Dominican Winter Update

Many of the veterans have stopped playing in the Dominican Republic winter league, but there are a number of high level prospects getting some extra at bats or innings for some of the teams in the Dominican. That may be because of the uncertainty that exists in Venezuela, with major league teams preferring to send their top prospects to the Dominican Republic for more seasoning rather than the more volatile Venezuela.

Estrellas Orientales (13-60

A couple Guerreros are shining in the Dominican. Gabriel Guerrero is the nephew of Vladimir and has ripened past his prospect status. He still leads the team in RBIs (12) and has a .302 average. Gabriel has been claimed on waivers a couple times, currently hoping to make it for the Reds. Another prospect turned journeyman, Junior Lake (.309) leads the team in homeruns with three and runs scored with 11. Fernando Tatis Jr. is their big time prospect, hitting just .245 with one homerun and three RBIs. He does have a 9 to 5 walk to whiff ratio for an impressive .357 OBA. Defensively, he has had his issues at shortstop with six errors.

Radhames Liz is having success as a starter. He has only given up one unearned run in four starts and 19.1 innings. A 6/17 walk to whiff ration indicates his stuff is not as powerful as it once was when he routinely hit in the mid-90s on the radar gun. Unheralded Yankee prospect Nestor Cortes has only given up two runs in three starts covering 16 innings for a 1.13 ERA. He won two of his three starts after pitching six shutout innings in each start. His last start he did not allow a hit in six innings.

Gigantes del Cibao (11-8)

Eloy Jimeniz is showing an elite bat with his .373 average leading the league. He also has plugged four homeruns and driven in 20. Four prospects struggling are Richard Urena (.182), Sam Travis (.156), Rafael Bautista (.143) and Jose Siri .105. Urena did hit his first homerun in his last game.

Paul Clemons is pitching well for the Gigantes. In four starts he has a 1.80 ERA. He has given up just two hits in 12 innings in three of his four starts, but finding the plate has been difficult with 10 walks. He has a 12/7 walk to whiff ratio in 15 innings. Clemons is a free agent after not being resigned by the Twins.

Aguilas Cibaenas (10-9)

Wilmer Difo has only played three games but he is hitting .462. Korean Jung Ho Kang is finding the one year layoff tough with a .133 average. Normally not a swing and miss guy, Kang has struck out 21 times in just 17 games. He does have one homerun and is tied for third on the team in RBIs with 9. Veteran winter ballers Ronny Rodriguez (.325, 3, 10) and Juan Perez (.293, 3, 13) have been the more productive bats.

Jorge Lopez has been lights out for Aguilas. In five starts he has only given up three earned runs for a 0.99 ERA. The opposition is hitting just .165 against him. Cuban Yunesky Maya is hoping to rejuvenate his career. In four starts he has a 1.29 ERA, but five of the 7 runs he has given up have been unearned. In 14 innings Maya has just 7 whiffs and the opposition is hitting .273 against him.

Toros del Este (9-10)

Raudy Read has gotten off to a good start with two homeruns in his first two games. Teoscar Hernandez leads the team in RBIs with 11 but he is only hitting .227. Jorge Mateo recently had a big game with two homeruns to raise his total to three. His biggest contribution has been on the basepaths with 10 stolen bases in 10 attempts. The one concern is his 1/17 walk to whiff ratio dropping his average to .260.

The top pitcher is Elih Villanueva with a 1.37 ERA in four starts. The veteran 31 year old has not given up more than one run in his four starts.

Leones del Escogido (8-11)

The cream of the crop lies at the bottom with Licey and Escogido, both clubs from Santo Domingo who have fallen on hard times the last couple years. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a gate attraction but his .231 average with no homeruns is not leading to victories. Tyler Austin may not be the prospect of Vladimir Jr. but he is trying to make the Yankees roster. His .160 average with just one homerun will give Yankee brass doubts. Veteran Starling Marte (.130) is also struggling, trying to get at bats after missing 80 games due to a drug suspension last year. No player on the team has reached double digits in RBIs.

Pitching is solid with the duo of Justin Haley (1.80 ERA) and Mike Mayers (1.06 ERA). Mayers has limited the opposition to a .138 average with a 2/21 walk to whiff ratio in just 17 innings. Justin may want to stay away from the plate more. His 1/15 walk to whiff ratio has also resulted in an opposition average of .329.

Tigres del Licey (6-13)

The last time Yamaico Navarro played in the major leagues was in 2013. With a 13/9 walk to whiff ratio and a .386 batting average he may have some major league scouts attention again. He is the only player on the team with double digits in RBIs (13). Dawel Lugo may be the top prospect on the team. He is hitting .289 with just one of his 13 hits travelling extra bases.

Onelki Garcia (2.70 ERA) has looked good in his four starts. He is finding the plate more with a 3/22 walk to whiff ration in 20 innings.

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