Winter League Pitchers Making Waves

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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.