The Caribbean Winter Leageus are in the playoff phase as each league determines its team for the Caribbean Series. Here's a look around the leagues including some news on Cubs players.
Dominican Winter League
DWL’s four-team round-robin tourney lasts until Jan. 17, an 18-game schedule after a 50-game regular season. Estrellas (29-21), Licey (29-21), Escogido (25-25), Toros (23-27) remain and play resumes Jan. 2. Arismendy Alcantara (.259/.336/.371 34 G) is on the Licey roster as well as the Cubs newly signed outfielder Juan Perez. Perez (.226/.300/.321) played 14 games for Aguilas but was recently drafted by Licey for the next stage of the playoffs.
Venezuela Winter League
Six of the eight teams in the VWL are still alive as second-half co-champ Magallanes faces Caracas, Aragua squares off against second-half co-champ Margarita, and first-half champ La Guaria meets Caribes in the best-of-seven series. P Jean Machi (Magallanes) is the only Cubs player still playing in the VWL playoffs unless some were recently drafted and added to a roster. Cubs players IF Gioskar Amaya, IF Carlos Penalver, P Greyfer Eregua, P Stephen Fife, P P.J. Francescon, P Erick Leal, and P Armando Rivero haven’t seen any action recently.
Puerto Rican Winter League
Mayaguez (27-15), Santurce (21-12), and Mayaguez (21-21) begin a round-robin 12-game schedule, lasting until Jan. 20. Cubs players Javier Baez and Fernando Cruz are both on the Santurce roster. Baez has played three games in CF and the rest of his games have been spent between second and short. Baez is batting .250/.339/.423 in 15 games with 2 HR, 10 RBI, 7 BB, 12 K.
Mexican Winter League
The Mexican Pacific League has completed its regular season, crowning Mexicalli as the first-half champ (22-13) and Obregon (21-12) as the second half winner. The best of seven playoffs start Jan. 1 with the three winners and the ‘lucky loser” advancing to the semi-finals. Christian Villanueva has been one of the stars for Obregon, hitting .322/.434/.480 in 64 games with 9 HR and 38 RBI. He also drew 41 walks while striking out 31 times. Spencer Patton, acquired during the off-season and expected to compete for a bullpen job with the Cubs this spring, has joined Los Mochis, who faces Obregon in the first round. The Cubs shipped minor league second baseman Frandy Delarosa to the Rangers for the 27-year-old right-hander that went to college at SIU-Edwardsville. Kansas City’s 24th round pick in 2011 worked primarily out of the bullpen during his Royals career, and reached AAA in 2014, earning 14 saves for Omaha in 46 innings. In July o f’14, the Royals sent the Illinois native to Texas for RHP Jason Frasor, and he spent the rest of the season back in the PCL for Round Rock, earning four saves in four opportunities. In September he was called up by the Rangers and made his MLB debut against the Mariners with two scoreless innings. The 6-foot-1 200-pounder made three trips to Texas during the 2015 campaign, appearing in 27 games (24 IP, 24 H, 24 ER, 12 BB, 28 K). Patton throws a four-seam fastball in the lows 90s and commands a slider in the 82-84 range.
Two suspended for drugs
Former Cubs outfielder Adron Chambers and RHP Tanner Griggs have both been suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy. Chambers, who played for AAA Iowa in 2015 and declared for free agency after the season, was suspended for a drug of abuse while Griggs, a 2014 draft pick that spilt 2015 between Mesa and Eugene, will miss 50 games for amphetamines.
2015 Draft Player Profile
Angelo Amendolare, 2B, 27th Round, Jacksonville University
Amendolare was getting on a bus for his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League when plans changed. Instead of suiting up for Mesa, the Cubs draft pick was off to New Orleans and on July 4 made his pro debut in AAA for Iowa, grounding out as a pinch-hitter. In the second game of a DH on July 6, the 22-year-old collected his first pro hit, a single, and finished the game 2-for-3. He appeared in eight games for the I-Cubs, going 3-for-15. Amendolare was sent back to Mesa and hit .268/.423/.293 in 14 games before a late season promotion to South Bend. The right-handed hitting infielder hit in six of eight games in the MWL and ended his short stint with a .310/.382/.414 slash. Amendolare hit .366/.441/.480 in 56 games and was 20-for-20 in stolen bases with 27 BB and 28 K as a senior at Jacksonville. His senior year included a 22-game hitting streak and a team-high 27 multi-hit games. He ended his college career at Jacksonville with more walks (47) than strikeouts (46). The Long Island native spent a summer in the Cape Cod League and started his college career at Seminole State. Amendolare should be in the mix for a spot on the South Bend opening day roster but don’t be surprised if he spends the summer filling the needs at several levels.