It must be tough being a Bravo fan. Every year they seem to be the leagues whipping boy. No exception for this year as they are just one of two teams with a losing record. Below is an update of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Leones del Caracas (12-7)
Dixon Machado has always been known for his glove. In Venezuela he has been showing a power bat with four homeruns, a .377 average and an even more impressive 1.134 OPS. His 13 RBIs is tops on the team and a 13/7 walk to whiff ratio gives him a .482 OPS. Henry Urrutia may have the weakest arm in baseball with his lack of power hindering any left field playing time in the major leagues. He is one of three Leones players with three homeruns, with a .300 average, a .833 OPS and 12 RBIs. The Orioles may be needing outfielders next year.
The top two starters have been Joe Gardner (2-0, 2.21) and Luis Diaz (1-0, 1.83). Both have had four starts. Gardner does not get a lot of swings and misses with a 6/5 walk to whiff ratio for his 20.1 innings pitched. The best bullpen alternative has been Loiger Padron, who has yet to give up a run in his 9 innings of work, allowing just two hits and picking up two saves. He has been a better alternative than Mark Montgomery (9.45 ERA, 4 saves) who has had trouble throwing strikes.
Tiburones de la Guairá (11-8)
The 43 year old slugger Alex Cabrera is still knocking the balls over the fence with five homeruns and a .281 average. His son is major league catcher Ramon Cabrera, a 5′8″ catcher with the Pirates. Brian Burgamy (.338, 3, 12) leads the team in RBIs.
Jaron Long (3-0, 1.90) has been a solid starter despite the lack of strikeouts (11 whiffs in 23.2 innings). Alexis Candelario (2-0, 0.44) has a complete game shutout to his season. The only run he has given up in his three starts has been on a solo shot.
Cardenales de Lara (10-8)
Rangel Ravelo was hurt most of last year. He is making up for lost time with a .457 average, 4 homeruns and a league leading 19 RBIs. The Cuban born slugger that went to high school in Florida has an 18/8 walk to whiff ratio. Another RBI machine has been Jairo Perez (.296, 3, 15). He has only struck out three times in his 60 plus at bats. One of these days Carlos Rivero (.326, 3, 11) is going to get a major league opportunity. The Mariners and Red Sox did not see any room for him.
James Hoyt (1.08) has picked up five saves in his eight relief appearances. He has an impressive 1/12 walk to whiff ratio.
Tigres de Aragua (10-8)
Alex Nunez (.357, 0, 12) is the only Tigre with double digit RBI totals. With Dominic Brown released Carlos Tocci (.333, 0, 4) hopes to earn some playing time with the Phillies by having a good winter.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-1, 1.57) has been their most consistent starter. Robert Zarate (1-0, 2.35) has one complete game to his credit in his three starts. Vidal Nuno (2-0, 0.00) has yet to give up an earned run in his two starts covering 12 innings. He has only given up six hits. Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.14) has struggled in his three starts.
Caribes de Anzoátegui (9-8)
Not a lot of bats, but Gorkys Hernandez (.294, 0, 3) is a veteran major league bat more noted for his defense.
Patrick Johnson (1-0, 0.00) has yet to give up a run in his three starts. He has averaged five innings per start, giving up just eight hits in his 15 innings. Joe Testa (2-1, 2.35) has two wins and four holds out of the bullpen, tied for the team lead in wins.
Navegantes de Magallanes (9-9)
Ronny Cedeno (.308, 3, 11) leads the team in homeruns and batting average. Despite only one homerun Mike Freeman (.276, 1, 12) leads the team in RBIs. His 12 runs scored also leads the team.
Hassan Pena (1-1, 3.27, 7 saves) has been in the ball game for eight of the team’s nine wins. Yohander Mendez has gotten three starts and has yet to give up a run. He has averaged just over three innings per start, not enough innings pitched to collect wins. Jesus Sanchez (2-0, 1.50) has ugly numbers but two wins under his belt.
Aguilas del Zuila (8-10)
David Adams (.339, 4, 9) has been showing some pop in his bat. He has a 1.035 OPS and a 10/8 walk to whiff ratio. Jose Pirela (.458, 1, 4) has a higher average and OPS (1.177) but he has 40 fewer at bats to match his production. Franklin Barreto (.158) is showing some struggles on offense and defense (5 errors).
Stephen Fife (0-1, 2.25) has four consistent starts.
Bravos de Margarita (4-15)
Jose Osuna (.361, 2, is their big bat, leading the team in RBIs.
Sergio Perez (1.56) has yet to get a victory despite four solid starts.