Winter Leagues Report: Week 1

Good morning! While the parent club continues it's quest to repeat as World Series Champions, their minor league players are hard at work in the sunny Caribbean. Today begins Cubs Den's exclusive coverage of the Cubs minor league prospects as they progress though the winter leagues. Follow the weekly highlights of action in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico (hopefully), and Venezuela from now until February, culminating in the Caribbean World Series.

This week, leagues in the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela began play. Coverage will be by calendar week, from Sunday through Saturday. 

Dominican Winter League

 Aguilas Cibaenas

As the rest of the Dominican League began their season on Saturday, Cibaenas played their second game and dropped a 6-1 decision to Cibao. Tennessee reliever Daury Torrez closed out the game for the Aguilas as he gave up two hits in a scoreless eighth inning. Cibao 6 - Cibaenas 1

Mexican Pacific League

Caneros de los Mochis

On opening night in the LMP on Tuesday, Los Mochis manager Luis Sojo called upon 20-year old Manuel Rodriguez to get his team out of a jam in the sixth inning. Rodriguez inherited a mess as pitchers Luis Pino and Santiago Gutierrez loaded the bases with nobody out. Rodriguez induced veteran Yuniesky Betancourt to ground into a double play, but the tying run scored. Rodriguez got out of the sixth with no further damage, and went 1-2-3 with a strikeout in the seventh but ended up being hung with the loss as the Caneros lost to Mexicali 7-6. Mexicali 7 - Los Mochis 6

Tomateros de Culiacan

Culiacan got their season off to a fast start on Wednesday by defeating Navojoa 5-3. Iowa Cubs catcher Ali Solis began the game for the Tomato Pickers and doubled in his only at bat in the first inning before being removed for a pinch-runner. Culiacan 5 - Navojoa 3

Venezuelan Winter League

Cardenales de Lara

Down 3-1 to Magallanes in the bottom of the seventh on Friday, Lara stepped on the gas offensively and blew past the Nav’s 8-3. Yapson Gomez was able to stop Magallanes after a shaky three innings from starter Osmer Morales, walking a natter in 0.2 scoreless innings. Lara 8 - Magallanes 3

Caribes de Anzoategui

Opening night on Tuesday was not kind to the Caribes de Anzoategui, as they lost 12-3 to Margarita. Erick Castillo started at catcher and was 1-for-3 in the loss. Margarita 12 - Anzoategui 3

Leones del Caracas

On Thursday, Caracas ran into a buzz saw named Aragua, as the game was never as close as the 4-1 score suggests. Eugene right-hander Enrique De Los Rios was ruffed up in his first appearance. Coming on to begin the eighth inning, De Los Rios was tagged for two earned runs on three hits without recording an out. Aragua 4 - Caracas 1 

The Leones nudged their record over .500 on Saturday with an exciting 5-4 victory over Margarita. Enrique De Los Rios atoned for a poor first outing as he blanked the Bravos for 1.2 innings in relief of starter Yoanys Quiala, allowing three hits. Caracas 5 - Margarita 4

Navegantes del Magallanes

On Thursday, Magallanes played one of the definitions of marathon baseball as it took seventeen innings to top Zulia 6-5. Jose Rosario started the game for the Navigators and allowed four runs (three earned) over three innings. Magallanes 6 - Zulia 5

Bravos de Margarita

Margarita put an exclamation point on a 10-1 win over Anzoategui on Thursday with a six run ninth inning. Twenty year old Eugenio Palma entered with two outs in the fifth inning and walked the only batter he faced. Margartia 10 - Anzoategui 1

Tigres de Aragua

It was a quiet opener for Aragua on Tuesday, as they were blanked 3-0 by Lara. Carlos Penalver started at shortstop and went 1-for-3 with a double. James Pugliese came on in the seventh and held the Cardinals scoreless while striking out a batter. Lara 3 - Aragua 0

The Tigres evened things up with Lara on Wednesday, using a four run eighth inning to blow past the Cardenales 5-2. Carlos Penalver (1-for-3) led off the eighth with a single, advanced to second on an error, moved to third on a sacrifice, and scored on a base hit from Luis Villegas. Aragua 5 - Lara 2

On Thursday, the Tigers got contributions from all of their Cubs prospects in a 4-1 win over Caracas. Stephen Perakslis started the game and blanked the Leones for four innings, striking out a batter while giving up three hits and a walk. James Pugliese came in with one out in the seventh and was able to strand two runners to keep the shut out intact. Carlos Penalver was moved up to the lead-off spot in the batting order and responded by going 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Aragua 4 - Caracas 1

Aragua was able to romp on Friday, as they beat Anzoategui 9-2. Shortstop Carlos Penalver was able to his damage from the bottom of the line-up, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run. Aragua 9 - Anzoategui 2

The Tigers capped off their first week with a 4-1 record and a share of first place by putting up a three-spot in the top of the tenth inning on Saturday to defeat Anzoategui 4-1. In the third inning, shortstop Carlos Penavler (1-for-5) tripled and came home on a wild pitch for the only run in the game until the ninth inning. James Pugliese began the seventh inning and retired the only two batters he faced. Aragua 4 - Anzoategui 1




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  • Tom..........Thank you for the great updates.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Yes, thank you for all your hard work.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    You're welcome! I love this part of the year, and I am happy to keep everyone well informed.

  • In reply to Tom U: do specific players end up on the specific teams? Does the player solicit the team? Does a team solicit specific players? Do the MLB teams have relationships with the teams and allocate players by position? Thanks.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I know that the Dominican Republic and Venezuela have player drafts. I believe that Mexico and Puerto Rico are strictly free agent, but get recommendations from the major league clubs.

  • I am interested if Daury Torrez will re-sign with the Cubs. He is a six year FA. Had a good year at Tenn.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Torrez re-signed

  • fb_avatar

    TOM!!!!! Man, aren't you a sight for sore eyes.... great to find some material by the best farm system guru in existence!

    How often do you post new material, and is there any way to get alerts?

    How have you been? Hope all is well...

  • In reply to Theboardrider:

    Thank you Board! I work now with the best writers providing the most comprehensive Cubs coverage anywhere.

    Our minor league coverage is first rate, with Michael Ernst providing prospect evaluations and daily game recaps, with Stephanie Lynn and myself providing feature articles. You may have heard my article on the Cubs pitchers of the year mentioned by Len and JD on the Cubs broadcast the past season.

    I post at Cubs Den on Monday’s, still write for the South Bend Cubs, and have been credentialed by the Iowa Cubs.

    Good to see you here. Some of the old crew post here. Unfortunately, some of the posters that made things bad occasionally pop up, usually under the alias of “Theo Epstein “.

    Please don’t be shy and feel welcome at our site. Look forward to hearing more from you.

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