Around the Winter Leagues: Blue Jays

It's hot stove season, but there's still plenty of baseball action going on around the world. Below, we'll take a look at how Blue Jays prospects are doing in various Winter leagues.

In the Venezuelan League-

Outfielder Darin Mastroianni posted a .365 batting average with 1 homerun, 18 RBI and 11 steals in 37 games for the Aguilas. Mastroianni batted .301 with a .788 OPS in 132 games for Double A New Hampshire during the 2010 regular season.

Ronald Uviendo, who the Blue Jays acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Dana Eveland this year, is pitching for the Leones. In 17 games (10 starts), the 24-year-old Uviendo has a 4-2 record with a 2.39 ERA. With Double A New Hampshire, after the trade, Uviendo went 5-3 with a 5.31 ERA in 25 games.

20-year-old first base prospect Roan Salas, a native of Venezuela, has played in just two games with the Aguilas. In those games he is 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Righty hurler Nestor Molina is 4-2 with a 2.77 ERA and has struck out 25 batters in 26 relief innings for the Cardenales. Right-handed opponents are batting .196 against Molina, while left-handers have hit at a .343 clip against him. Molina was signed as a free agent out of Venezuela in 2006 at age 17.

Also on the Cardenales roster is catcher Jonathan Jaspe. The switch-hitting 25-year-old has a .244 average with 2 homers and 5 RBI in 19 games. Jaspe batted .238 in 61 games for Double A New Hampshire in 2010.

David Cooper, a lefty hitting first baseman that also played with New Hampshire in 2010, struggled in 6 games as a member of the Bravos. Cooper went 3-for-17 (.176 avg.) with no extra base hits.

Right-handed pitcher Wes Etheridge, acquired by Toronto this off-season, posted a 1-2 record and a 2.76 ERA in 6 games (3 starts) with the Caribes. Etheridge, a 12th round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2007, spent the 2010 regular season pitching for Maui in the independent Golden Baseball League.

The man with the best name of the bunch, Balbino Fuenmayor, has a .268 average with 1 homerun and 5 RBI in 18 games. Fuenmayor is a 21-year-old first baseman who resides in Venezuela.

Jesus Merchan, a 29-year-old infielder, has posted a .308 average with 2 doubles and 3 RBI in 14 games for the Navegantes. The former Phillies prospect batted .310 in 44 games at two levels of the Toronto system in 2010.

Henderson Alvarez, who pitched with the High A Level Dunedin Blue Jays this year, has looked good in 10 starts, despite not earning a win for the Tiburones. Alvarez has a 0-1 record with a 2.13 ERA with just 1 homerun allowed. The 20-year-old is a native of Venezuela. 

In the Puerto Rican League-

Willie Collazo, a 31-year-old lefty pitcher, has posted solid number for the Gigantes. In 7 games, Collazo is 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA and has held opponents to a .213 batting average. Collazo, a native of Puerto Rico, also pitched 2 relief outings in the Venezuelan League this year.

In the Dominican League-

Joel Carreno, a 23-year-old righty pitcher, posted a 2-1 record with a 3.25 ERA and 24 strike outs in 27 2/3 innings for the Leones. Carreno went 9-6 with a 3.73 ERA at High A Dunedin in 2010.

Starting pitcher Luis Perez is 2-5 with a 4.23 in 11 games for the Leones. Perez, a lefty, has an unimpressive 21/17 strike out/walk ratio. In 28 combined games between Double A and Triple A this year, Perez had a 10-11 record with a 5.40 ERA.

Ivan Contreras, a 23-year-old second baseman, is just 0-for-2 with 6 runs scored and 5 steals, appearing primarily as a pinch runner in 21 games for the Gigantes. Contreras played in the Angels system during the 2010 regular season.

Right-handed hitting outfielder Moises Sierra has a .273 average and a .909 OPS in 18 games for the Gigantes. The 22-year-old has been appearing as a reserve player lately. Sierra batted .211 in 20 combined games for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and High A level Dunedin during 2010.

Jonthan Diaz went hitless in 11 games with 1 RBI for the Gigantes. Diaz, a 25-year-old infielder, batted .239 with 2 HR and 43 RBI in 127 combined games at Double A and Triple A during the 2010 regular season.

Edwin Encarnacion who batted .244 with 21 homers in 96 games with the Blue Jays in 2010 is on the Aguilas roster. In 15 Dominican League games, Encarnacion is batting .246 with 3 homeruns and 11 RBI. The righty hitting Encarnacion is also just 1-for-12 (.083 avg) against lefty pitchers...the lone hit was a homer.

Adam Loewen has a .355 batting average with 2 homeruns and 7 RBI in 9 games with the Toros. Loewen also batted .333 with 5 homeruns and 19 in 14 games in the Arizona Fall League. The left-handed hitting Canadian was once a Major League pitcher, but is on his way back up through the ranks as an outfielder, after injuries ended his pitching career.

33-year-old righty pitcher Winston Abreu, signed by Toronto in late November, has looked excellent in 16 games for the Toros. The former Major Leaguer has not allowed an earned run in 14 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .143 batting average.

In the Mexican League-

22-year-old outfielder Jon Del Campo, who played in 28 games with High-A level Dunedin in 2010, went hitless in 3 games with the Venados. The switch-hitter Del Campo is a native of Mexico and was a 20th round draft pick in 2006.

In the Australian League-

24-year-old pitcher Shane Benson allowed 2 earned runs in 2 innings for the Blue Sox. Benson only appeared in one game back in November.
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  1. I'm excited to see Sierra get back into the game this year, his 2009 was excellent.

    Any idea what the relative strengths of these leagues are, like how the AFL is approximately AA?

  2. Hey, Xave. Thanks for always checking us out.

    The Puerto Rican & Mexican leagues have a lower level of talent in the Caribbean leagues. Those are both probably Class A level competition.

    Dominican & Venezuelan leagues are the more premiere of the 4 Caribbean leagues, with the talent varying year to year. Both have active Major Leaguers each season.

    I primarily cover the Phils and I know they had at least FOUR players from the 2010 major league squad in the Dominican League this year. Including Jamie Moyer, prior to his injury.

    The Australian league isn't quite up there with good North American independent league, I don't think. It has potential to become a destination for higher level English speaking players looking for a Winter home as the league grows.

  3. EE's numbers aren't exactly impressive considering his MLB experience. Is Loewen on the cusp of a call up or are his impressive numbers just due to the competition? Please excuse my ignorance regarding fall/winter leagues...

  4. Hey Matt,

    My opinion on Loewen would be based on what the Jays decide to do with their 40 man. They are currently at 39, however Dusty McGowan could start the year on the 60 day DL, while other guys could be included as PTBNL (as we have 2 of those to send out due to Villanueva and Olivo)

    Guys not on the 40 man who will probably get strong consideration are

    1. Zach Stewart
    2. Corey Patterson
    3. Adam Loewen

    In that order. But positions of need will also play a part.

    I believe Patterson's and Loewen's contract need to be purchased if they are to be put on the 40 man, so I would guess that they would put Stewart on that list first, before the position players.

    I think Loewen will get one more year of seasoning in AAA this year and then be re-evaluated at season's end. He could be a darkhorse possibility in 2012, depending on what happens with Bautista.

  5. Thanks GCM1979. Good points. I'm just hoping his fall numbers translate into his next minor league level. If they do then we'll definitely be seeing him at some point...

  6. Late to the roundup, but appreciate it nonetheless.

  7. Let's start a campaign next break to rip up the carpet and get some grass on the field. Every time I watch I game I feel like it's 1975.