Cards Winter Notebook 7: DR-PR-NIC-COL-PAN

Winter ball results from St. Louis Cardinals prospects competing in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Panama this past week. Johnson City’s Juan Caballero continues to pitch well.

Stats through December 21st.

Dominican (Winter) League

Aguilas Cibaenas –
Record for the Period: 4-2
Overall Record: 30-20
Standing: Second, two behind Estrellas Orientales.

Aguilas’ 4-2 record allowed them to keep pace with the pace set by frontrunners Estrellas Orientales and moved them ahead of the Gigantes, giving them sole possession of second place.

- Carlos Martinez (St. Louis): With St. Louis reportedly capping Martinez’ total innings pitched at 25 for the winter league season, Aguilas is carefully managing his starts. Ten days after making his second start, the right-hander took the mound again, launching his team to an 8-0 victory on Wednesday with three innings of work.

Martinez set the side down in order on two groundball outs plus a swinging K in the first before maneuvering around a landmine second. The Puerto Plata native surrendered singles to short and center, respectively, before notching a swinging strikeout. A soft grounder back to him loaded the bases but Martinez escaped via a force at home and his third swinging K of the game. He finished his stint with a one-two-three third on two more groundball outs and his fourth strikeout.

Overall, the 23-year-old has tossed 12 1/3 frames, yielding three runs on ten hits while fanning 12 and not issuing a free pass. That works out to a 2.19 ERA/1.25 FIP, 0.81 WHIP and a .227 Batting Average Against with a .313 BABIP.

- Nick Greenwood (Memphis): Greenwood’s winter league debut came the day after Martinez’ latest start, the southpaw picking up the win in the process. Greenwood began the fourth with the task of maintaining his squad’s 4-1 lead and accomplished that feat despite yielding a base-on-balls and wild pitching the runner into scoring position. He worked around a throwing error that allowed a batter to reach with two out in the fifth, recording four ground-, one line- and one fly-ball outs in all.

On Sunday, the league’s last game before a five-day Christmas break, Greenwood was part of Aguilas’ 5-3 win, although he gave up his first tally of the season. The 27-year-old pitched the third, yielding a two-out single and RBI double that turned into the third out when the base runner was nailed trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Greenwood fanned two, one looking.

Puerto Rico League

Criollos de Caguas –
Record for the Period: 1-2, one postponed
Overall Record: 21-12
Standing: First, 2 1/2 ahead of Mayaguez

Caguas’ first-place lead was cut from three to 2 ½ games ahead of second-place Mayaguez.

- Justin Wright (Memphis): Wright, whose usage by Caguas has been fairly erratic, did not pitch. 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: 3-1, one postponed
Overall Record: 17-16
Standing: Third, four behind Caguas

Carolina gained a game and a half on first-place Caguas this week.

- Juan Caballero (Johnson City): Caballero came through for the Gigantes in three relief appearances this week, two of them inherited runner situations. On Wednesday, the righty entered the fourth with the go-ahead run already across, another runner at second and two outs. He fanned his only batter faced, the Mets’ T.J. Rivera, who is among the league leaders in batting average, swinging to end the inning. Two days later Caballero was brought in with his team trailing 3-0 with none out in the sixth and former Cardinal Ruben Gotay on first. The Carolina native notched a strikeout and fly out before Gotay swiped second. Caballero notched his second K of the frame that should have quashed the threat, only to watch the batter reach in what was scored a wild pitch. A base-on-balls put runners at the corners but the inning finally finished on a fly out to left. Caballero was credited with his first win by tossing two scoreless frames on Sunday, working around a walk and wild pitch in the fourth and one-out single the next inning.

He has now pitched 15 1/3 innings in nine games, one start, yielding six runs, four earned, on 12 hits and eight free passes with 18 strikeouts for a 2.35 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 1.30 WHIP and .308 BABIP. The opposition is batting .226 against him.

- Anthony Garcia (Palm Beach): Garcia’s bat just keeps getting hotter and hotter, the outfielder compiling his third straight period of rising stats. Last week he posted a line of .370/.469/.815/1.284 in 27 at bats which followed a week in which he went .333/.417/.714/1.131 in 21 at bats. This week he topped himself by going .429/.529/.714/1.244, 6-for-14 with a double, long ball, three free passes and just one strikeout.

Garcia has a cumulative line of .330/.435/.670/1.104, 38-for-115 in 33 games with seven doubles, a triple and a league-leading 10 home runs. Garcia has worked 19 free passes versus 22 strikeouts and has a .333 BABIP and .330 ISO. He also swiped his first bag as well.

Cangrejeros de Santurce –
Record for the Period: 2-2, one postponed
Overall Record: 15-17
Standing: Fourth, 5 ½ in back of Caguas

- Jonathan Rodriguez (Memphis): Rodriguez started twice and pinch hit in a third game, doubling once in five at bats with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. He fanned twice. His overall line: .145/.276/.205/.480, 12-for-83 in 27 games, 25 starts with two doubles, three triples, 14 walks, six runs scored and seven knocked in. He has fanned 29 times, stole one base in three tries and committed three errors.

Nicaraguan League

Indios del Boer -
Record for the Period: 3-4
Overall Record: 20-17
Standing: Third, a game behind the Gigantes

Boer’s second consecutive losing week dropped them from first to third in the tight Nicaraguan League standings.

- Jhonny Polanco (Peoria): Polanco did not pitch. 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: 2-3
Overall Record: 14-15
Standing: Third, 3 1/2 games behind Caimanes

Ronald Castillo (Peoria): Castillo’s numbers have not changed since the last notebook, the 22-year-old having 11 hits in 47 at bats with a double, five walks, five runs scored and 10 RBIs. He 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: 2-3
Overall Record: 18-12
Standing: First, 1 ½ up on Tigres

Jonathan Escudero (Johnson City): Escudero’s stat line is also unchanged since our last report. 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.

Panama Winter League

The Panama Winter League (PROBEIS) got underway on December 15th and runs until January 19th. The four-team league includes three St. Louis prospects: shortstop Edmundo Sosa (State College) and outfielder Jonathan Rivera (DSL Cardinals) suit up for Aguilas Metropolitanas while shortstop Allen Cordoba (DSL Cardinals) plays for Indios de Urraca.

Indios de Urraca –
Overall Record: 2-4
Standing: Third

- Allen Cordoba (DSL): Cordoba has appeared in all six games, playing mainly second. The 19-year-old has a line of .231/.333/.308/.641, 3-for-13 with a double, two base-on-balls, three runs scored and two strikeouts.

Aguilas Metropolitanas –
Overall Record: 4-2
Standing: Second

- Jonathan Rivera (DSL): Rivera played outfield in all six games but which position in unknown as Panamanian box scores do not differentiate. The 17-year-old went 6-for-24 with two doubles and a triple while touching home four times and knocking in two, .250/.250/.417/.667 with six strikeouts and four errors.

- Edmundo Sosa (State College): Sosa started short in all but one of Aguilas’ contests to date and acted as the designated hitter in the other game, batting leadoff. The 18-year-old compiled a line of .231/.286/.346/.632, 6-for-26 with three doubles, two free passes, four runs scored and an RBI. Sosa has fanned six times and committed one error.

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