With all the excitement created by the pair of blockbuster deals this week, it’s easy to forget that there’s still baseball being played in the Caribbean Winter Leagues.
As I mentioned in last week’s update on the hottest/coldest pitchers, there are few notable pitching prospects still active in the Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan leagues. However, the same cannot be said for position prospects, who remain plentiful—especially in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues.
So, kick back, relax and enjoy this week’s installment of the hottest/coldest hitters from each offseason league.
Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins (Dominican Winter League): .333/.457/.667, 3 HR, 7/8 K/BB (16 G)
Twins’ slugger has five extra-base hits in last three games and has posted an unusually good 2/5 K/BB in his last 10.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins (DWL): .252/.307/.483, 19 XBH (8 HR), 40/10 K/BB (40 G)
Outfielder has plenty of raw power, but it comes at the expense of his contact and strikeout-to-walk rates; last four games: 8-for-15 with four runs scored.
Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (DWL): .319/.385/.500, 17 XBH (4 HR), 21/14 K/BB (37 G)
What can’t this kid do? He’s raked at every stop since turning pro and shows no signs of slowing down. Last 10 games: .357/.413/.548, 15 H, 8 R, 8 2B, 8/4 K/BB. Yes, eight of his last 15 hits have been two-baggers.
Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Minnesota Twins (Venezuelan Winter League): .354/.394/.554, 7 XBH (3 HR), 14/5 K/BB (18 G)
Making up for lost time after suffering a scary facial injury (hit flush in the face by a line drive during batting practice), Rosario has been on a tear over his last 10 games: .447/.448/.763, 17 H, 6 XBH, 7/3 K/BB.
Junior Lake, SS, Chicago Cubs (DWL): .336/.401/.496, 12 XBH, 9 SB, 39/12 K/BB (38 G)
Lake can definitely hit, but never has with the consistency that he’s showcased this winter; batting .351/.442/.568 during current 10-game hit streak.
Angelo Gumbs, 2B, New York Yankees (Puerto Rican Winter League): .357/.438/.714, 3 XBH (7 G)
Gumbs has only received three starts since late November, but he has made the most of each one by notching an extra-base hit.
Wilmer Flores, 3B, New York Mets (VWL): .293/.363/.471, 16 XBH (6 HR), 19/13 K/BB (37 G)
Mets’ top position prospect continues to build off a breakout 2012 season in which he reached Double-A for the first time; last four games: 6-for-11, 6 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Detroit Tigers (VWL): .191/.283/.234, 2 2B, 12/5 K/BB (13 G)
After collecting at least one hit in each of his first VWL games, the 6’4” outfielder has cooled off considerably; last 10 games: .189/.268/.216, 11/3 K/BB.
Cesar Puello, OF, New York Mets (DWL): .217/.357/.391, 3 XBH, 9/3 K/BB (10 G)
Mets’ prospect continues to showcase all the tools that made him a top international signing, but his plate discipline and lack of power leaves something to be desired; last four games: 2-for-12, 5/2 K/BB.
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (DWL): .171/.171/.229, 11/0 K/BB (13 G)
Polanco hadn’t started a game since Nov. 24 until he received the nod on Dec. 9. However, his first game back certainly could have been better: 0-for-5, 2 K.
Reymond Fuentes, OF, San Diego Padres (VWL): .259/.310/.370, 2 XBH, 7/2 K/BB (10 G)
Now playing with his second VWL team, Fuentes has hit the ball better. In the 18 games in which he’s played this winter, the speedy left-handed hitter has yet to turn in a multi-hit performance.
Christian Villanueva, 3B, Chicago Cubs (Mexican Winter League): .176/.283/.353, 5 XBH, 25/6 K/BB (23 G)
His starts have become few and far between due to his ongoing struggles, but at least his plate discipline is still respectable; last 10 games: .111/.273/.167, 2B, 11/4 K/BB.
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