Winter Ball Notebook: Championship series continue
All of the league championship series in the Caribbean are either currently in action or they have been decided.
In the Dominican Winter League, we’ve seen Leones del Escogido already capture the league championship while in the Venezuelan Winter League, Navegantes del Magallanes and Cardenales de Laras are tied at one game apiece. In the Puerto Rican Winter League, Criollos de Caguas leads Indios de Mayaguez 3-2.
With the winter baseball season almost officially over, this will be the second to last winter ball notebook of the season for IBI.
Next week’s notebook will feature a countdown of the top 10 performers from the various winter leagues. They can be a participant from any of the Caribbean leagues as well as the Australian Baseball League and Arizona Fall League.
My top ten list is pretty much set, but if there is any player that you want to make a case for, then feel free to shoot me an e-mail with your thoughts.
But with that being said, here are my thoughts on Indians players competing in the various winter leagues this past week…
— Rob Bryson has now pitched in 20 games this winter for Criollos de Caguas, and his ERA is still a sparkling, perfect 0.00. En route to that perfect ERA, Bryson has pitched 20 innings, allowed seven hits, walked 11 batters and struck out 23. Bryson has also allowed one unearned run, and he has allowed some inherited runners to score. This past week, Bryson entered a contest in the 11th inning and managed to get two quick outs. However, he then walked two batters and then gave up the winning run after the next batter reached base on an error. The unearned run doesn’t affect Bryson’s ERA, but Bryson was saddled with the loss, and that seems to be fair. Had he not allowed the two runners to reach base via the free pass, Bryson would not have found himself in that situation. It was an unfortunate way to see Bryson make his first appearance the PWL Championship Series.
— In 48 games with Navegantes de Magallanes, Ezequiel Carrera has gone 48-for-178 (.270) with five doubles, two triples and two home runs. It’s somewhat surprising to think that Carrera is the last Indians offensive player to still be toiling away in one of the winter leagues. Carrera’s team has a legitimate chance to capture the VWL League Championship, and Carrera has been a big part of that as he’s been one of the most consistent performers since day one this winter. Hopefully, Carrera can provide similar production this coming season in Cleveland. Since he is left-handed, Carrera will likely have a good chance to earn the fourth outfielder job in Cleveland. Carrera could relieve the right-handed Drew Stubbs at times, which would help whenever a tough right-hander was the mound. Carrera’s season has been a fine one, so it would be nice to see that translate over to Cleveland this season.
— Paolo Espino’s winter season came to an end this past week, but he did manage to go out on a positive note. His final start may have been his best yet. On Sunday, the right-hander pitched seven innings, while striking out eight and allowing just one run, which came off of a solo home run. Overall, Espino went 1-2 this winter with a 3.96 ERA in 11 starts and 52 1/3 innings of work. He also struck out 48 while walking just 16. The numbers would be a bit more encouraging if Espino had not allowed 12 home runs, which is an average of more than one per start. Espino is certainly an easy guy to root for, but if he allowed this many home runs in winter ball, what would his numbers look like in the pros?
— Asdrubal Cabrera unfortunately ended his winter season on a bit of a sour note as he was 0-for-8 in his last eight at-bats. The scuffle at the plate affected his average, which dipped all the way down to .267 (28-for-105). Cabrera will now likely have some time off before spring training and the World Baseball Classic. Hopefully, all of this extra baseball that he’s been doing this year will ensure that he’s in great shape when the season opens. No one has really suggested this, but it would be nice to see Cabrera play with a bit of a chip on his shoulder this season considering all of the trade rumors from this past year. Sometimes playing angry can be a good thing.
— In 40 games, Andrew Campbell has now gone 39-for-141 with four doubles, one triple and four home runs. The ABL playoffs are about to start, and Brisbane is currently tied for the third and final playoff spot. Campbell has been one of the most consistent performers all winter and probably has not received the praise he deserves because the ABL is considered to be a less competitive league. Even still though, it’s hard to not be impressed with Campbell’s numbers, and they will likely only continue to get better if Brisbane does indeed make the playoffs.
— Quincy Latimore may have only played 13 games this winter, but he has made the most of them. In those 13 games, Latimore has gone 15-for-51 (.294) with five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. It will be interesting to see where Latimore is positioned this coming season. One would think that he could even make it as high as Triple-A Columbus, though Double-A Akron may be a more reasonable expectation. Like Campbell, hopefully Latimore can build off his strong winter season in the ABL this coming year. The numbers are nice, but for a soon to be 24-year-old, this kind of production should probably be expected in the ABL.
Statistics as of January 25, 2013
Steve can be reached via email at email@example.com.