With the end of 2014 nearing, that also signals the end of the regular season in the Caribbean Leagues. The KC Royals contingent in winter ball got vastly smaller last week with all of their 40-man roster moves.
Outfielder Carlos Peguero was released (he led the Dominican Winter League in home runs with eight). Fellow outfielder Moises Sierra was designated for assignment, though he has not been claimed yet (he led the DWL in RBIs with 34). Infielder Johnny Giavotella was designated for assignment and then traded to the LA Angels (he is hitting just .178).
Let’s start in the Dominican Winter League, whose season ended on Sunday.
There was one player from the Royals that started play in the league’s final week.
That would be outfielder Elier Hernandez, who began play for Gigantes (28-22) on Tuesday. Gigantes clinched a playoff spot, as they finished the season in third place. Hernandez played both left and right field and batted in the bottom half of their lineup. He went 6-for-22 with two doubles, two runs scored, and eight strikeouts.
Reliever Michael Mariot has impressed for Gigantes. Last week, he pitched three times and once again did not allow a base runner while pitching either the seventh or eighth inning. Mariot struck out four over three innings.
Infielder Angel Franco was back in the lineup for Aguilas (30-20) on Tuesday after getting married over the weekend. Aguilas also clinched a playoff spot, as they finished the season in second place. While playing both first, second, and third base, Franco went 0-for-9 with three walks, three runs scored, and two stole bases. Franco entered for defense in the 9th inning on Sunday in place of former Royal Miguel Tejada.
Catcher Francisco Pena went 1-for-13 while starting last week for Aguilas. He hit a two-run homerun on Saturday (his fourth of the winter ball season), but struck out four times. Pena pinch-hit on Sunday in the sixth and struck out.
Antonio Cruz was back pitching in winter ball after about a month away. He made his reappearance with Licey (19-31) on the final day of the season. Licey did not clinch a playoff spot, finishing in next to last place. Cruz allowed three runs on two hits and a walk without recording an out. Two runs did score after he was pulled.
Moving on to the Venezuela Winter League, where the regular season ends on December 30th.
Centerfielder Paulo Orlando moved into the fifth spot of the Lara (27-34) order after batting third last Monday. He went 5-for-20 with three walks and a two out, solo home run on Sunday. Orlando’s .320 batting average ranks him sixth in the Venezuelan Winter League in hitting.
Orlando’s new teammate, shortstop Gabriel Noriega (who the Royals signed as a free agent), batted seventh and eighth last week for Lara. He went 2-for-11 with four strikeouts. On Saturday, he committed his 12th error in the VWL.
Finally to the Puerto Rican League, where rain wreaked havoc on the schedule. Their season also ends on December 30th.
Teammate Reymond Fuentes, the centerfielder, went 4-for-11 with a double, three walks, five runs scored, and three RBIs. He also stole three bases. Fuentes was a pinch runner on December 17th.
Stay tuned next Tuesday for another winter league weekly recap!