Winter Leagues roundup

Thanks to Brewers media relations man Ken Spindler, who rounded up some information on players participating in winter leagues. Here is his story:

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers have been well represented in the various Winter League programs, which include the Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues.  Along with the Arizona Fall League, which concluded with the Peoria Javelinas winning the AFL Championship, the Brewers have had a total of 26 players participate in Winter League play this offseason. 

The Brewers are represented by seven positional players in the Venezuelan Winter League.  Shortstop Alcides Escobar is batting .403 with two home runs, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 33 games for Lara, and teammate Hernan Iribarren is also faring well, batting .313 with three triples, two home runs, 20 RBI and nine stolen bases in 44 games.  Third baseman Mat Gamel has appeared in six games for Caracas (.200, 1hr, 2rbi), while fellow infielder Adam Heether appeared in 21 games with Caracas prior to being sidelined with an intercostal strain.  Outfielder Brendan Katin appeared in 22 games (.246, 1hr, 7rbi) for Zulia.  Catcher Anderson De La Rosa (Lara) and outfielder Juan Sanchez (Aragua) also saw limited action.

The Dominican Winter League has featured five players from the organization competing in the three-month long winter season, including recent acquisitions outfielder Carlos Gomez and left-handed pitcher John Halama.  Gomez is playing for Escogido and has batted .328 with one home run and 12 RBI through 18 games.  Halama, meanwhile, was 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts for Aguilas.

Shortstop Erick Almonte, who spent the 2009 regular season as a corner infielder at Triple-A Nashville, is among the Dominican League batting leaders with a .331 batting average along with four home runs and 23 RBI in 42 games for Gigantes.  Right-hander Juan Sandoval (Estrellas) has gone 0-1 with a 3.95 ERA in 17 relief appearances and left-hander Rafael Lluberes has pitched sparingly for Gigantes.

In the Puerto Rican Winter League, right-handed pitcher Hiram Burgos – a sixth round selection by the Brewers in this year’s First-Year Player Draft – began Monday’s game by pitching 5.1 hitless innings for Mayaguez before allowing a single run on one hit.  He is currently 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in five starts overall in the Puerto Rican Winter League.  Left-hander Efrain Nieves (0-0, 4.76) has made three appearances (1 start) with Arecibo and catcher Martin Maldonado has played in 11 games for Mayaguez.

The Mexican Winter League has included a pair of Brewers newcomers, including outfielder Trent Oeltjen, who has hit .348 with five RBI in 23 games with Hermosillo, and infielder Luis Cruz (.318, 1hr, 14rbi) with Culiacan.  Right-handed pitcher David Welch has gone 1-3 with a 4.75 ERA in seven starts for Guasave.

The Brewers had eight members on the Peoria Javelinas squad in the Arizona Fall League, which won the six-team league title with a 5-4 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs on November 21.  Catcher Jonathan Lucroy played consistently over 17 games, batting .310 with two home runs and 10 RBI.   He was joined by infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who both participated in the league for the second consecutive year. 

On the pitching side, right-handed pitcher Omar Aguilar made his second straight appearance in the Arizona Fall League.  He was joined by right-hander Rob Wooten, who had six scoreless outings in eight appearances, and left-handed pitcher Zach Braddock, who allowed just one run over 11.2 innings with three saves prior to his final outing.  Right-handers Josh Butler and Mark Rogers also participated in the AFL after contributing with solid seasons during the regular season. 

In addition, Brevard County pitching coach Fred Dabney served as a coach for Peoria.

Nice job by Ken of avoiding the AFL stats, because they were not all pretty. If you want to see how those players fared, you can see Peoria’s roster and final statistics here.

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