The Hottest/Coldest Pitching Prospects in the Offseason Winter Leagues
Postseason play in all four offseason winter leagues continued this past week, as teams battle for a potential berth into the Caribbean Series in early February. And since multiple rounds remain in the Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan winter leagues, respectively, there’s still a decent assemblage of active prospects.
This week’s recap of notable pitching performances is highlighted by Blue Jays’ right-hander Fernando Hernandez, 28, who has allowed only one hit and fanned 10 batters in two postseason starts.
Fernando Hernandez, rhp, Toronto Blue Jays (Puerto Rican Winter League): 11 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 10/4 K/BB (2 GS)
Hernandez dominated once again in his second start in the PWL postseason, allowing only one hit over six scoreless frames. The 28-year-old fanned seven batters and picked up the win.
Justin Thomas, lhp, Oakland Athletics (Venezuelan Winter League): 4 IP, H, 0 ER, 1/2 K/BB (4 G)
Signed by the A’s as a minor league free agent in 2011, Thomas struggled upon reaching the majors for the first time last season, as he’d register an 8.22 ERA with 12 hits allowed and 7/3 K/BB in 7.2 innings (11 appearances). He allows too many baserunners, but there’ll always be a need for a 6’3” left-hander capable of missing bats.
Aaron Miller, lhp, Los Angeles Dodgers (PWL): 2-0, 11.2 IP, 2.31 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9/4 K/BB (2 GS)
A first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2009, Miller, 25, has swing-and-miss stuff but shaky command. The 6’3” left-hander reached Double-A Chattanooga for the first time last season and was noticeably challenged, as he’d register a 4.45 ERA with 110/71 K/BB in 121.1 innings.
Dakota Watts, rhp, Minnesota Twins (PWL): 4 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 1/2 K/BB (4 G)
The 6’5” right-hander doesn’t pile up the strikeouts, but he’s difficult to barrel and induces lots of weak outs. Watts has been solid this winter and especially in the postseason, as he's allowed only two hits over four scoreless innings.
Adalberto Flores, rhp, Houston Astros (PWL): 5 IP, 6 H, ER, 2/0 K/BB (1 GS)
The 6’7” right-hander has gradually ascended the Astros’ system, but was lit up last season at both Double and Triple-A. Normally a starter, Flores picked up the win in a rare start—in the postseason nonetheless.
Julio Rodriguez, rhp, Philadelphia Phillies (PWL): 1.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 5/1 K/BB (3 G)
After pitching decently as a starter to conclude the PWL regular season, Rodriguez has struggled out of the bullpen. Here’s a breakdown of his three postseason appearances:
Jan. 3: (L) 0.1 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 2 BB
Jan 8: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER
Jan. 9: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB
Ty’Relle Harris, rhp, Chicago Cubs (PWL): 12 IP, 3.75 ERA, 6/5 K/BB (2 GS)
After an impressive first start in the PWL playoffs, Harris wasn’t nearly as sharp on Tuesday when he allowed four earned runs on four hits (one home run) and four walks over five innings. The right-hander, who reached Triple-A Iowa last season, has opened eyes this winter by registering a 0.71 ERA and .213 BAA with 17/4 K/BB in 12.2 innings.
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