Cardinals Winter League Notebook: Wk 10, Pt 1

Results from St. Louis Cardinals prospects competing last week in the Dominican, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Anthony Garcia's comeback season in Puerto Rico was recognized.

The report includes results through January 13th.

Dominican (Winter) League

The postseason kicked off on December 27th and runs through January 17, 2014.

Aguilas Cibaenas –
Current Week's Round Robin Record: 2-3
Cumulative Round Robin Record: 6-8
- Jose Almarante: Almarante is not on the postseason roster.
- Angel Castro: Castro, the starter on Friday, received a no decision after tossing seven frames. After tiptoeing around a double, single and free pass for a scoreless first, the right-hander was not so fortunate in the second. Both tallies charged to Castro crossed that frame on three singles, one of them an infield, a walk and two errors that resulted in one of the runs being unearned. The 31-year-old settled down to retire 15 of the next 16 faced, allowing five hits and three base-on-balls while fanning four with five ground outs and seven fly outs. Castro departed with his squad tied a two all in what was one of Aguilas' two victories for the week. Castro's cumulative line: 3 G/GS, 3.24 ERA/5.66 FIP, 16.2 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 2 HR, 0 HB, 9 BB, 6 SO, 1.38 WHIP, .241 BAA, .240 BABIP
- Jermaine Curtis: After going 1-for-10 through his first six postseason games, Curtis saw time in only one game and that was a brief sighting. On Saturday he pinch hit in the eighth inning, flying out to flew out in a pinch hitting appearance with the bases loaded in the eighth, four runs already across and his squad up 10-0 and flew out to right to end the inning. Those four tallies were charged to former Redbird Maikel Cleto who was tossed after hitting a batter.
- Carlos Martinez: Martinez' performance see-sawed downwards last week as the right-hander was ineffective in his no decision on Thursday, yielding five runs, four earned, on five hits and two base-on-balls in four plus. Martinez retired the side in order in the first but ran into trouble immediately in the second, allowing the first two to reach on a walk and single before serving up a long ball right after a balk call advanced both runners into scoring position. Martinez did not help his cause in the third when he gave up two singles sandwiched around his two-base throwing error on a failed pick-off attempt that brought another across. The 22-year-old worked around a fielding error in the fourth but was given the hook after putting the first two on in the fifth via a single and free pass. The lead runner subsequently scored. Martinez fanned five with six ground outs and two fly outs. He has thrown 10 1/3 innings over three starts, allowing 11 runs, eight earned, on 15 hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts for a 6.97 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 1.74 WHIP, .313 BAA and .400 BABIP.
- Audry Perez: did not play

Nicaraguan League

Indios del Boer –
Jhonny Polanco's Boer team finished the regular season with a 27-21 record, a game ahead of second-place Rivas. Boar sat idle this past week, awaiting the winner of the semifinals between Rivas and third-place Chinandega. Rivas swept that series three-games-to-none in the series semifinals to advance to the best-of-seven finals against Boar, starting on January 15th and running through the 23rd.

Puerto Rico League

The Puerto Rican League's round robin tournament continues through January 17th with the top two teams playing a best-of-seven league championship series beginning on January 19th.

Criollos de Caguas –
Round Robin Record for the Week: 3-2
Overall Record: 4-4
Standings: Tied for second with Ponce, three games back
- Luis Mateo: Mateo's offensive difficulties carried over into the postseason as the shortstop's only hit in 10 at bats was a single. Although Mateo started all three contests, he was pinch hit for twice in what would have been his final at bat. Caguas' bottom of the order batter drew one free pass, fanned twice and committed a throwing error.
- Iden Nazario: remains on Caguas' reserve list.

Gigantes de Carolina –
Round Robin Record for the Week: 1-4
Overall Record: 1-7
Standings: Fourth, six games back
- Juan Caballero: Did not pitch
- Anthony Garcia: This week Garcia was honored by the Sports Journalists Association of Puerto Rico by being named the Comeback Player of the Year for the Puerto Rico Winter League. That may well have been the highlight of the newly turned 22-year-old's week. Garcia began hot in his five starts in right, with consecutive multi-hit games on Tuesday and Wednesday but finished the period in the midst of a 1-for-12 slump. His line for the period: 5-for-18 with two doubles, four walks, two runs scored, two RBI, six strikeouts and a stolen base - .278/.409/.389/.798. Garcia's postseason line to date: .241/.371/.310/.682/. 7-for-29 in seven games with two doubles, four runs scored, two knocked in, six base-0n-balls and nine strikeouts.

Venezuelan League

There were a couple of Venezuelan League-related items of interest this week. On the 6th, St. Louis claimed outfielder Rafael Ortega off waivers from the Texas Rangers. More on him below. On Thursday, the results of the voting for the Rookie of the Year were announced and Breyvic Valera came in second behind runaway winner Carlos Sanchez of the Chicago White Sox.

Tiburones de La Guaira –
Round Robin Record: 4-6
Standing: Fourth, four games back
- Rafael Ortega: Ortega appeared in 45 regular season games for the play-off bound Tiburones (Sharks) de La Guaira, going .240/.303/.290/.593, 24-for-100 with five doubles, nine walks, 15 strikeouts, 19 runs scored and three driven in. He went 2-for-4 in stolen base attempts.
In the postseason, the 22-year-old appeared in six of the Tiburones' first seven contests, all in a late-innings role. Twice he pinch ran before taking over in the outfield, twice taking over in left in the ninth (one of those was because the starting left fielder was tossed in the top of the ninth) and working a bases-loaded walk to bring in a tally in his only appearance strictly as a pinch hitter. Ortega finally got his first of two starts, both in center, on the 10th, batting lead off. To date he has gone 3-for-7 in nine games with a double, five runs scored, two RBIs, five base-on-balls, two strikeouts, one stolen base and one caught stealing, .429/.667/.571/1.238 with a .600 BABIP.

Coming next: Look for part 2 of this report, with a recap of Cardinals prospects' results from the Venezuelan League.

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