Cardinals Winter Notebook 6: DR, PR, NIC, COL

Winter ball results from St. Louis Cardinals prospects competing in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua and Colombia this past week. Anthony Garcia is PR’s home run leader.

Stats through December 15th.

Dominican (Winter) League

Aguilas Cibaenas –
Record for the Period: 5-5
Overall Record: 26-18
Standing: Tied for second with the Gigantes de Cibao, two behind Estrellas Orientales.
Aguilas’ .500 mark resulted in a two-game loss to Estrellas in the standings, dropping them into a tie for second.

- Carlos Martinez (St. Louis): Martinez’ second start came on the 7th against Licey (16-24), the same team against which he made his 2014 Winter League debut on November 30th. The right-hander improved on his two-run, 3 1/3 inning debut by holding the Tigres to a tally on four hits over six. Three of his four hits given up occurred in the third, giving the opposition is brief 1-0 lead. Martinez fanned five, picking up his first win.

Overall, the 23-year-old has tossed 9 1/3 frames, yielding three runs on seven hits while fanning eight and not issuing a free pass. That works out to a 2.89 ERA/1.49 FIP, 0.75 WHIP and a .219 Batting Average Against with a .292 BABIP. St. Louis is reportedly limiting him to 25 innings in all for his winter ball stint.

Puerto Rico League

Criollos de Caguas –
Record for the Period: 5-2
Overall Record: 20-10
Standing: First, three ahead of Mayaguez
Caguas strengthened its hold on first, moving an additional two games ahead of second-place Mayaguez.

- Justin Wright (Memphis): For the second time this season, Wright experienced a lengthy nine-day dormancy followed by two relief appearances. This time he sat from December 2nd through the 10th before seeing action on the 11th and 12th. Wright faced the minimum in an eventual 13-4 loss on Thursday, notching two called strikeouts but experienced up-and-down results the next day. The lefty entered in the bases-loaded fifth with two outs and got the opposition’s number five bat to fly out to center, maintaining a 5-2 lead and raising his cumulative inherited runners’ numbers.

Of the seven runners in scoring position that Wright has inherited, over five appearances, only one has scored on him. But he gave up a double and free pass to his first two batters before getting the hook the next inning, both of whom subsequently crossed the plate.

Overall, his 12 relief efforts cover 10 frames with nine hits and five walks resulting in seven runs. He has fanned 10 and has a 6.30 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, .237 BAA and .296 BABIP.

Gigantes de Carolina –
Record for the Period: 5-3, one postponed
Overall Record: 14-15
Standing: Third, 5 ½ behind Caguas
Carolina’s 5-3 record moved them into third but dropped them another half-game behind the pace set by Caguas.

- Juan Caballero (Johnson City): Caballero relieved twice, on the 2nd and 11th, struggling in both outings. The righty was brought into a tough situation on the second with runners at first and second and none out in a 1-1 game. A throwing error on former Cardinal Ruben Gotay’s sac bunt exacerbated the situation, loading the bases. Back-to-back walks forced in two runs before Caballero recorded a sac fly and pop out, ending both the inning and his outing. On Thursday the 22-year-old began the eighth with a 13-2 advantage that was a 13-4 lead by the time the inning was over. Caballero loaded the bases on a single-walk-single sequence to his first three batters before recording two sac flies and a swinging strikeout.

He has now pitched 12 innings in six games, one start, yielding six runs, four earned, on 11 hits and six free passes with 13 strikeouts for a 3.00 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 1.42 WHIP and .344 BABIP. The opposition is batting .268 against him.

- Anthony Garcia (Palm Beach): Garcia followed a week in which he posted a line of .333/.417/.714/1.131 in 21 at bats over six games by going .370/.469/.815/1.284 in 27 at bats over seven contests. The 22-year-old slammed four long balls while driving in 12 and touching home six times.

Garcia has a cumulative line of .317/.421/.663/1.085, 32-for-101 in 29 games with six doubles, a triple and nine home runs. Garcia has worked 16 free passes versus 21 strikeouts and has a .319 BABIP and .337 ISO. He is among the league leaders in batting average and leads the league in OPS, runs scored and home runs.

Cangrejeros de Santurce –
Record for the Period: 3-4, one suspended
Overall Record: 13-16
Standing: Fourth, 6 ½ in back of Caguas
Santurce slipped back into fourth, dropping another 2 ½ games off Caguas’ lead.

- Jonathan Rodriguez (Memphis): Rodriguez made the local news recently as part of a multi-player swap between bottom dwellers Santurce and San Juan. The trade was voided for competitive balance reasons and the teams declined the appeal.

Rodriguez did nothing on the field to improve his value, going 1-for-13 in four games with a double, base-on-balls, run scored and RBI to go with four strikeouts. Defensively, he started at first, third and right as well as acting as the designated hitter and batting either seventh or fifth.

Rodriguez’ overall line: .141/.264/.192/.456, 11-for-78 in 24 games, 23 starts with a double, three triples, 12 walks, five runs scored and six knocked in. He has fanned 27 times, stole one base in three tries and committed three errors.

Nicaraguan League

Indios del Boer -
Record for the Period: 5-6
Overall Record: 17-13
Standing: First, a half game up on the Tigres
Boer maintained its half-game lead on the Tigres despite a losing record for the period.

- Jhonny Polanco (Peoria): He faced the minimum in the ninth in a 3-1 loss on December 2nd, fanning once. A week later, the right-hander allowed two runs on a hit and two walks, one intentional, while recording two outs in the seventh. On Friday, Polanco was charged with two runs on two hits and a hit batter in 1 1/3.

Overall, he has tossed 10 1/3 innings over 11 games, permitting 11 runs on 11 hits and seven walks, three intentional, while fanning 11 and garnering four saves. Polanco has a 9.58 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 1.74 WHIP with a .379 BABIP. The opposition is batting .275 against him.

Colombian League

The league runs from November 7th through January 7, 2015 with a postseason following through January 25th. It is comprised of four teams and has a Home Run Derby scheduled for December 12th with the league’s All-Star Game the next day.

Toros de Sincelejo –
Record for the Period: 2-5
Overall Record: 12-12
Standing: Second, one-half game behind Caimanes

Ronald Castillo (Peoria): Castillo has 11 hits in 47 at bats with a double, five walks, five runs scored and 10 RBIs. The 22-year-old has struck out 10 times and is one-for-one in stolen base attempts. Castillo has committed a fielding error. His line: .234/.302/.255/.557.

Caimanes de Barranquilla –
Record for the Period: 5-2
Overall Record: 16-9
Standing: First, 3 ½ up on Toros and Tigres

Jonathan Escudero (Johnson City): The right-hander has given up six runs, two earned on six hits and five walks in 6 1/3 frames. Escudero has fanned six and has a 2.84 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 1.74 WHIP, .222 BAA and .286 BABIP.

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