The Hottest Hitting Prospects in the Offseason Winter Leagues
Regular-season play in the Mexican, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan Winter League concluded on Dec. 30. The Dominican Winter League’s regular season ended on Dec. 21, as the top remaining teams are now in the midst of a round robin playoff format.
Just as it’s been in each of the last two weeks, this installment will only focus on the hottest hitters that are still active in any of the four Caribbean Winter Leagues. Unfortunately (or maybe not?), there aren’t enough players to comprise a “coldest” list. I’ve also grown tired of bashing catchers Christian Bethancourt and Sebastian Valle each week for their lack of plate discipline and overall production.
Anyway, this week’s list only has a few can’t-miss prospects. A majority of the players are technically older prospects (ages 25 to 27) from the high-minors, several of whom have the potential to reach the major leagues during the 2013 season.
Jose Gil, C , New York Yankees (Venezuelan Winter League): .308/.354/.400, 9 XBH, 25/8 K/BB (34 G)
He’s an older prospect at 26 and has been stuck between Double- and Triple-A for the last four seasons; on fire over last 10 games: .378/.425/.541, 4 XBH, 4/3 K/BB.
Daniel Mayora, 3B, San Francisco Giants (VWL): .273/.379/.427, 9 XBH, 22/17 BB/K (40 G)
The 27-year-old makes a lot of contact but lacks the power of a big league corner player; last three games: 6-for-12, 4 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI.
Anthony Garcia, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (Puerto Rican Winter League): .279/.377/.433, 9 XBH, 25/14 K/BB (34 G)
Garcia can be strikeout-prone and streaky, but he has some juice in his bat; has shown better plate discipline this winter; has four extra-base hits and six walks in last 10 games.
Carlos Sanchez, IF, Chicago White Sox (VWL): .303/.378/.455, 4 XBH, 8/4 K/BB (13 G)
Twenty-year-old infielder hit his way up the ladder last season, opening the year at High-A and finishing at Triple-A; switch-hitter with a potential plus hit tool and defensive versatility; last 10 games: .333/.417/.476, 5 R.
Ernesto Mejia, 1B, Atlanta Braves (VWL): .298/.340/.551, 29 XBH (16 HR), 64/13 K/BB (61 G)
The 6’5”, 245-pound first baseman has big power—52 extra-base hits (24 HR) last season for Triple-A Gwinnett—but also strikes out a lot; tied with teammate Evan Gattis for home run lead.
Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Minnesota Twins (PWL): .338/.386/.496, 13 XBH (4 HR), 27/11 K/BB (36 G)
Rosario continues to tear the cover off the ball in the PWL; last 10 games: .341/.372/.512, 14 hits, 5 XBH, 8 RBI; could be in store for a big 2013 season at High-A.
Justin Bour, 1B, Chicago Cubs (PWL): .231/.333/.404, 7 XBH, 13/8 K/BB (16 G)
Big, strong left-handed hitting first baseman has amassed 40 home runs and 195 RBI over the last two seasons, but also 220 strikeouts; one encouraging sign: Bour showcased improved on-base skills despite the jump to Double-A Tennessee; last three games: 4-for-12, 3 R, HR, 3 BB.
Niuman Romero, 2B, Baltimore Orioles (VWL): .268/.333/.377, 18 XBH, 39/24 K/BB (61 G)
A switch-hitting second baseman, Romero, 27, is an older prospect who finally had a breakout season last year at Double-A Erie, batting .300/.367/.421 with 41 extra-base hits, 19 stolen bases and 65/54 K/BB; absolutely raking over his last 10 games: .405/.444/.548, 8 R, 17 H, 4 XBH.
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