The winter league season is slowly winding down, with the regular season coming to an end this week or next week.
In the Dominican Winter League, the regular season ends on Wednesday. So far, Licey (26-21) is the only team to have clinched a playoff spot, and that came last night in a 2-1 walk off win in 11 innings. In that game, Jorge Bonifacio went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts (he was pinch-hit for). He threw a runner out at the plate in the first inning. Bonifacio went 2-for-17 for the week.
Lefty Tim Hill pitched twice last week for Licey. He stranded four runners. In three innings, he allowed a hit and walked two while striking out four. Hill earned his first win last Tuesday.
For second place Gigantes (25-21), Ramon Torres began playing third base (six of his seven games played). He also batted first, second, third, and seventh. At the plate, Torres went 9-for-27 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and three RBIs. His 26 runs scored lead the DWL.
Miguel Almonte pitched once last week for Gigantes and it was a good one. He walked two in two hitless innings of relief on Sunday.
Reliever Malcom Culver pitched in two games last week for Estrellas (23-23, 2.5 games back). Last Tuesday, he stranded a runner in the fifth (1/3 of an inning). On Thursday, he allowed a run on two hits while recording just one out in the seventh.
Free agent infielder Angel Franco pinch-hit twice last week for Aguilas (23-24, three games back). Both times it was in the 9th inning (a strikeout and a ground out). Last Tuesday, he entered on defense at second base in the ninth.
Escogido (22-25, four games back) closer Kevin McCarthy continues to dominate. He pitched three times last week, earning saves in back-to-back games over the weekend (numbers five and six). Over three innings, he did not allow a base runner and struck out three. KMac stranded three base runners.
Over in the Venezuelan Winter League, Lara clinched a playoff spot on Friday. The regular season ends on December 29th.
Paulo Orlando continues to bat third and play centerfield for Lara. Last week, he went 5-for-16 with two doubles, three RBIs, and three strikeouts.
Free agent Carlos Garcia has seen his playing time begin to diminish for Margarita (27-29, 6.5 games back). He started just three games last week (he was pinch-hit for in one), going 1-for-8 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a strikeout. Garcia pinch-hit on Sunday, striking out in the 8th inning.
Angelo Castellano made his first start for Margarita on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored, and an RBI. He also struck out twice while playing shortstop and batting seventh. Castellano pinch-hit in the 8th inning Saturday for Garcia (he grounded out). He also pinch ran on Friday.
Fellow infielder Carlos Diaz made his only appearance of the week for Margarita as a pinch hitter on Saturday. He struck out in the 8th inning.
Shortstop Humberto Arteaga played in five games for Magallanes (25-31, 8.5 games back) last week. He moved from the ninth spot (three games) to the leadoff spot and the second spot in the order. Overall, Arteaga went 3-for-18 with two doubles, a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI. He also struck out six times and committed his fourth error on Sunday.
Finally in the Clemente League, where the regular season ends on December 30th. Three times have already clinched playoff spots: Santurce, Mayaguez, and Caguas.
Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera played in four games last week for Mayaguez. He went 3-for-13 with three walks, a run scored, and three RBIs.
There was one debut last week in Puerto Rico and that came with Caguas. Reliever Jake Newberry, who pitched in just the first week of the Arizona Fall League, is back in action. He pitched in three games last week, earning a hold in his first appearance (Thursday). Newberry threw 2.2 innings, allowing a hit while striking out three.
Free agent Irving Falu played in four games last week for Carolina (13-21, 10.5 games back). He went 1-for-15 with an RBI.
It was a tough week for second baseman Jack Lopez with last place Aguadilla (8-24). In the team’s doubleheader on Sunday, he committed three errors to give him nine on the season (in just 30 games). At the plate, Lopez went 6-for-22 with a triple, a run scored, and an RBI. He also struck out six times.
My next winter league recap will come a few days late next week, as I will be on vacation for the Christmas holiday.