Results tagged ‘ Winter Leagues ’

Cubs Winter League Recap: 11/18/14

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:

Dominican Republic

  • 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.

Puerto Rico

  • CF John Andreoli led off for San Juan and recorded a single in four at-bats in an 8-3 win.

Venezuela

  • 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.

Arizona Fall League recap: 10/24/13

Apparently, Cubs No. 3 prospect Jorge Soler didn’t like watching teammates Kris Bryant and Albert Almora have all the fun in the Arizona Fall League. After a few days of rest, Soler came back strong, racking up three hits to lead the Mesa Solar Sox to a 7-4 win over visiting Scottsdale Thursday afternoon. The Cubs arms also figured into the decision, as Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen and Lendy Castillo combined for seven innings, surrendering three earned runs. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s action.

Jorge Soler – Soler began the fall season on a seven-game hitting streak, but was batting only .229 during that stretch. On Thursday, he broke out with a 3-for-4 day to raise his AFL average to .282. Soler put Mesa up early with a first inning single to left field off Scottsdale starter Phil Irwin (Pirates) that scored both Brian Goodwin (Nationals) and Devon Travis (Tigers). Soler singled again in the bottom of the third and eventually scored on an Addison Russell (A’s) sac fly. The Cuban prospect singled to left field for the third time in the fourth inning, but was left stranded. He finished the day 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run.

Dallas Beeler – Beeler got off to a rocky start, surrendering two runs to the first two batters he faced on a Mason Williams (Yankees) single and a homer by Alen Hanson (Pirates). But that’s all Beeler would give up in four innings of work Thursday. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.

Matt Loosen – Loosen followed Beeler with two strong innings. He picked up three strikeouts, but gave up a sixth inning home run to Tommy La Stella (Braves). His line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.

Lendy Castillo – Former Cubs major leaguer and Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo continued to impress in the AFL Thursday with one scoreless inning. He also continued to struggle with control, giving up two walks and throwing 19 pitches. His line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.

Mesa is back in action Friday against Peoria at Surprise Stadium. Michael Roth (Angels) will take the mound for the Solar Sox opposite Kyle Hunter (Mariners). First pitch is scheduled for 2:35 CST.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena’s homer not enough

MLB2012

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena continues to be a factor in the Venezuelan league championship series. Though Magallanes claimed a 7-3 win over Valbeuna’s Cardenales squad, the 27-year-old Cubs infielder managed to rip a solo home run in the top of the second inning to continue his torrid stretch.

In 22 postseason games, Valbuena is hitting .345/.412/.563 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with four home runs and 21 RBI. He posted a .306/.414/.497 line in the Venezuelan regular season.

The series concludes Wednesday night as the Navegantes hosts Lara in a decisive Game 7. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 CST, with the winner representing Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena boosts Cardenales

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

With four games left in the Venezuelan round-robin playoffs, Lara is tied for the second and final championship spot, with much on the line. On Thursday, the Cardenales de Lara played like they wanted that final spot with a 9-2 win over the Leones del Caracas.

Behind the push was Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena, who has come up big on multiple occasions for the Venezuelan team all season long. The 27-year-old’s name was atop many of the offensive statistic leader boards this winter as he finished with a .306/.414/.497 line (AVG/OBP/SLG) during the regular season.

On Thursday, the infielder was 2-for-3 with two walks, a double and three RBI.

With his side already up 3-0 when he got to the plate in the bottom of the first, Valbuena ripped a single up the middle, but he was left stranded on first. He was hit by a pitch in the fifth but was again stranded at first. He reached on a walk in the seventh, and after getting to third on a single by Joe Thurston, he was again left on base.

But in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded and the game well in hand, Valbuena smacked a double to right, scoring three.

Winter League Highlights: Toros fall short despite Cabrera’s efforts

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Alberto Cabrera had a career year in 2012, his first as a full-time reliever. So perhaps it’s only natural the Cubs want to give him another shot at starting.

That’s because the team saw several different pitchers emerge as Cabrera climbed from Tennessee to Iowa to Chicago. In 21 big league innings, he showed a surprisingly lights-out slider. Meanwhile, in the minors, he showed good feel for a change-up that later went unused. This all complements his mid-90s heat. At just 24 and with the team searching for upper-level arms, Cabrera could become a power starter if he truly does have command of all three pitches.

In the Dominican playoffs, the right-hander pitched four scoreless innings on Wednesday, scattering six hits, striking out seven and walking none. But the effort wasn’t enough, as his Toros del Este fell 4-3 and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Cabrera got off to a fast start, retiring the side in order in the first inning behind two strikeouts. He started the second with another strikeout, but then loaded the bases after a pair of singles and a hit batsman. Cabrera worked out of the jam, striking out Fernando Tatis and getting former Cub Henry Blanco to pop out to end the threat.

After surrendering a single to lead off the third, he struck out the side. In his final inning, Cabrera surrendered a bunt single to start off the frame, but started a double play on the next batter. Willy Aybar and Tatis both singled, but Blanco made the third out on a ground ball to the first baseman.

Winter League Highlights: Cubs carry Estrellas to win

Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs   April 10, 2012    Cubs lose 7-5.

(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican league don’t have a shot at reaching the best-of-seven league finals, which take place later this month, but they’re still playing for pride. On Tuesday, it was a trio of Cubs prospects leading the charge in the Estrellas’ 7-6 victory.

In the third inning, Cubs outfielder Nelson Perez reached on a walk and later advanced to third on a pair of singles by Ray Olmedo and Eliezer Mesa. The 25-year-old was then driven in on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. He stepped up again in the fourth and ripped a home run to right field to give his side a 5-0 lead. Perez was 1-for-3 with a walk, a homer, an RBI and two runs scored.

But Perez wasn’t the only Cubs prospect to contribute. Junior Lake drove in a run of his own on a single in the third inning and finished the day 1-for-4.

Not to be outdone, Cubs reliever Rafael Dolis was awarded the victory. The right-hander pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out one.

The Estrellas are statistically eliminated, as they sit four games out of second place with only two games remaining. The two squads with the best records will square off in the finals next week.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Luis Valbuena went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a walk and a run scored for the Cardenales of the Venezuelan league.

Winter League Highlights: Caribbean action wraps up soon

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(Photo by Rodger Wood)

The Caribbean baseball leagues are nearing the final days of their postseason play, with a trip to the Caribbean Series up for grabs for each country. The Dominican postseason round robin wraps up on Jan. 17, with the top two squads facing off in a best-of-nine series for the nation’s title.

The Puerto Rican league, which concludes its round-robin format on Jan. 16, and and the Venezuelan league, which wraps up on the 21st, will each have a best-of-seven series to determine its winner. The Mexican league wraps up on Jan. 20, with a seven-game series of its own.

The winners of each league will compete in the seven-day Caribbean Series, which begins Feb. 1. As the number of teams dwindles, there are fewer players to highlight. Still, a pair of Cubs who have been noted on more than a few occasions this winter came up big again Monday.

Junior Lake went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple for the Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican league. He also scored a run in the 7-3 win.

Luis Valbuena had an RBI single for the Cardenales de Lara of Venezuela. His side fell 4-3 in the Venezuelan playoffs.

Winter League Highlights: Ty’Relle Harris having a solid winter

Cubs prospect Ty’Relle Harris had an active 2012 that took him all over the minor league system. After a stellar April and May in High-A Daytona, the right-hander was promoted to Tennessee. Then he got a late-season call-up to Iowa to round out the year.

He wrapped up the regular season with a combined 4-6 record and a 3.84 ERA in 82.0 innings at three minor league levels. Harris struck out 67 batters and walked 39.

After taking a few months off, he headed to the Caribbean, where he’s been playing for the Gigantes de Carolina, a squad in Puerto Rico. Because he joined late, Harris didn’t see a lot of time during the regular season, but his 12.2 innings were solid regardless.

The 26-year-old posted a 0.71 ERA in five regular season winter league games, including two starts. In the only outing in which he surrendered a run, he allowed six hits over six innings, striking out nine. And he’s only walked four batters total.

Harris’ one winter league blemish came on Sunday, as he gave up three runs in two innings in a 14-7 Gigantes playoff loss.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Luis Valbuena had a pair of hits and two RBI for the Cardenales of the the Venezuelan league. He also scored a run.

Winter League Highlights: Cabrera continues his excellent winter work

9/19/20 REDS @ CUBS

(Photo by Stephen Green)

There are always players likely to start the season in Triple-A who are seen as replaceable or who are simply holding a spot for a prospect in the wings. Then there’s Alberto Cabrera.

The 24-year-old righty has been a potential piece of the Cubs’ future since they signed him in July 2005. The hard thrower has a fastball that reaches 94 miles per hour with a low 80s slider. Prior to the organization going out and obtaining four big league starting pitchers this offseason, there was talk that Cabrera could compete for one of the rotation spots in 2013. Now, he’ll more than likely get everyday starts in Triple-A Iowa to begin the year.

Last season, the Dominican native threw exclusively out of the bullpen, splitting time in Tennessee, Iowa and Chicago. In the minors last year, he went 4-1 with a 3.11 ERA in 55.0 innings, striking out 74 and walking just 14. Cabrera saw a lot of action in 25 games (21.2 IP) after an August call-up. Despite a 5.40 ERA, the front office fully expects him to return to the major league level in the near future. He could likely fill a bullpen role in 2013, but the Cubs are interested in seeing what the talented righty can do in the starting rotation.

Cabrera opted to play limited winter ball this offseason and finished the Dominican regular season with solid numbers. In 14.1 innings, he recorded a 3.14 ERA and fanned 20 batters for the Toros del Este.

The Toros dropped a playoff matchup against Estrellas on Thursday despite Cabrera’s strong effort. The Cubs prospect surrendered no earned runs and scattered five hits over 5.1 innings, walking two and striking out one.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Nelson Perez recorded a pair of hits for the Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican league.

Winter League Highlights: Caridad’s strong effort not enough

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

All year long, Cubs prospect Esmailin Caridad has had to be ready to enter the game in any situation. The 29-year-old racked up 65.1 innings in 44 games in Triple-A Iowa and has pitched more than his fair share of innings for the Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican league this winter.

In 42.0 innings pitched over 37 games (including one start), the Dominican native has put up a 2.57 ERA, fanned 49 batters and walked just 12. Ironically, the right-handed pitcher seems to handle left-handed batters slightly better, posting a 2.45 ERA against them, compared to 2.66 against righties.

These stats shouldn’t come as a total surprise to Cubs fans, as Caridad was also tough in the Pacific Coast League this summer. Despite a 1-4 record, his 3.03 ERA was strong, especially considering how often he was used. In his 65.1 innings, he fanned 65 hitters and surrendered just four home runs.

In two scoreless innings of relief Wednesday, Caridad struck out one and scattered two hits, but the Yaquis fell in the ninth by a score of 4-3. Caridad’s squad is now 3-3 in the playoff round robin.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Luis Valbuena went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles for the Cardenales of the Venezuelan league.

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