The 2013 Hermosillo Report - Wrap-Up Edition
At 2:43 AM Hermosillo time (4:43 AM here in Cleveland), Republica Dominicana (Leones del Escpgido) third baseman Donell Linares hit a long fly ball straight into the glove of Mexico (Yaquis de Obregon) right fielder Marlon Byrd, handing the host nation's representative a hard-fough 4-3, 18 inning victory and the title of baseball champions of the Caribbean.
For those of us used to Cleveland teams coming up just short in championship games/series, it is hardly surprising that the team with an Indian on it would lose in such a fashion. Besides the team failure of his Dominican squad, the final three games of Jose Ramirez's Caribbean series could hardly be hailed as an individual success...
2B, Republica Dominicana (Leones del Escogido)
7 GP, 7-31, 5 R, 4 RBI, HR, 2 2B, 8 BB, 8 K, 2 SB, 2 E
In the final two games of the round robin phase, Ramirez's performance at the plate was one of generally poor quality, albeit punctuated by a single flash of brilliance. In Wedneday's 11-6 win over Mexico, Ramirez went only 1-5 but that one hit was a three-run homer. However, his performance in the round robin finale, a 4-2 win over Venezuela (the supposed Navegantes del Magallanes), was unmitigatedly awful (0-5 with 2 Ks). He hardly redeemed himself in the field, either, picking up an error in each of the last two round robin contests.
His production picked up slightly in the final as he went 2-7 with 2 walks and an RBI, all while managing not to commit an error. However, picking up a couple hits is virtually automatic for a player who plays the entirety of an 18-inning game. Regardless of how one approaches this outing, it did serve to help bolster his flagging Caribbean Series slash line, bringing it up to .226 BA/.387 SLG/.417 OBP/.804 OPS.
How could somebody so dominant through the regular season and Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) round robin play so poorly in the Caribbean Series? Simply put, this is a matter of one of the pitfalls of the "reinforcements" system, namely, bringing on a player who has neither the momentum of having played in the LIDOM final nor the rest of having missed the playoffs entirely. Such a player has had just enough time off to rust, but not enough to truly recuperate, making him far less than fit for game action, much less so in the most important games of a team's season. Thankfully, Ramirez will have a few weeks to rest now before he reports to minor league spring training. Hopefully it's enough. Speaking of players who could use a nice, long rest right now...
RHR, Puerto Rico (Criollos de Caguas)
2 GP, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (all earned), 3 BB, 1 HR, 1 WP
Bryson made only one appearance in Puerto Rico's final two games, another 0.1 IP outing in the team's swan song, a 10-0 loss to eventual champions Mexico. Unlike his first outing in the tournament it was a scoreless affair marred only by a hit, a walk, and a wild pitch. The outing was still not terribly positive, however, as he allowed all three inherited runners to score. Looking at Bryson's less than stellar Caribbean Series numbers in the context of his nearly flawless league season, they appear to be the stats of a man worn out by a borderline year-round baseball season. Much like Ramirez, he needs to make the most of these precious few weeks of rest he has before he needs to be in Goodyear to prepare for the spring and summer season.
- First, I just wanted to get a rant off my chest that's been going through my mind ever since I saw the broadcast details for this year's edition of the Caribbean Series. The only US broadcast was a Spanish-language broadcast on ESPN Deportes. While I understand that this event appeals primarily to a Spanish-speaking audience, my question is: What on earth is MLB Network airing that they couldn't find the time to air the Caribbean Series in English? ESPN's English-language networks are too jam packed with other programming (especially college basketball this time of year) to carry the Series and I'm sure they'd be happy to monetize the English-language rights by sublicensing them to MLB Network. No offense to Australia and the Australian Baseball League (I'm personally a big fan of the ABL and Australian sporting culture in general. Aussie Rules football in particular is high-quality sports viewing if you ever get the chance to catch a game), but when MLB Network shows the ABL Championship Series, but can't find a way to air a tournament where last night's title game alone featured Major Leaguers such as Marlon Byrd, Hanley Ramirez, and Miguel Tejada, something is seriously wrong.
- Finally, I'd like to send out congratulations to both Ramirez and Bryson on highly impressive (seemingly all-conquering at times) winter seasons (the final stats should be up here on IBI fairly soon). Hope they can keep it up throughout the summer. Also, congratulations to the Yaquis de Obregon: 2013 Campeones de la Serie del Caribe. And last, but not least, congratulations to Hermosillo both on the new ballpark (I still see that eventually being a PCL park) and their successful hosting of this year's Series.
So that's it for the winter season for the Tribe (the ABLCS will be on MLBN this weekend but all the indians in that league are on teams who missed the playoffs). While there's never truly an offseason here at IBI, we do get to take it a little easier for a couple of weeks. Speaking of a couple of weeks, we are now exactly two weeks from the big club's preseason opener against the Cincinatti Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. Even better...
ONLY 2 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT!!!