Cardinals Winter Leagues Notebook: Wk 5, Pt 1

Results from Australia, the Dominican, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Oscar Taveras is Player of the Week for Aguilas Cibaenas.

Australian League

Perth Heat –
Perth, whose official name appears to be the ‘Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat', did not have a game in the Australian Baseball League this week. Instead, the two-time defending ABL champions traveled to Busan, Korea to participate in the Asia Series.

The Asia Series is comprised of six teams representing several baseball leagues: Nippon Professional Baseball, the Korean Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball League and the China Baseball League. These squads are divided into two pools with the winner of each advancing to a championship game.

Perth's participation was brief as they were eliminated after losing their first two games, 6-1 and 7-1.
- Adam Melker: went 1-for-7 with a sacrifice fly and four strikeouts.

Sydney Blue Sox –
Sydney hosted Brisbane in their home-opening series this past week-end went 1-2. The Blue Sox won the opener 8-0 but fell twice in close contests, 3-1 and 2-1.
- Geoff Klein: Klein started all three games for Sydney. He caught on the 9th and 10th then was the designated hitter on the 11th. The switch-hitter batted clean-up and went 3-for-14 with a run scored and two strikeouts. His line was .214/.214/.214/.429 with a .250 Batting Average for Balls In Play (BABIP).
Season-to-date: .190/.227/.190/.418, 21 AB, 4 H, 2 R, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS, .222 BABIP

Dominican (Winter) League
Reliever Keith Butler is the latest St. Louis farmhand to enlist in the Dominican Winter League. Butler joined Starlin Rodriguez on Escogido's roster and made his debut this week. Stats are through games of November 13th.

Aguilas Cibaenas –
Aguilas went 3-2 this week. Audry Perez is still out of action with a right knee injury.
- Luis De La Cruz: De La Cruz joined the ranks of the six-year Minor League Free Agents so is no longer in St. Louis' system.
- Audry Perez: out with a right knee injury
- Oscar Taveras: Taveras was named Aguilas' Player of the Week for the second time on the 13th. He was the starting right fielder in three of the Cibaenas' five games. Taveras singled once in three at bats before being pinch hit for in the 9th in an 8-1 loss. On the 11th he was a key contributor in Aguilas' 8-6 come-from-behind victory. He got off to a slow start with three outs in his first three at bats, including a ground out to first that stranded the bases loaded in the third. However, Taveras got untracked with a vengeance after that point with an RBI single, a ninth-inning single and a two-run bomb that provided the winning margin in the 11th. He scored one and drove in another in a 6-0 victory on Tuesday. Taveras went .357/.357/.571/.929, 5-for-14, with one long ball, two runs scored, four RBIs and no strikeouts. Overall, his .343 batting average is fifth in the league and he is fourth with a .964 OPS.
Season-to-date: .343/.397/.567/.964, 67 AB, 23 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13 R, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 9 SO, 2 SB, 0 CS, 2 E, .364 BABIP

Gigantes del Cibao –
The Gigantes had six games and went 3-3.
- Ronny Gil: There were three Gil sightings this week. He took over at short in the sixth inning on the 8th after Cibao's starting shortstop was hit by a pitch for the second time in the contest. Gil led off the 9th with a solo shot that was the first of six tallies the Gigantes scored that inning. His groundout to first with runners on second and third was the final out of the game in a 12-11 Cibao loss. The next day, Gil was a pinch runner in the eighth, representing the tying run but was caught stealing. He remained in the game at second for the ninth. He fanned looking with the bases loaded in a pinch hit appearance on the 11th in the game in which Oscar Taveras smashed his game-winning bomb in the top of the 11th.
Season-to-date: .364/.364/.636/1.000, 11 AB, 4 H, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, .375 BABIP

Leones del Escogido –
Escogido went 0-6 this week. Ouch!
- Keith Butler: Butler had a bit of a dicey debut on the 9th. He started the ninth with his squad down 3-2 and allowed the first two runners to get aboard via a free pass and a plunked batter. A sac bunt moved each up a base and ended Butler's appearance. Neither runner subsequently scored. His appearance the next day went worse. Butler inherited a first and second with one out conundrum and immediately wild pitched both runners into scoring position. That blip was magnified when the Leones' first baseman committed a fielding error that permitted the batter to reach and brought a run across. Butler yielded a two-out single that plated the other inherited runner in a game Escodigo lost 5-2.
Season-to-date: 0.00 ERA/9.20 FIP, 2 G, 0 GS, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 HB, 1 BB, 0 SO, 2.00 WHIP
- Starlin Rodriguez: Rodriguez has not played since November 2nd.
Season-to-date: .250/.250/.250/.500, 4 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS, .500 BABIP

Tigres del Licey –
Licey went 3-3 this week.
- Maikel Cleto: Cleto's impressive performance last week carried through his first appearance in this stanza but no further. The right-hander began the eighth inning on Friday with his squad up 3-2 and retired six of the seven batters he faced for his first save. The same cannot be said of his stint on Tuesday when he took the mound in the 10th to close out a 1-0 lead. The first batter reached on shortstop Jurickson Profar's throwing error. Cleto compounded that by issuing a base-on-balls. Even an attempted sac bunt went awry when Licey's third baseman failed to field it cleanly for another error. Cleto appeared to lose the strike zone at that point as he coughed up consecutive free passes, forcing across the tying and winning runs for the opposition. As a side note, in an interview this week Cleto mentioned that St. Louis has not set a limit on his participation with Licey and that he is there as long as he wants to be.
Season-to-date: 0.00 ERA/5.60 FIP, 4 G, 0 GS, 3.1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 4 BB, 1 SO, 1.20 WHIP
- Willy Paulino: Paulino is still pitching in the Dominican Instructional League for which stats are not available.

Mexican Pacific League
Stats are through games of November 14th.

Caneros de Los Mochis –
The Caneros went 2-4 for the second straight period.
- Jermaine Curtis: Curtis was simply outstanding this week for the Caneros, going .571/.643/.667/1.310, 12 for 21 in six game starts, with two doubles, three runs scored and six knocked in. He worked five base-on-balls against just two strikeouts was successful stealing once in two stolen base attempts. He was hit by a pitch once. Curtis was Los Mochis' third baseman five times and designated hitter once. Offensively, he hit in the two hole four times, eighth once and lead off on Wednesday.
Season-to-date: .340/.410/.396/.806, 53 AB, 18 H, 3 2B, 5 R, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 7 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, .383 BABIP

Venados de Mazatlan –
Mazatlan went 2-4 this past week for their fifth consecutive week with a losing record.
- Nick Additon Additon bounced back from a 2 2/3-inning dud last time out to fall one out shy of eight complete frames in a 3-1 victory on the 11th. In raising his record to 2-1, the lefty scattered three singles, a double and four free passes, one intentional, over 7 2/3 with five strikeouts, eight ground outs and seven fly outs The only mark against him came in the sixth inning of a scoreless contest when a lead-off double and sac bunt placed a runner at third. A fielder's choice and throwing error not only brought a run across but ended up with the batter on second. Additon intentionally put a batter on to set up a force play then escaped the inning on a called strikeout and a 5-2 force out. He threw 99 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Season-to-date: 4.50 ERA/3.43 FIP, 6 G, 6 GS, 30 IP, 33 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 1 HR, 2 HB, 11 BB, 24 SO, 1.47 WHIP, .344 BABIP, .282 BAA

Puerto Rican League
The Puerto Rican League began play this past week with a schedule running to the end of December. Six teams make up the league, which has five of the Cardinals' minor leaguers listed on various rosters.

Right-hander Juan Caballero (GCL) and outfielder Anthony Garcia (Quad Cities) are teammates on the Gigantes (Giants) de Carolina. Southpaw Hector Hernandez (Quad Cities) pitches for the Indios (Indians) de Mayaguez while infielder Luis Mateo (Quad Cities) suits up for Criollos de Caguas. Pitcher Iden Nazario (Palm Beach) is on the roster of the Atenienses (Athenians) de Manati. Stats are through games of November 14th.

Criollos de Caguas –
The biggest name on the Criollos' roster has to be catcher Pudge Rodriguez, although he has not yet played in a game. Caguas went 4-2 without him.
- Luis Mateo: Mateo was the starting shortstop in five games, batting at or near the bottom of the order. He went .267/.368/.333/.702, 4-for-15 with a double and three walks. The 22-year-old scored twice and drove in one on a sac fly with two strikeouts and a stolen base. He had a .286 BABIP.

Gigantes de Carolina –
The Gigantes' roster includes free agent pitcher J.C. Romero, outfielder Micah Owings and former Major Leaguer Scott Kazmir. Anthony Garcia is listed with the catchers on the roster which may well be news to him. Carolina went 2-2 with two postponements.
- Juan Caballero: Caballero did not make an appearance.
- Anthony Garcia: Garcia appeared in three games, twice as the starting left fielder. The Gigantes' number six batter had a good week, going .571/.625/.714/1.339, 4-for-7 with a double, two runs scored and two brought in. He struck out once, was plunked once and was caught stealing once. Garcia had a .667 BABIP. His final appearance came on Wednesday when he pinch ran in the 10th and scored the walk-off tally in a game in which Hector Hernandez took the loss.

Atenienses de Manati –
Like many of the Puerto Rican teams, several players on the Atenienses' roster are affiliated with Major League Baseball. Like those connected to St. Louis, most of them have yet to appear in The Show. Manati went 1-3 with two postponements.
- Iden Nazario: Nazario has yet to pitch for Manati.

Indios de Mayaguez –
The Indios' roster includes former Springfield Cardinal Ray Kruml, who is a reserve for Mayaguez.
- Hector Hernandez: Hernandez has been used in some key situations in the early going. Three appearances produced a win and a loss. Hernandez was credited with the victory in his first relief appearance in Mayaquez' season opener on November 8th. He inherited runners on the corners with two outs in a scoreless game. The southpaw yielded a double to righty bat Enrique Hernandez (Houston) that plated one runner. A fly out to right ended the sixth and finished Hernandez' outing. The Indios knocked in two in the bottom of the frame to get Hernandez the W.

He faced a similar situation in the seventh inning on the 11th. Hernandez entered to face a right-handed bat with his team down 4-2, a runner on third and two outs. He recorded the out on a fly out to right.

On Wednesday, the lefty was plunged into a two-on, no-out jam in the 10th. He picked off the runner at second for the first out then watched as the second runner was caught stealing. A base-on-balls by Hernandez came back to haunt him when his mound replacement yielded back-to-back singles and a free pass that forced in pinch runner Anthony Garcia and saddled Hernandez with the loss.
Season-to-date: 6.75 ERA/5.46 FIP, 3 G, 0 GS, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1.50 WHIP,

Coming soon: Part two of this report will cover Cardinals prospects' results the past week in the Venezuelan and Venezuelan Parallel Leagues.

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