Magallanes Navegantes (3-2), 11-4
The veteran Richard Hidalgo is still suiting up in Venezuela, but with his latest 0 for 14 slump he is seeing a lot more bench time. The slump has dropped his average to .171. Jose Altuve is hitting a sweet .333. It is rare when his batting average is anywhere below .300. Recent arrivals Marcos Vechionacci (.385) and Ezequiel Carrera (.357) are trying to reinvigorate the offense and could result in decreased playing time for Hidalgo and Lorenzo Cain (.212).
Jerome Williams went six innings and gave up his first run of the winter, but it was unearned. That means his earned scoreless streak has extended to 17 innings to start the season. He is also 3-0. Straight from the World Cup and Pan Am games Andy Van Hekken got his first start in Venezuela and picked up the loss, giving up three runs in six innings of work. Andy only gave up one run in his two starts covering 14 innings in World Cup action.
Caribes Anzoategui (6-0), 10-6
The hottest team in the league went the week without a loss to move into second place. Jeremy Moore had a leadoff homerun and drove in six runs in his last three games to lead the offense. He is hitting .333 with a .549 slugging percentage and his 10 RBIs are second on the team. Mike Wilson went deep in two straight games and has a six game hitting streak to coincide with the undefeated streak. His average is at .191 and except for one game of two hits, all his games in the streak have been restricted to one hit. Dmitri Young’s comeback has hit a bump. His recent 0 for 17 slump has dropped his average to .120.
The winning streak has been carried by good pitching with 35 year old Alex Herrera getting the best start of the year. He tossed a complete game 5-hit shutout to get his first victory, striking out 11 while walking none. He also three six innings of one run ball to begin the week, but did not get a decision for that effort. The 15 innings of one run ball lowered his ERA to 3.42 for the winter. Andrew Baldwin (2.41) and Renyel Pinto (2.50 ERA) also got seven inning victories to improve their records to 2-0. Baldwin gave up two runs and Pinto just one. With the extended starts, the bullpen got a rest, but Jon Hunton still picked up two saves to give him five for the year and give him four saves in his last four appearances.
La Guaira Tiburones (2-3), 10-6
The walk machine Gregor Blanco was 6 for 12 in his last three games with two walks. That translates to a .571 OBA.
Les Walrond got his first win, throwing six plus innings of one hit ball. During the outing he struck out seven and walked just one. His ERA dropped to 0.96. Enrique Gonzalez picked up a couple saves last week to give him four for the winter. During that four save streak he struck out nine hitters, giving up only one hit. That translates to striking out 9 of the 13 hitters he faced.
Aragua Tigres (3-2), 9-7
Lastings Milledge is being courted by a Japanese team as a result of his .316 average. If you want to wear the bling you can’t do that on a minor league salary. He has a four game hitting streak where he is 5 for 15, but with five strikeouts. He is tied for the league lead in doubles with six.
Deunte Heath picked up his first win throwing five innings of 3-hit shutout ball. He was a bit wild walking four. This was his second start of the week. He took the loss in the first start giving up three runs in four plus innings. He is now 1-1, 2.08.
Caracas Leones (3-3), 9-7
Not a lot of hitting going on in Caracas. Jose Lobaton was given the starting catching job when the Rays looked like they were out of the playoff chase, but his .118 average and the Red Sox collapse took away his playing time. He is only hitting .143 for the Leones, hitting a 0 for 13 streak. Daniel Mayora is second in the league in RBI’s and an 8 for 23 week put his average at .315. He drove in four runs for the week.
Michael Fiers picked up a win with five innings of two hit no run ball. In seven innings of work he has yet to give up a run. Joe Bisenius gave up only one hit in his five inning start, but three walks allowed two runs to score. His ERA is 2.45 after three starts.
Lara Cardenales (1-4), 5-11
Luis Jimenez had a two homerun game last week to put him one behind league leader Bryan LaHair. He had a 10 for 18 stretch with four homeruns, but a recent 1 for 9 streak dropped his average to .317. Alex Liddi (.136) and Cesar Izturis (.087) are really struggling early in the season. An 0 for 14 streak with six whiffs may give Alex a lot of pine time. Cesar is at least drawig walks, which puts his OBA at .344.
Nicaraguan Erasmo Ramirez got two starts last week. He won one with six innings of 2-hit shutout ball then lost the next, giving up two runs in just four plus innings. After four starts he is 2-1, 1.74. The older brother of King Felix, Moises Hernandez has not inherited his brother’s pitching moxy or his stuff. He has achieved a 20.77 ERA after four appearances and the opposition is hitting him at a .556 clip. They may keep throwing him out there just because he has got his brother’s genes or maybe it is only his jeans.
Zulia Aguilas (2-4), 5-11
Despite his team’s struggles, Jose Pirela and his .406 batting average lead the league. He had two 3-hit games but the 9 for 24 week still dropped his average. Only three of his 26 hits are for extra bases, but he did hit a homerun his last game. Seth Bynum leads the team in errors with five and his average is near the bottom at .122. That will draw a scout’s inattention. Half of his six hits have gone over the fence though. After a pinch hit 3-run homer to end the previous week he finished last week 0 for 17.
Josh Schmidt has been one of the better pitchers in the league. He threw six innings of shutout ball, lowerig his ERA to 1.08. Despite that he still is without a victory in three starts. Righthanders are only hitting .111 off him. Dwayne Pollock picked up his first win with seven innings of 4-hit shutout ball. His ERA is at 2.25 after three starts. A third excellent outing was thrown by Austin Bibens-Dirkx, six shutout innings where he picked up his first victory to move to 1-2. Unfortunately, earlier in the week he had picked up his second loss, getting knocked around for four runs in just five plus innings. Despite the three excellent starts, the Aguilas were still only capable of picking up two wins.
Margarita Bravos (2-4), 5-12
The just released by the Rangers Sean Burroughs has joined the Bravos to get them out of the basement. In his first three games he hit .455, driving in three and scoring three.
Luis Chirinos picked up one of the two victories for the Bravos last week, throwing six innings of one run ball. He gave up four hits. The outing lowered his ERA to 4.66 after his first two starts were stinkers. Ronald Belasario let a little success get to his head and lost his bullpen job with the Dodgers. He has pitched in five games and has a 2.08 ERA, with one win, one loss and one save with the cellar dwelling Bravos.