Before reading this article, it’s vital that you understand that there are very few notable pitching prospects still active in the Caribbean Winter Leagues. However, there are a few high-profile arms who continue to get in their much-needed work, refining their command and arsenal while hoping to carry some positive momentum into spring training.
Those players who are currently working as starting pitchers are guys who missed significant time during the regular season (due to either injury or suspension) and are attempting to make up for lost time. But a majority of the starting pitching prospects in the winter leagues are being utilized as relievers to limit their workload.
Having said all of that, here’s a look at the hottest and coldest pitchers of the Caribbean Winter Leagues.
Daniel Corcino, RHP, Cincinnati Reds: 12 IP, 3.75 ERA, .298 BAA, 5/4 K/BB (3 GS)
After registering a 3.75 ERA and .216 BAA last season at Double-A, the 22-year-old struggled in his first two starts in the DWL before pitching well on Dec. 2 (W, 5 IP, 4 H, ER, K).
Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves: 2-1, 24.2 IP, 4.01 ERA, .256 BAA, 16/9 K/BB (6 GS)
Not far removed from status as one of the game’s top pitching prospects, Teheran has put things together after four ugly starts in the DWL; last two starts: 2-0, 10.2 IP, 1 H, 7/4 K/BB.
Francisco Rondon, LHP, New York Yankees: 5.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 10/3 K/BB (8 G)
Yankees southpaw reached Triple-A for the first time last season while fanning 80 batters in 71 innings; has missed plenty of bats through games in the DWL.
Danny Salazar, RHP, Cleveland Indians: 0-3, 14 IP, 3.86 ERA, .226 BAA, 1.40 GO/AO, 17/4 K/BB (5 G; 3 GS)
Twenty-two-year-old right-hander posted a 2.36 ERA and .224 BAA last season in 87.2 innings between Tribe’s Low and Double-A affiliates; has given up six runs in three DWL starts, but has also registered a 12/3 K/BB.
Nick Hagadone, LHP, Cleveland Indians: 3 IP, 15.00 ERA, .308 BAA, 5/2 K/BB (4 G)
Former supplemental first-rounder was relegated to a bullpen role in 2011; didn’t record an out in last appearance on Nov. 30 (3 H, 4 ER, BB)
Luis Avilan, RHP, Atlanta Braves: 4-2, 16.1 IP, 1.65 ERA, .115 BAA, 6 H, 14/7 K/BB (14 G)
Avilan made a strong impression (2.00 ERA, .211 BAA in 36 IP) in his first stint in the major leagues and has only added to it this winter in the VWL.
Hector Rondon, RHP, Chicago Cubs: 2-1, 17 IP, 3.71 ERA, .172 BAA, 11/5 K/BB (19 G)
Was a member of the Indians until the Cubs selected him in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning; has allowed only one earned run on two hits over his last 10 appearances.
Bruce Rondon, RHP, Detroit Tigers: 4-1, 6 SV, 12.2 IP, 4.26 ERA, .239 BAA, 14/5 K/BB (13 G)
The Tigers’ future closer has been dominant once again in the VWL, except for his ugly appearance on Nov. 24 (0.2 IP, 5 ER, BB), which remains the only blemish this winter.
Alex Torres, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays: 1-3, 47.1 IP, 3.99 ERA, .227 BAA, 1.67 GO/AO, 65/22 K/BB (11 GS)
The 5’10” left-hander struggled with his command all season (91/63 K/BB), most of which was spent at Triple-A Durham. He’s had a few rough outings in the VWL, but has showcased noticeably refined command of his entire arsenal while still missing plenty of bats; last three starts: 14.1 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 13/4 K/BB.
Wilfredo Boscan, RHP, San Diego Padres: 2-1, 44 IP, 1.02 ERA, 30/11 K/BB (9 GS)
Acquired by the Padres on Thursday to complete the previous Cory Burns trade; right-hander pitched well in previous four starts prior to the trade: 21.2 IP, 16 H, 3 ER, 15/5 K/BB.
Andre Rienzo, RHP, Chicago White Sox: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 5/2 K/BB (1 GS)
Recently added to the White Sox’s 40-man roster after a solid performance in the Arizona Fall League, Rienzo was sharp in his first VWL start on Dec. 2.
Adys Portillo, RHP, San Diego Padres: 2-1, 15 IP, 4.80 ERA, .273 BAA, 15 H, 7/9 K/BB (13 G)
After dialing back his velocity in favor of command this past season, Portillo had a breakout campaign in which he reached Double-A; he’s been used strictly as a reliever this winter and has been far too hittable and missed too few bats.
Jay Jackson, RHP, Chicago Cubs: 1-2, 25 IP, 3.24 ERA, 18/8 K/BB (6 GS)
After an ugly season at Triple-A Iowa in which he posted a 6.57 ERA in 37 games, he’s been decent as a starter in the MWL; last three starts: 13 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 8/5 K/BB.
Anthony Slama, RHP, Minnesota Twins: 22 IP, 3.68 ERA, .291 BAA, 22/10 K/BB (21 G)
Reached the major leagues in 2010 and 2011, but failed to get back in 2012 despite a damn good season for Triple-A Rochester (14 SV, 1.24 ERA, 56/18 K/BB in 36.1 innings); still allows too many baserunners, but he should get a chance to make the Opening Day roster.
None. It was like pulling teeth just to find the notable pitching prospects performing well in the MWL.
Alex Burgos, LHP, Detroit Tigers: 5.2 IP, 4.76 ERA, .333 BAA, 4/6 K/BB (6 G)
Twenty-two-year-old left-hander struggled last season at High-A Lakeland, in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League nonetheless, and has worked in relief in the PWL; hadn’t allowed an earned run until his appearance on Dec. 4 (1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1/1 K/BB).
Julio Rodriguez, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies: 13 IP, 1.38 ERA, .163 BAA, 14/2 K/BB (6 G)
Twenty-two-year-old right-hander had mixed results last season as part of the Double-A Reading starting rotation (4.23 ERA, 137/76 K/BB in 134 IP); has been dominant as a reliever-only this winter.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox: 0-2, 9.1 IP, 6.75 ERA, .250 BAA, 7/2 K/BB (4 GS)
Former first-rounder was limited to only 37.2 innings last season at Double-A due to injury and is attempting to make up for lost time in the PWL; has alternated between good and bad through four starts.
Anthony Carter, RHP, Boston Red Sox: 10.2 IP, 5.06 ERA, 13 H, 8/6 K/BB (9 G)
Was serviceable last season (4.60 ERA, 54/22 K/BB) in the White Sox’s Triple-A bullpen; last three appearances: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5/3 K/BB.