We have almost a full plate of winter league baseball at our disposal. Every league I have committed to covering here has begun, except for the Colombian League. Team Renteria updated the league page, saying that Play Ball! is scheduled for November 18. None of the rosters have been updated yet, but now we know when Opening Day is. I’ll bring you any and all Giants-related news from that league once we get it.
We’re into November in the Arizona Fall League, meaning the showcase is drawing to a close. The Rising Stars game was Saturday and the AFL championship game is November 19. Two more weeks of baseball in the desert.
The good news is Scottsdale no longer has the worst record in the league! They’re 10-16, six games behind Salt River in the East division. Also, Joe Panik made the Rising Stars roster for the East, the only Giants player to be featured in the AFL’s All-Star game.
Austin Fleet ran into some trouble on Halloween night versus Surprise, allowing three runs on four hits in one inning. He served up the long ball and took the loss in his first save opportunity of the fall season. He bounced back with two scoreless innings November 3. Fleet’s one bad game has pushed his ERA to 3.00 for the season.
Daryl Maday hasn’t played since October 20. I haven’t heard anything about why.
Seth Rosin made one appearance this week, a stellar one inning effort against Surprise on November 1. He allowed one walk and no hits while striking out one. Rosin has a 1.29 ERA and six strikeouts over seven innings so far.
Stephen Harrold has appeared in two games since the last update. He also slipped up a bit against Surprise on Halloween when he allowed a run and two hits in one inning but his next appearance, also against the Saguaros, was better: two scoreless innings with one hit allowed and one strikeout. Harrold’s looking good in the strikeout department with 12 in 12 1/3 innings.
Gary Brown didn’t play this week. His last game was October 22.
Brandon Crawford extended his hitting streak to 13 games with six hits over his last four games, including a home run November 4 against Phoenix. It was Crawford’s second homer of the year and now he has nine RBIs. The shortstop is hitting .317 in 14 games.
Panik, like his middle infield mate Crawford, has a hot hand. He went 9-for-17 with a home run and three RBIs last week and he pulverized Surprise pitching with a four-hit game. Panik has 65 at-bats in 18 games. He had a strikeout in two at-bats in the Rising Stars game and the East stars lost 11-2.
In the Mexican Pacific League, Tyler Graham is pacing the circuit with 94 at-bats. His team, Culican, is tops at 14-8, 1.5 games ahead of los Aguilas de Mexicali in the first half standings.
Graham’s week started out great with six hits in two games. He had three doubles in those games as well. I don’t recall seeing Graham play a ton, but I recollect him being a burner on the basepaths. 60 steals in Fresno this year (sixty! six-zero!) confirm that. Three steals here in the Mexican League is disappointing.
Still no Brett Pill. We will wait forever for him, it seems.
In the Dominican Winter League, there’s a three-way tie for first place going into Sunday’s games. Cibaenas, Licey, and Toros are all tied for first with a 10-6 record and Escogido is right behind them at 9-8, 1.5 games back.
Merkin Valdez resurfaced here, if you’re interested in obscure former Giants.
Juan Carlos Perez still leads the league with 23 hits and he’s still hitting well at 359. He’s played in four games since our last update and has three hits in that time. Still no home runs and only three RBIs, and his 10 strikeouts aren’t an encouraging sign.
Francisco Peguero picked up two hits and drove in a run October 30 against Aguilas. It was the only game where he got to hit last week. He was the starting center fielder and batting ninth in the order November 4 but was taken out of the game before he could get an at-bat. He has not played since.
David Quinowski did not play this week.
Felix Romero made one appearance for Estrellas and pitched 2/3 innings with two walks allowed. He hadn’t allowed a walk in his first five games before the November 1 game where he walked two.
Brandon Belt has put together a nice little run for himself over the last week. He has five hits over his last five games and he had an RBI against Cibao November 1. He’s back to playing the outfield here and there, which does not please me. He had two starts at first and moved to first base in another game. The rest of the time he’s been in left or right. Belt is tied for the most games played here with 17, and you’ll be pleased to know that he’s tied for second with 11 walks. ¡Es lo que me gusta ver!
Osiris Matos had one appearance for los Toros, a scoreless 2/3 innings outing with one strikeout. Matos hasn’t allowed a run over his last 2 1/3 innings in three games.
The Venezuelan League has a tight race going on, with four games separating the top five clubs. Since the Giants interests are all spread out around this league, it doesn’t do much good to spotlight any one club as an example. Just know that Magallanes is currently in the lead.
Jose Flores leaped into action on November 1 and is hitting well over his first four games. The third baseman is 5-for-12 with an RBI, three walks, and three strikeouts. He has walked once in each of his last three games. I remember Flores playing in San Jose and I liked his tools. I thought it was a tragedy that the Giants couldn’t figure out what to do with him, as he was often stuck at designated hitter. In A-ball, that’s often a bad sign. Here, he’s made four starts at third base. I like the upgrade for him.
Renzo Freite, Nelder Gonzalez, Ebert Fernandez, and Ydwin Villegas have yet to play for Zulia. Sad. I want to get a read on these guys.
Max Ramirez has played every day in November, though he has fallen victim to what I spoke of with Flores: being stuck at DH for three games this week. The rest of the time he was at first base. Ramirez has five hits over his last 18 games. He smacked a home run against Magallanes November 3 and drove in two runs in that game. Ramirez is walking at a somewhat balanced rate–eight walks to 19 strikeouts. It’s a bit low, but for a journeyman minor league catcher, I don’t hold these types of guys to the grindstone for tools and stats as much.
Edwin Escobar made one appearance for Lara on November 1 and allowed two runs (one earned) over three innings. Escobar’s ERA has been climbing steadily over his last three outings. The November 1 game was his second start of the year.
Jean Machi converted his fourth save of the year on November 2 against Lara. He pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Machi is 4-for-5 in save pops this year and has a 1.04 ERA in eight games.
Alberth Martinez did not play this week. His last two appearances before last week were pinch running assignments.
I expect Pablo Sandoval to rejoin Magallanes after he returns from the Taiwan All-Star Series, which ends Sunday.
Ehire Adrianza played three games last week and had three hits over his last two games. He had a triple November 5 against Zulia. Adrianza is hitting .435 in 23 at-bats so far.
Hector Sanchez didn’t play for about a week toward the end of October. He gor back into the squat November 1 and played in five games last week, three as a catcher and two at DH. Sanchez’s return to the lineup started a five-game hitting streak, still intact going into Sunday’s games. Sanchez also picked up two RBIs last week.
We have two new leagues to discuss, starting this week. The Australian League started up November 3 and the Puerto Rican League began on Friday.
The ABL has a strong international flavor, with players from India, South Korea, South Africa, England, Germany, and Japan. The Phillies, Twins, Rays, Blue Jays, and Pirates have quite a few prospects here. Sydney in particular has the highest concentration of MLB prospects.
The Giants have two players in this league, right-hander Cameron Lamb and catcher Alex Burg. They play for the Perth Heat–the top team in the ABL so far with a 3-0 record.
Lamb made his first appearance on November 4, a two inning outing with one walk and two strikeouts. Burg hit a home run in each game on a doubleheader on November 6. He has four hits and four RBIs in 10 at-bats and is seeing equal time at third base and catcher.
The Puerto Rican League has a few Japanese players, including a dude named Mu-Young Kim (aka a Korean) who was born in Japan. Zainichi, anyone? There are also quite a few Giants players here.
With only two games in the books for the 2011-2012 Puerto Rican League season, there’s not much to analyze. But I’ll give you everything I know.
Criollos de Caguas has four Giants players on the roster: newly re-signed Javier Lopez, catcher Johnny Monell, shortstop Jean Delgado, and outfielder Christian Diaz. No one from this group has played in a game yet. Delgado and Diaz were draftees this past summer from a draft with strong Puerto Rican picks for the Giants. Marlins mega prospect Mike Stanton is also here.
Gigantes de Carolina has two Giants players, pitchers Hector Correa and Jonathan Sanchez. I remember Sanchez playing for Carolina for a few seasons. Like the other Giants for Caguas, neither has played yet. Keep your eyes on this team: probable Giants free agent outfield signing David DeJesus is here! Yay (not)!
Los Indios de Mayaguez list Andres Torres and lefty swingman Gaspar Santiago on their roster. Torres is with Sandoval in Taiwan and will join los Indios when he gets back, I assume. Santiago hasn’t appeared in a game yet. Santiago made 14 starts in 38 appearances for Class-A Augusta this year and had 88 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings. I want to see more from Santiago in 2012, hopefully in San Jose.
If you still consider Carlos Beltran Giants property, know that he’s also on Mayaguez. I’m not holding my breath with him, to be honest.
The final introductory note I have for the Puerto Rican League is a right-handed pitcher named Beningo Cepeda, a right-handed pitcher whom the Giants drafted in the 48th round of the 2004 Draft. He spent the 2004 season with the AZL Giants and moved up to Salem-Keizer in 2005. He hasn’t done anything since per my MLB.com stats database.
With a name like Cepeda in the Giants system, it’s always worth watching. Beningo is on Mayaguez this year. Maybe he’ll recapture the magic.
No changes have been made to the Nicaraguan League teams. If there is any news in the coming weeks with Giants players in this league, I’ll update you. Otherwise I’m excluding this league from future updates.
I’ll be back next weekend with a week’s worth of Giants winter league news for you.