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Winter Ball Notebook: Farewell Rondon

Winter Ball Notebook: Farewell Rondon
December 7, 2012
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With the 2012 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings taking place this week, many of us seemed to forget about the various winter leagues and all of the different Indians that are there honing their craft.

The Winter Meetings actually affected IPI’s coverage of the winter leagues to an extent as a current Indians winter baller was selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

On the positive side of things, the Indians actually acquired a player in the Rule 5 Draft who had had quite the winter ball performance earlier this season.

So, with all that being said, here are some thoughts deep and shallow in regard to winter ball participants from this past week…

— It was very tough to see Hector Rondon selected in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. The right-hander was selected in the second round by the Chicago Cubs. It was especially hard to see Rondon go considering the brilliant season that he had been putting together in the Venezuelan Winter League. Overall, Rondon has gone 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 20 games and 18 innings. The ERA does not tell the whole story about his performance as it’s still inflated from a rough initial outing. His fastball has once again been clocked in the mid-90s, and it at least appears as if Rondon might finally be able to move past all the injuries that have hampered his career. He obviously is no longer the prospect that he once was, but his performances in the VWL have helped him showcase his ability once again, and that’s probably a key reason as to why the Cubs decided to select him. We often say how winter ball statistics are overrated, but Rondon’s selection in the Rule 5 Draft seems to be evidence that winter ball performances to carry some weight. Plain and simple, I would garner to guess that the Cubs do not select Rondon if not for his impressive winter showings.

— For as impressive as Rondon has been in winter ball, unfortunately Carlos Santana has basically been the opposite. In nine games, Santana has now gone 5-for-32. Unfortunately, I have to be hypocritical here and say that we cannot buy into these numbers too much. It is only nine games, which is an absurdly small sample size for any hitter. Though, Santana’s struggles are a little more frustrating because of what an accomplished hitter he is. This is a guy who has hit double-digit home runs in the Majors and is a career .290 hitter in the minors. He is facing pitching that is nothing compared to what he faces on a daily basis, so it’s surprising that he has only managed five hits in 32 at-bats. It’s fine and completely understandable that he might be in a post-season slump, but I just expected a tad more production.

Luis Hernandez has been a great story so far this winter. The recent minor league signing has played in 17 games this winter and has only failed to record a hit in three of those games. Overall, the switch-hitter has gone 26-for-64 (.406). Hernandez is a long shot to ever make the Major League roster this upcoming season, but it is very hard to not take notice of this offensive surge that he is on. If there is a silver lining with Hernandez, it is the fact that he only has a total of 267 Major League at-bats over five seasons. That’s really not enough at-bats to determine if he could perhaps bring something to the table. However, Hernandez also has a career line of .254/.300/.337 in the minors, so it’s probably very unlikely that Hernandez is anything more than organizational depth. Still, his winter season has been something special.

— Indians right-hander Jeanmar Gomez made his winter ball debut last Friday in the VWL. Overall, Gomez pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed three hits and no runs. It was a pleasant surprise to see Gomez make an appearance in the winter league. A number of Indians fans soured on Gomez this past season because of his inconsistent performances, but he still is able to generate plenty of ground balls when he hits his spots, and he could be an option again in the future. At the very least, it’s good to see him getting some work in this winter as that will likely only help him come spring training.

— Catcher Roberto Perez has been quite good so far this winter. In 12 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League, the right-handed hitter has gone 11-for-40 with three RBI. Perez has really not hit in the Majors since his 2009 stint with the AZL Indians, so it’s nice to see him have some early success in the PWL. Perez is an interesting player because he certainly has the defensive skills that are needed of a Major League catcher. However, his offense has often been a liability, so it’s been difficult to really project him as a future Major Leaguer. One thing is for sure: for an offensive-challenged player like Perez, this winter season has to be considered a major positive.

— Left-hander Giovanni Soto has really been outstanding this winter. Overall, in seven games and 10 1/3 innings of work, Soto has a 1.74 ERA. Soto has not allowed an earned run since his second appearance on Nov. 14 where he allowed two. Since he spent a whole season last year in Double-A Akron, it will be interesting to see if the Indians decide to push Soto and have him start the 2013 season in Triple-A Columbus. Soto definitely has time on his side as he does not turn 21 until next May, so the Indians really have no reason to rush him along. However, with that being said, it’d be nice to see him in Columbus just for the simple fact that he is then closer to Cleveland.

— While the Indians unfortunately lost two players in yesterday’s Rule 5 Draft, they also gained one. The player that they acquired was former Rangers first base prospect Chris McGuiness. The reason that McGuiness is being mentioned in this Winter Ball Notebook is because he actually played earlier this season in the Arizona Fall League and took home league MVP honors. Overall, McGuiness went 26-for-92 in 25 games while hitting four home runs and driving in 27 runs. McGuiness also drew 13 walks and struck out only 16 times. We know it’s irrational to buy into minor league numbers too much, but McGuiness certainly boasts a nice résumé, so hopefully he has a chance to stick with the team during the 2013 season.

— It would not be a Winter Ball Notebook without mention of everybody’s favorite 20-year-old second baseman, Jose Ramirez. Ramirez is currently riding a four-game hit streak and overall, the switch-hitter has gone 33-for-97 (.340) this winter. He also still has more walks (15) than strikeouts (13). Ramirez has been so consistent throughout the 2012 season and into winter ball. It will be interesting to see how the national media regards him as a prospect once organizations like Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus release its team prospect rankings.

Stats as of 12/07/12

 

BATTERS LGE   G   AB   R   H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB     AVG     OBP     SLG    OPS
Aguilar, Jesus VWL 19 55 5 14 7 0 3 8 3 24 0 .255 .311 .545 .857
Battaglia, Ryan ABL 5 17 2 4 1 0 0 0 2 5 0 .235 .316 .294 .610
Campbell, Andrew ABL 10 33 2 10 1 0 1 3 4 6 1 .303 .378 .424 .803
Carrera, Ezequiel VWL 17 66 11 20 2 1 1 5 13 10 6 .303 .413 .409 .822
Cid, Delvi DWL 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Diaz, Juan DWL 34 96 11 25 5 1 1 11 4 20 1 .260 .290 .365 .655
Fedroff, Tim DWL 19 71 8 17 0 0 1 5 10 18 0 .239 .333 .282 .615
Gomes, Yan DWL 17 59 9 11 2 0 4 7 5 13 1 .186 .269 .424 .692
Hernandez, Luis VWL 17 64 10 26 6 0 0 6 3 8 1 .406 .433 .500 .933
Holt, Tyler AFL 17 60 8 18 0 0 0 8 5 10 4 .300 .353 .300 .653
McDade, Mike DWL 14 45 4 11 3 0 0 5 3 11 0 .244 .327 .311 .638
McGuiness, Chris AFL 25 92 5 26 5 0 4 27 13 16 0 .283 .370 .467 .837
Moncrief, Carlos AFL 11 42 6 7 2 0 1 1 6 19 3 .167 .271 .286 .557
Monsalve, Alex AFL 13 47 8 16 5 0 0 6 2 8 2 .340 .360 .447 .807
Perez, Roberto PWL 12 40 6 11 1 0 0 3 6 8 0 .275 .370 .300 .670
Ramirez, Jose DWL 28 97 20 33 3 1 0 14 15 13 7 .340 .430 .392 .822
Rodriguez, Ronny AFL 18 67 8 16 3 3 0 7 2 17 6 .239 .257 .373 .630
Santana, Carlos DWL 9 32 4 5 3 0 0 1 5 8 1 .156 .270 .250 .520
Spears, Nate DWL 6 16 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 5 0 .063 .200 .063 .263

 

PITCHERS LGE   W    L   G   GS   SV     IP     H   ER   HR   BB   SO     ERA   GO/AO    WHIP    AVG
Armstrong, Shawn AFL 0 0 5 0 0 5.2 2 0 0 4 3 0.00 0.27 1.06 .105
Berger, Eric VWL 1 4 8 8 0 38 41 14 2 8 34 3.32 1.23 1.29 .272
Bryson, Rob PWL 0 0 9 0 0 10.1 4 0 0 6 14 0.00 0.71 0.97 .114
Colon, Joseph PWL 2 2 5 4 0 18 15 7 1 7 20 3.50 2.44 1.22 .227
Espino, Paolo VWL 0 1 3 3 0 11.1 15 6 2 3 6 4.76 2.14 1.59 .326
Gomez, Jeanmar VWL 0 0 1 1 0 2.2 3 0 0 1 2 0.00 1.50 1.50 .300
Hagadone, Nick DWL 0 1 4 0 0 3 4 5 1 2 5 15.00 0.33 2.00 .308
Haley, Trey AFL 0 0 8 0 0 11 2 2 0 4 3 1.64 2.57 0.55 .065
House, T.J. AFL 3 1 6 6 0 27 20 9 0 9 26 3.00 1.53 1.07 .208
Langwell, Matt PWL 0 2 8 0 1 8.2 7 1 1 4 8 1.04 2.17 1.27 .212
Murata, Toru VWL 0 0 5 4 0 16.1 26 11 3 4 9 6.06 0.83 1.84 .347
Nieve, Fernando VWL 0 1 3 2 0 7.1 8 6 0 6 9 7.36 1.75 1.91 .276
Packer, Matt AFL 0 1 8 0 0 13.1 16 6 1 5 10 4.05 3.60 1.58 .327
Puerta, Breily VWL 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.50 3.00 .250
Rondon, Hector VWL 2 1 20 0 0 18 12 8 0 5 11 4.00 0.75 0.94 .194
Salazar, Danny DWL 0 3 5 3 0 14 12 6 1 4 17 3.86 2.00 1.14 .226
Soto, Giovanni PWL 1 0 7 0 0 10.1 4 2 1 6 13 1.74 1.71 0.97 .118

Steve can be reached via email at orbaneks@gmail.com.

User Comments

Tony
December 8, 2012 - 10:43 AM EST
For those saying Rondon should have been protected, I wonder why you think so and what kind of player you are thinking he is or becomes? Remember, he was a minor league free agent and was free to sign with any team. From what I heard there was little interest to sign him and he came back to the Indians. This was one of those weird circumstances where the Cubs have one of their big league staff coaches coaching on the Caracas team that Rondon is pitching for this offseason. Had they not had that then they probably don't take him, and he probably goes undrafted.
Dan
December 7, 2012 - 11:44 PM EST
Wow, we protected LARS ANDERSON ? Probably to not look stupid for trading Wright for him ..... now we lose Rondon to add to that pathetic move... it just keeps getting better and better.
Bric
December 7, 2012 - 7:49 PM EST
Rondon should have been protected.
Lars Anderson, or one of several pitchers could have been removed from the 40-man.
Doesn't make sense.

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