Prominent Tigers Shining in Winter Ball

After a month of activity, let’s check in to see how the Tigers participating in winter ball are doing in their various leagues. Since we last checked in, a pair of prominent middle infielders have started playing, in addition to a pair of 2015 TigsTown Top 50 arms throwing in the Dominican.

A key fact to note about winter ball, while many players will show up on the roster, far fewer are on the active roster as players arrive and depart for stints with the team.

Starting in Venezuela, where the Tigers are obviously no stranger, they have a few players in action.

Mike Hessman has been playing for the Tigres de Aragua, where he’s putting up typical Hessman-like numbers. In 14 games, he’s hitting only .227, but has walked 15 times, and also belted a couple of doubles and a home run, good for a .784 OPS.

Moving on to the Bravos de Margarita, where both right-hander Alfred Gutierrez and shortstop David Gonzalez have been on the roster. However, neither have appeared since late October, as guys are frequently shuttled on and off the active roster, to accommodate new, usually more experienced, players joining the team. Gutierrez had tossed two scoreless innings of relief over two appearances with two walks and a strikeout, while Gonzalez had a hit, an RBI and a run scored in five at-bats.

For Leones del Caracas, the Tigers have three active members of the organization on the team, plus a pair of familiar faces. Harold Castro has been on the roster, but has yet to appear in a game, meanwhile, Eugenio Suarez joined the team in November and has been working as the club’s starting shortstop since. He’s hitting .265 with three extra base hits in 34 at-bats, along with nine walks and eight strikeouts. He’s posting an .873 OPS. Like the youngsters in Margarita, Anthony Castro appeared in a couple of games early, but hasn’t pitched in a live game since mid-October. Those former Tigers are active however, with righty Wilsen Palacios moving to the rotation recently (he has a 7.11 ERA in nine appearances, including 22 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings), while former TigsTown Top Ten prospect outfielder Danry Vasquez is hitting .310 with an .833 OPS.

At the next stop in the league, the Navegantes del Magallanes, where there are two now-former members of the organization active for the team; third baseman Francisco Martinez and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera. Both played for the organization in 2014, but are both free agents. Meanwhile, Bruce Rondon remains a member of the club, but has yet to appear in a game after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. It’s likely he’s working out with the team, and could appear later on in the season, depending on how his rehab is going.

For the Tiburones de La Guaira, the Tigers have three members of the organization on the roster, including another rehabber like Rondon in Endrys Briceno. Briceno’s timeline is a few months delayed from Rondon’s as he didn’t undergo surgery until July, so it’s unlikely he’d be ready to pitch in game action this winter. 19-year old lefty Eudis Idrogo got in some work in October and early November for the team, not allowing a run in eight appearances that spanned mostly one and two batters. He walked two, gave up five hits, and struck out one in 3 1/3 innings. Like Idrogo, righty Yorfrank Lopez has not seen action since early November, with a 6.35 ERA in over 11 innings of work. He struggled with his control in his time, walking ten and allowing 11 hits.

Finally in Venezuela, for the Aguilas de Zulia, Hernan Perez has joined the team later on in the fall, getting in more work at shortstop for the team since mid-November. In 13 games, he’s hitting .196 but doesn’t have a walk or an extra base hit.

Moving over to the Dominican, where the Tigers only have a couple of members of the organization that have appeared, but both are members of the 2015 TigsTown Top 50. Edgar de la Rosa made one appearance for the Estrellas de Oriente in early November, allowing two hits and a run in an inning of work, but hasn’t appeared since. Also in action on the mound, Jose Valdez made nine appearances for the Gigantes del Cibao, with a couple of rough outings skewing his ERA. He posted a 12.60 ERA over nine appearances, but gave up runs just three times. He also walked four and struck out five, but hasn’t appearance since November 15.

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