Slick-fielding infield prospect Christian Villanueva found himself in an unfamiliar spot Monday, as he lined up in left field. Though likely unrelated, he also had one of his better games of the winter at the dish. With few games going on around the Caribbean leagues, he was the only Cub in action. Here are some notes from yesterday’s game:
- LF Christian Villanueva smacked his fifth homer of the winter as the Yaquis de Obregon took down the Tomateros de Culiacan 6-3. He also added a single and scored a second run, finishing 2-for-4. Known for his defensive prowess at third base, it’s interesting to see the 23-year-old slated anywhere but the hot corner. In his six seasons of minor league ball, he has never played the outfield, and he is viewed by many as the best defensive third baseman in the organization. Though the glove has always been there, question marks surround Villanueva’s bat, as he hit .230/.297/.379 in split duties between Double- and Triple-A in 2014 and is a career .266 hitter. Though he has shown glimpses of pop (19 home runs in Double-A in 2013), it’s likely those offensive stats will need to improve as he progresses. Either way, games like the one he had Monday will surely boost his confidence.
It was a quiet day for the Cubs in Winter League action Sunday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s games around the Caribbean:
- 1B Willson Contreras drew a walk and went 0-for-2 as the Tigres de Aragua edged out the Aguilas del Zulia 3-2. It’s worth noting that Contreras played first base just twice in 2014. He served primarily as High-A Daytona’s catcher.
- 2B Luis Valbuena went 0-for-4 despite his Cardenales de Lara side coming away 2-1 winners against the Leones del Caracas.
- PH-RF Junior Felix Arias struck out in his only at-bat for the Gigantes del Cibao in their 9-1 win over the Estrellas de Oriente. He came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.
- C Luis Flores went hitless in three-at bats for Oriente.
Arismendy Alcantara hit a home run off an organizational teammate, and Christian Villanueva was one of the few bright spots in his team’s loss. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean:
- CF Arismendy Alcantara smashed his second home run of the winter off organization mate Frank Batista, but his Tigres del Licey fell to the Aguilas Cibaenas. The two-run shot was his lone hit of the day in three at-bats.
- RHP Batista got the start and gave up three earned runs—including the aforementioned Alcantara homer—over four innings and struck out two for Cibaenas. His ERA now sits at 3.73.
- DH Christian Villanueva finished 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored despite his Yaquis de Obregon side falling 11-2 to the Charros de Jalisco Tuesday. He also managed to draw a walk in the defeat.
It was a quiet day for Cubs prospects in the Caribbean Sunday. Catching prospect Willson Contreras managed to help his team in Venezuela, while Arismendy Alcantara contributed to his Dominican club. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Caribbean action:
- CF Arismendy Alcantara recorded a single and walk for the Tigres del Licey. He finished 1-for-3 in the 7-2 win over the Aguilas Cibaenas.
- LHP Jeffry Antigua pitched a hitless eighth inning of relief for the Toros del Este. Antigua, who split time between Double- and Triple-A last season, struck out one Leones del Escogido hitter in a 5-4 loss.
- DH Christian Villanueva reached base on a pair of walks Sunday despite his Yaquis de Obregon side getting pummeled 16-3. He finished 0-for-2 against the Caneros de los Mochis pitchers.
- CF John Andreoli had a single in a Senadores de San Juan loss to the Indios de Mayaguez. He was one of four players to reach base in the 2-0 loss.
- C Willson Contreras recorded an RBI single as the Tigres de Aragua cruised to a 7-2 win over the Tiburones de La Guaira. Contreras is viewed as one of the better young catching prospects in the organization. He played 80 games at High-A Daytona, hitting .242/.320/.359 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with five homers.
Arismendy Alcantara had a big day at the plate in the Dominican Wednesday, while numerous other Cubs contributed to their respective clubs. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action in the Caribbean:
- CF Arismendy Alcantara’s Tigres del Licey fell 6-3 to the Gigantes del Cibao despite the major leaguer’s big day at the plate. The 23-year-old had a three-hit game including a first-inning solo shot. He finished 3-for-4 with a an RBI and a run scored.
- CF-LF Junior Lake reached base twice, going 1-for-5 with a walk and scoring two runs in an Estrellas de Oriente win over the Leones del Escogido. Lake also stole his third base of the season.
- 3B Christian Villanueva is better known for his defense, but he contributed in the Yaquis de Obregon’s win. He racked up his third double of the winter, finishing 1-for-3 and adding a walk. Obregon held of the Venados de Mazatlan by a score of 5-4.
- CF John Andreoli had one of the Senadores de San Juan’s four hits Thursday. Batting leadoff, he finished 1-for-3 with a walk in the loss to the Criollos de Caguas.
With the Arizona Fall League wrapping up last week, we’ll turn our offseason attention to winter ball taking place in the Caribbean. A few pitchers in the Cubs organization made solid contributions in victories for their respective teams Tuesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Caribbean action:
- RHP Frank Batista picked up his third win for the Aguilas, giving up three earned runs in 5.1 innings. He struck out two.
- CF Arismendy Alcantara recorded a single in three at-bats for Licey.
- LF Junior Lake finished 0-for-4 in Estrellas 1-0 win.
- CF John Andreoli led off for San Juan and recorded a single in four at-bats in an 8-3 win.
- LHP Joseph Ortiz pitched a hitless 1.1 innings of relief for La Guaira. He struck out two batters and recorded his second hold of the season.
- RHP Lioger Padron walked the only two batters he faced in Caracas’ 5-4 win.
Despite a weekend’s worth of games in the Caribbean, only a few Cubs participated in the action. Jonathan Mota had the most notable three-day stretch in Puerto Rico. Here are some notes from the weekend’s action around the Caribbean.
Jonathan Mota, 2B/3B – Mota had a big Saturday, going 2-for-4 with a homer and a triple in a 3-1 loss. Batting third on Sunday, he drove in Ponce’s only run of the game again with a single. He finished 1-for-4.
Greg Rohan, 3B – Rohan finished 0-for-3 Saturday with a walk.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva was hitless in three at-bats both Saturday and Sunday.
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP – Eduardo Figueroa pitched to one batter for La Guaira and retired him in the top of the ninth Saturday.
Luis Valbuena, 2B – Valbuena had a single Sunday for Lara but went 0-for-3 Saturday with a walk.
Smokies pitcher Eduardo Figueroa returned to action in Venezuela, infield prospect Jonathan Mota contributed to his team in Puerto Rico, and Frank Batista picked up the win in Dominican play. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action around the Caribbean.
Frank Batista, RHP – Batista picked up the win, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings of relief for Cibaenas. He struck out one in his first victory of the winter.
Walter Ibarra, SS – Ibarra was hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times for Mazatlan.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota blasted his first homer of the winter, driving in a pair. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the Ponce loss.
Rubi Silva, CF – Silva went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored Wednesday.
Greg Rohan, DH – Rohan finished 1-for-4 with a single for Ponce.
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP – Figueroa returned to action for the first time since Oct. 17, pitching a scoreless eighth inning, striking out one and allowing no hits for La Guaira.
Despite a full slate of games in the Dominican and Mexico, the Cubs didn’t have any representation in those leagues Tuesday. But a trio of farmhands got into the game for Ponce in Puerto Rico, and Luis Valbuena had a hit for his side in Venezuela. Here are some notes from Tuesday’s action around the Caribbean.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota had a pair of singles and finished 2-for-4 in the Ponce win.
Greg Rohan, DH – Rohan was hitless in four at-bats Tuesday.
Rubi Silva, LF/CF – Silva went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for Ponce.
Luis Valbuena, 2B – Valbuena recorded a single and a run scored, going 1-for-5 for Lara Tuesday.
All Caribbean leagues had the day off Monday, but plenty of games were played over the weekend. Luis Valbuena had three good games, and Jonathan Mota made his plate appearances count as well. Here are some notes from action around the Caribbean this weekend.
Frank Batista, RHP – Despite giving up no earned runs and allowing only one hit in two innings, Batista walked one batter, and he eventually came around to tie the game Saturday. It was the right-hander’s second blown save of the winter. He struck out three.
Alberto Cabrera, RHP – Cabrera had a rough outing Friday, going 0.1 innings, giving up two earned runs, walking one and striking out one.
Walter Ibarra, SS – Ibarra finished 1-for-4 Friday with a single for Mazatlan, and went 0-for-3 with a walk Saturday. On Sunday, he recorded a hit and scored a run.
Jonathan Mota, 3B/SS – Mota finished 2-for-4 Friday with a double and a run scored in the Ponce loss. He added another double and another run on Sunday.
Greg Rohan, 1B/DH – As DH on Sunday, Rohan went 1-for-2 with a single. He was hitless in four plate appearances Friday for Ponce.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva recorded a single on Sunday, going 1-for-3. He didn’t get a hit Friday’s game however, finishing 0-for-4.
Yoanner Negrin, RHSP – In 5.1 innings, Negrin gave up two earned runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out three in the no-decision for Caracas.
Luis Valbuena, 2B – Valbuena had a double and two walks Friday, and he went 1-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored for Lara Saturday. He had his third double of the weekend Sunday and scored a run in the loss.