The Venezuelan Winter League Round Robin playoff series has begun and Marco Scutaro has continued to be one of the most important hitters on the Lions of Caracas. Although he has only collected three hits in 13 official at-bats during the four game round robin, he has a HR and three RBI. He also has three walks against zero strikeouts, continuing a winter league trend of excellent on-base percentage for the A's middle infielder. Scutaro finished the regular season with a .336 BA with three HR and 28 RBI. He also walked 20 times against only 17 strike outs and he stole six bases.
Javier Herrera has thus far logged time in two of the round robin games for the Lions, but he has yet to record an at-bat. Herrera had an excellent first season in the Venezuelan Winter League. The speedy centerfielder played solid defense and hit .275 with three HR and 12 RBI. He stole a league-high 11 bases.
Gregorio Petit hasn't yet appeared in the round robin, but he did contribute to the Lions late in the regular season. The slick-fielding shortstop collected eight hits in 26 at-bats (.302 BA), including a homerun and two doubles. He scored five runs. Petit spent the 2005 minor league season with the Kane County Cougars.
Off-season acquisition Chad Gaudin has been one of the stalwarts of the Magallanes starting rotation. The former Toronto Blue Jay and Tampa Bay Devil Ray hasn't appeared in the round robin yet, but he did put together a solid regular season. Gaudin threw 66.2 innings over 11 starts. He went 4-3 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Gaudin struck out 53 and walked only 18.
The Escogido Lions have had a lot of turmoil over the past week, beginning with the firing of Manager Bob Geren. Geren, who will serve as the A's bench coach next season and was the A's bullpen coach last year, was replaced initially by coach Mike Guerrero. However, the Lions tabbed Mako Oliveras as the permanent manager over the weekend. The Lions are currently 4-6 in the round robin tournament.
Despite the loss of Geren, the A's are still represented on the Lions. Jairo Garcia has appeared in three games during the round robin, allowing a run in 3.1 innings. Garcia was a star for the Lions during the regular season, posting a 1.01 ERA in 20 games. He struck out 25 in 26.2 innings of work.
Pitcher Mario Ramos has made two appearances in the round robin tournament, logging 10.1 innings. Ramos has pitched well despite having an 0-1 record. He has allowed four runs on only seven hits. He has walked three and struck out eight. Ramos went 4-1 with a 3.12 ERA and a .232 BAA during the regular season. He struck out 20 and walked eight in 26 innings.
On the offensive-side of the ball, outfielder Matt Watson has been struggling throughout the winter season. In the round robin, Watson has appeared in six of the ten games, but he has collected only four hits in 20 at-bats. He does have four RBI. Watson struggled during the regular season, as well, after joining the Lions midway through the season to replace injured A's teammate Freddie Bynum on the Lions' roster. Watson managed only nine hits in 46 at-bats during the regular season. Watson struggled last winter in the Mexican League, but it didn't affect his performance back in the States, as he had a solid spring training and he had a great AAA season which led to three major league call-ups.
Enigmatic hurler Juan Cruz is putting together another solid performance in the Dominican Winter League Round Robin. After starring in the tournament for Licey last year, Cruz is revving up for the Tigers again this year. He has made two starts and is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched. He has struck out six and has walked only one. On the flipside, Cruz has allowed a .279 BAA in the tournament.
Andy Shibilo, who was signed by the A's from the Independent Leagues late last season, has been playing for Hermosillo in the Mexican Winter League this season. Shibilo made 20 relief appearances for Hermosillo during the regular season, posting a 2-2 record with a 3.97 ERA. He struck out 17 and walked only four in 22.2 innings. He is 2-0 in the playoffs with a perfect 0.00 ERA in 3.1 innings of work.
Off-season minor league free agent acquisition Doug Clark has had a productive winter season for Navojoa. Clark finished third in the league in hitting during the regular season, posting a .324 BA. He also smacked 11 HR and drove in 42 runs. He also finished fourth in the league with 11 stolen bases. Clark hit two grand slams during the season and hit .378 in 45 at-bats out of the lead-off spot. Clark signed with the A's this off-season after spending his entire minor league career with the San Francisco Giants organization. He has been invited to spring training.
A's relief prospect Marcus Gwyn has been in the bullpen for Los Mochis this winter season. During the regular season. Gwyn made 20 appearances and struck out 21 in 23 innings. He allowed only seven runs and walked eight. Fellow Midland teammate Nick Mattioni is also a teammate of Gwyn's on Los Mochis. Mattioni has been a starter, going 3-0 in 10 starts. He struck out 49 batters in 47 innings of work. He did struggle some with his control, walking 20.
Winter League Update: Scutaro Still Producing
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