Winter League Update: 12/28

It may be a slow period for big league action with the holidays, but action in the Winter Leagues continues, as the Tigers still have a handful of players down in the Caribbean participating in winter ball.

One success story this offseason has been Omar Infante – who continues to hit well for Oriente in the Venezuelan League. Infante's average is up to .310, including 4 Home Runs and 19 RBI. Infante has also sent 17 balls to the gaps (12 doubles, 5 triples) in an effort to become a complete player. Infante continues to impress and build on the promise he carries as a future cornerstone at Second Base.

Wilfredo Ledezma looks to be back in action after an extended rest, still with mixed results. In an inning and 2/3, Ledezma gave up another pair of runs, as he continues to struggle after an extremely successful 2004 campaign. No one in the front office is worried however, leading many to believe he's working on a new pitch, possibly a slider.

Rick Palma, who will be returning to the organization in 2005, continues to pitch well in the Venezuelan League. Palma is now leading Occidente in innings pitched, and isn't pitching too shabby in those innings either, going 6-2 with a 2.04 ERA. His strikeout numbers still aren't high (6.1 K/9 IP), but with a record and ERA like he has, the Tigers can live with that.

After a hot start in the Dominican League, Gilberto Mejia has come back to earth, as his average has now dropped to .254. His slugging percentage has also dipped to .394, as many hope he's just in a slide and will pick his hitting back up as he closes out the season.

Franklyn German's workload seems to continue to slow, as he's only had 1 appearance in the past week and a half. German's ERA is still impressive however, at 2.12. The company line remains though – he'll need to translate his offseason success into big league success.

Carlos Pena, much like Omar Infante, continues to work towards the beginnings of a strong 2005, as he's now raised his average to .329 in 85 at bats. Pena now also has more walks (25) than strikeouts (22), and has 5 Home Runs. A good sign for a player the Tigers will need a big year out of, considering the lack of improvements elsewhere on the diamond.

Roberto Novoa, much like Ledezma, continues to have mixed results in his winter league efforts – now with a 4.11 ERA. His strikeouts remain good (27 K's in 30 2/3 innings), just a few too many runs allowed.

Byron Gettis has seen a bit of a dip in his numbers, but then again, it's not exactly easy to maintain a .400 batting average. Gettis now sports a .371 line, as well as a .514 slugging percentage. Gettis remains a possibility to challenge for a spot in spring training, but could form a formidable group with Curtis Granderson and David Espinosa (or Nook Logan) for Toledo to start off the 2005 season.

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