walking none. Mitre gave up his only hit in the fourth inning and after Mexicali rallied for four in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-0 lead the Aguilas went to the bullpen.

Jalisco extended their series to a seventh game with a 2-0 win over Culiacan. Japhet Amador cranked a solo shot in the fourth and newly minted Yankee Jabari Blash added another solo shot in the ninth to account for all the Jalisco runs. David Reyes pitched five innings of no hit ball before turning it over to the bullpen for the final four innings.

Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico Begin Seven Game Playoffs

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Cuba will start their seven game playoffs Thursday. First place Matanzas goes against fourth place Granma. On Friday Las Tunas will play Industriales. Artemisa and Pinar del Rio failed to advance, with Pinar losing their last 12 games of the season.

Of the four teams still in the playoffs Granma is the defending champion. Don’t know when Alfredo Despaigne will suit up with the team. Perhaps he is waiting for the Series del Caribe to begin. Industriales is the government subsidized team that last won the Cuban championship in 2010. The two newcomers to the stage are Matanzas and Las Tunas. Matanzas has made the playoffs a number of times but have failed to win a championship. Las Tunas has always appeared at the bottom of the standings. Perhaps the defections are changing the landscape in Cuba and the talent of each of the provinces. Young blood is creating new champions.

The Mexican League seems to have abandoned their first half/second half format. The eight teams played a 68 game schedule and the top six advanced to the seven game playoff format. Jalisco plays Culiacan, the fifth and second place teams in the regular season, Hermosillo faces off against Navojoa the sixth and third place teams in the regular season and Mazatlan plays Mexicali, the fourth and first place team during the regular season. Obregon and Los Mochis were eliminated from the playoffs, with Los Mochis losing their last 17 games of the season.

The regular season Mexicali are the defending champions. Ironic they should be playing Mazatlan who were the champions before them. Both could still advance if one of the losing teams become the best of the three losing teams. Culiacan won the 2014/2015 season and Hermosillo won it in 2013/2014. Prior to those four it was Obregon, who failed to make the playoffs this year. If the Mexican League wants to make it six different teams to win the championship Jalisco or Navojoa needs to win it.

That would be asking a lot. Navojoa last represented Mexico in the Series del Caribe in 2000. Jalisco is a fairly recent franchise that came into existence for the 2014/2015 season. They were previously the Guasave Algodoneros. Guasave last won the Mexican League in 1971/1972.

The top six teams are advancing in the Venezuelan League with regular season winner Lara playing a best of seven series against sixth place Zulia. Second place Caracas plays fifth place Aragua and third place Magallanes goes to battle against Caribes. Margarita and La Guairá are the two teams eliminated from the playoffs.

The defending champion Zulia made it into the playoffs as the sixth seed. Aragua the fifth seed were the champion before Zulia. To stay consistent the fourth seed Caribes represented Venezuela in 2015 and third seeded Magallanes was the 2013 and 2014 champ. The top two seeds Caracas (2006) and Lara (2001) have not represented Venezuela in awhile.

So the leagues are pretty consistent. All three leagues have two teams who have never represented their country in the Series del Caribe or it has been some time since they represented them.

Nicaragua to Host U-23 WBSC Championship; Panama Under 15

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Nicaragua will host the Under 23 WBSC championship in 2018, playing the games at the newly constructed 15,000 seat Dennis Martinez stadium at a date yet to be determined. Despite all the points awarded for this event the No 2 United States and No 5 Cuba will not be playing in the tournament. The United States did not play in the qualifying round, while Cuba did not qualify. Below are the teams who have qualified for the games:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (4) - No. 9 Venezuela, No. 6 Mexico, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 16 Dominican Republic
Asia (3) - No1. Japan, No.4 Taiwan and No. 3 South Korea
Europe (2) - No. 8 Netherlands, No. 14 Czech Republic
Oceania (1) - to be determined
Wildcard (1) - No 13 Nicaragua

The Under 15 Hosts will be Panama. The teams competing in that tournament are:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (5) - No. 2 United States, No. 16 Dominican Republic, No. 5 Cuba, No. 15 Panama, No. 18 Brazil
Asia (2) - No. 1 Japan and No. 4 Taiwan
Europe (2) - No. 20 Germany and No. 8 Netherlands
Oceania (1) - to be determined

Winter League Pitchers Making Waves

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Most of the top prospects do not usually pitch in the winter leagues because of the number of innings pitching coaches want to save for their arms. The top prospects may have a couple starts, but that is only for those pitchers who were injured for most of the major league season and the need to get some work. The winter league is filled with pitchers who had opportunities but failed and now are trying to attract any team from the NPB, KBO, CPBL or the major leagues. Below are the pitchers who are doing well, but keep in mind the hitters they are facing are mostly at the AA level.

Radhames Liz (Estrellas) - Liz did not have success in the major leagues, but he pitched well in the bullpen in the NPB. His fastball used to reach the mid-90s but tended to be too straight. He will be 34 entering the 2018 season and myworld does not know what he has left in his 95 mile per hour fastball. He started the Dominican season pitching over 30 innings of ball without allowing an earned run. In his last outing he finally gave up two earned runs to raise his ERA to 0.50 after seven starts. The opposition is hitting him at a .153 pace and he has a 8/31 walk to whiff ratio in 35.2 innings.

Yunesky Maya (Aguilas) - Perhaps he is more comfortable pitching in an environment where they have a Latin culture. He struggled in his starts in the major leagues and the KBO, though he did pitch a no hitter in the KBO. In 8 starts in the Dominican Winter League he is 2-1, 1.72, with the opposition hitting just .214 off him. Not overpowering and at 6′0″ he needs his command to have success against professional hitters. A 7/28 walk to whiff ratio in 36.2 innings is evidence to some command, but not a lot of swings and misses with his pitches.

Jorge Lopez (Aguilas) - The second pitcher on this impressive Aguilas staff and the one best identified as a prospect. At 25 years of age next season he has a good opportunity to fit into the Brewers starting rotation with a good spring. In the minors last year he only pitched 103 innings bouncing between starting and the bullpen. With Aguilas he has started 10 games with a 2.29 ERA and a .221 opposition average. A two start stretch where he gave up 8 runs in 10 innings put a bad spin to his ERA. A 12/40 walk to whiff ratio in 55 innings.

Roenis Elias (Aguilas) - The second Cuban and the third Aguilas pitcher on this list, Roenis is still gunning for a starting spot in the Red Sox rotation. He has had some success in the majors but last year was a struggle (6.96 ERA) pitching at four different minor league levels. Rib and lat injuries limited his innings last year. The Cuban has made three starts in the Dominican League with a 1.89 ERA. He has limited the opposition to a .191 average, but his command has been a bit off with a 7/19 walk to whiff ratio in 19 innings.

Mitch Lively (Mazatlán) - Mitch has pitched in the Mexican summer league the last couple years. In his last appearance he pitched a nine hit complete game shutout, allowing just one hit. That hit was given up in the first inning and he retired the last 22 hitters he faced. His last two outings Mitch has given up just four hits in 17 innings without allowing a run. He has pitched six or more innings in his last six starts, stringing together a 7-1 record with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts. There was one horrific start where he gave up 8 runs in just under five innings to taint his ERA. The opposition is hitting .217 against him and he has a 8/42 walk to whiff ration in 52 innings.

Anthony Vasquez (Culiacan) - Last year he pitched for the Tigers AA and AAA teams. At 32 years of age he has yet to pitch in the major leagues. In eight starts in the Mexican Winter League he is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA. The opposition is ripping him at a .276 clip with a 11/46 walk to whiff ratio in 54 innings. Even in the minor leagues hitters had an easy time barreling his pitches for hits.

Guillermo Moscoso (Aragua) - The last time Guillermo pitched in the major leagues was in 2013. Last year he came out of a four year retirement to pitch in the Mexican summer league. He has added the Venezuelan winter league to his schedule and his innings have been dominant. In nine starts he has a 1.81 ERA, though the .243 opposition average is evidence that his pitches are not overpowering. He has yet to give up more than two runs in his 9 starts covering 49.2 innings.

Reinier Roibal (Zulia) - The third Cuban on this list two years ago pitched for the Phillies AA and AAA team. At 29 years of age he could still have some life in his arm. In nine starts Roibal has a 2.59 ERA with a .250 opposition average and a 10/40 walk to whiff ratio in 40.2 innings. Righthanders are hitting just .192 against him but lefthanders are stinging him at a .351 clip.