Winter Ball Review

Arizona Fall League:
The AFL has been rolling for a couple of weeks now with seven of the requisite Yankees taking part. The AzFL rising stars showcase will feature two of the baby bombers in Mike Adams and hurler Mark Montgomery. The showcase game isn’t so much about the hot hands as it is big names, and the omittion of Slade Heathcott could likely be due to a flush outfield situation.

Dellin Betances, who had fallen from grace earlier this year with a demotion to AA due to a horror show of command may be finding himself pitching into a new role. Dellin was one of those guys who possessed an enormous ceiling, but a low chance of achieving his potential. A move to the pen would put him right where he was pegged to wind up; a lesson for those who set their expectations at the height of possibility and hang from the rafters screaming when it doesn’t happen. Dellin opened the AFL with shades of his MiL performance allowing two runs in 1.2 IP with 2 BB’s and a K, but bounced back in his next two games to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings with 6 K’s while walking only one. If Dellin could find success pitching out of the pen he may just have a future in the BX after all. Fellow right hander Mark Montgomery has continued his dominating of hitters; after allowing a run in his first game Mark has gone on to throw zeroes, totaling 13 K’s in 7.1IP and walking 4. Mark will supposedly get a long look during ST next year and is a strong candidate to join the team at some point in 2013. Zach Nuding and Dan Burawa, who suffered from back issues all year have not fared so well. Zach has allowed 9 runs over 10.2IP, while Burawa has struggled to the tune of a 14+ ERA, allowing 10 runs over 6.1IP. Burawa has some major cobwebs to clear out so maybe this is just a result of not pitching this year.

This brings us to the position players. Both Slade Heathcott and David Adams have gotten off to a rather slow start. Slade is putting up a .200/.364/.200/.564 slash while David a .220/.333/.317/.650 line. The bright points are their defense thus far and the propensity to take their walks; Slade leads the team with 9 free passes (11 K’s) while Adams has taken 7 (4 K’s) so far. Austin Romine has had a nice start to the short season. After missing nearly all of the year for SWB, Romine leads the Scorpions in both OBP and BA (minimum 20 PA) while commiting zero errors along with a 6/7 K/BB rate. We’re talking 41 or fewer AB’s for these guys so the small sample size warning is in full effect.

Quick rundowns of the other action:

Domican Winter League:

Relievers Juan Cedeno and Kelvin Perez have gotten off to a good start in the DR; Cedeno throwing 4.1IP and allowing zero runs on four hits with a pair of K’s and a BB. Perez has gone 2.1IP while giving up zero runs on 2 hits. He also has a pair of K’s and a BB. Jose Ramirez has only gotten into one game pitching 2 scoreless innings giving up two hits with a BB and a K. Lefty Francisco Rondon has recorded two outs thus far yielding a hit with no ER’s, BB’s or K’s. Zoilo Almonte has seen next to no playing time appearing in one game recording a strikeout in one AB. I haven’t seen anything about an injury but I update if anything comes up. Melky Mesa is our other position player in the Dominican, going 6-23 with 5 runs scored, a double, two HR’s, 3 BB’s and 9 K’s. Still hacking away but at least he’s producing.

Mexican League:
This has been, and still is Ramiro Pena’s world for the last few years. The kid always seem to mash down here. Granted it’s generally considered a hitters league, but it’s still a kick to see Pena put up video game numbers. So far he’s 13-36 on the year with 5 doubles, 2 HR, 5 RBI’s with 7 BB’s and a SB, and this is a down year for him. Mustelier joined Ramiro in the Mexi League and has gone 13-50 hitting 3 doubles, a pair of homers and drove in 7. He’s also K’d ten times while walking only twice. Not the average you’d expect but it’s still a small sample we’re looking at here. Walt Ibarra rounds out the bats and has been a bit chilly thus far. He’s 6-28 with a home run and a RBI.

On the pitching side, Gio Gallegos got a scoreless inning in, allowing one hit, striking out one and walking nobody. Felipe Gonzalez has pitched and ugly 3.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits with 4 BB’s and 2 K’s.  Luis Niebla has gotten the most work; 9 innings of two run ball over 4 games. He’s struck out 4 and walked 3. Cesar Vargas rounds out the arms pitching 3.2 innings allowing zero runs on three hits. He’s racked up 7 K’s while walking only one.

 Venezuelan Winter League:
Utility man Jose Pirela leads the hitters in the VWL, so far he’s at 17-54 scoring 9 runs with 4 doubles and a HR. He’s drawn 9 BB’s and K’d 9 times. He also has a pair of stolen bags and two HBP. Gus Molina has gone 8-37 with 6 runs scored along with a double and five! HR’s, driving in eight. Lot’s of taters. Fellow catcher Jose Gil has played in 6 games hitting a stone cold 3-17 with a run, an RBI and 4K’s. Ramon Flores has also seen a bit of action, playing in 6 games so far going 2-9 with 2 runs scores, a BB, a K and a HBP. Francisco Arcia and Ali Castillo have seen very limited action with a lone hit between them.

Left hander Vidal Nuno has made it to the hill in 5 games, pitching 8.2 innings of 0ER ball on 2 hits with zero walks and nine K’s. Jon Meloan has seen 5.2 innings of work, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, walking a pair and striking out six. Pedro Guerra has 6IP under his belt thus far and allowed 5 runs on 9 hits, walking 6 and striking out only 3, as well as giving up a pair of HR’s. Not exactly characteristic of Guerra.

The Puerto Rican League will be under way in just over a week; it sounds like both Angelo Gumbs, who missed significant time with an elbow injury earlier this year will be joined by Adonis Garcia. We should have some further roster updates by next weeks reviews of the Winter Leagues.

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Posted on October 29, 2012, in Minor League Updates. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. great review man. lots of info.

  2. also stinks to see Slade getting off to a bad start. Good things from Montgomery though.

    • Slade is doing fine.

    • Montgomery is looking like the real deal….he’s done it at the AA level and continues to impress in a hitter heavy league in AZ. Hoping Betances gets his stuff together for an inning at a time; T Franklin had said part of his issues were concentrating over consecutive innings so the move to the pen might help his overall command issues.
      With Soriano likely to opt out and a possible no-show for Mariano well need the extra arms for the pen. Aardsma and Joba playing up to their potential would help a ton as well.

  3. Just saw a funny picture of the Hurricane on Facebook with a picture of A-Rod over it. The caption read “rename the hurricane A-Rod so it won’t hit anything”

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