2007 November Latin American Update

While some Phillies prospects are enjoying the sun of Arizona and Hawaii winter leagues, others are playing in their native country winter leagues this off-season. The big change in 2007 is the demise of the Puerto Rican league due to financial difficulties. This leaves 3 top quality leagues still playing in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. There are also minor leagues in Nicaragua and Columbia among others, though the major action is in the first 3 leagues. This post will look at all the current Phillies playing in these leagues as long as a few familiar names from recent Phillies past.


No current Phillies are in Mexico. 17-year-old prospect Sebastian Valle has not played yet. It is possible he is playing in one of the winter development leagues (Liga Paralela) that are in operation in each country, though stats from those leagues are difficult to come by. Three former Phillies are worth a brief mention. Danny Gonzalez (.229, 4 HR, .709 OPS) and Jorge Padilla (.321, 2 HR, .859 OPS) are playing in Mexico with no options back home in Puerto Rico. Also in Mexico is Reggie Taylor, still hitting a bit (.270, 6 HR) but not walking (7 BB in 122 AB, .785 OPS) enough.


More Phillies are playing in the Dominican. Offensively, Gary Burnham (6-29) is struggling a bit. Former Phillie Juan Richardson is also still playing (3-11, 1 HR), though he is probably a career minor leaguer. He has put up a couple 800+ OPS seasons at AA and is a free agent. One interesting name tearing the cover off the ball is Elijah Dukes (.333, 1 HR, 1.087 OPS). More pitchers are playing and their stats are as follows:

Eude Brito – 0.00 ERA, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K – Probably worth re-signing and giving him a chance to win a bullpen job
Fabio Castro – 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K
Julio De La Cruz – 54.00 ERA, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Anderson Garcia – 0-2/3.24 ERA, 8.1 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K
Julio Mateo – 1-1/3.45 ERA, 15.2, 21 K, 5 BB, 9 K – Mateo is mostly starting, so his K rate is down
Alfredo Simon – 1-0/0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K – Not a Phillie but some day may put it together


The Phillies have historically had a relationship with Zulia in the Venezuelan league and many of the Phillies minor leaguers not native to Venezuela end up there. Here are the stats of Phillies (or recent Phillies) this season:

Peeter Ramos – .211, 4-19, .513 OPS
Randy Ruiz – .295, 26-88, 3 HR, .834 OPS
Danny Sandoval – .077, 3-39 – His decline as a potenially useful bench player has been steep. He deserved a couple of major league backup seasons but never really got a chance.

Sergio Escalona – 0-1/8.00 ERA, 9 IP, 9 H, 6 BB, 7 K – The struggles from the end of last season continue
Moises Melendez – 1-0/5.47 ERA, 24.2 IP, 32 H, 9 BB, 11 K – Low K rate makes me wonder a little about his health. Last winter he was better.
Carlos Monasterios – 1-0/1.69 ERA, 16 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 8 K – Decent performance, though he still needs to show more if he has a chance at the majors.
Heath Totten – 3-0/2.04 ERA, 17.2 IP, 16 H, 1 BB, 9 K – Earning a spot in the Allentown rotation?

15 thoughts on “2007 November Latin American Update

  1. Great update, thanks.

    One quick point of clarification: You included Elijah Dukes in your summary–is he a free agent or still the property of the Rays?

  2. Dukes is still Tampa property. Just an interesting name to see out there that probably could be acquired inexpensively. He probably has too much baggage for most teams including the Phillies to consider. We will probably need an extra OF if Rowand leaves as expected and Victorino starts in CF. We would need a platoon partner potentially for Werth or a versatile OF that could play all three positions adequately. Dobbs is in the mix as well as an OF, but we still need another player out there that would also be a pinch hitter.

  3. Will update this in more detail later, but I did find the Venezuelan league minor league stats. The Phillies apparently have an entire minor league team while some of their other players are playing for the minor league affiliate of a Venzuelan winter league senior team. Two Phillies tearing it up are Francisco Murillo and Freddy Ballestas. Note that these two are a little older and SHOULD be playing well:

    Murillo – .341 AVG, 12 HR in only 82 AB, .866 SLG, 1244 OPS – Only downside is 5 BB, but it is hard to complain when you have 12 HR in 82 AB.

    Ballestas – 2-0/0.52 ERA – 17.1 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 15 K

    More stats here:
    Don’t worry that the Phillies team is only 7-15. It is lacking the best players such as Murillo, Ballestas, Yonderman Rodriguez and many others.

  4. The Phillies roster appears to have some of our newly signed players as well. We might have signed (or are close to signing) one of the tallest and thinnest player in the history of baseball. Rafael Briceno is listed at 6’11” and 180 pounds. He turned 17 a couple of weeks ago.


    2 IP, 4 K so far. He is listed as a Phillies invite, however, so he is probably not formally signed yet. Several 15-year-olds are also listed as invites. No wonder the Phillies team is lousy and the senior league squads are much better (with 20-year-olds on the roster).

  5. I am not sure about Murillo yet. He can rake against 16-year-old pitchers. He was mildly disappointing last season at GCL, though it was his first U.S. experience. I would love to see the team have enough confidence in him to send him to Lakewood. We have to assume Durant will be there as well. Hopefully Rizzotti shows enough to get sent to Clearwater in the Spring.

    Murillo will be 21 years old next season. He has shown he can hit some, but not really enough to play 1B. He is not really a catcher any more and he probably does not profile range-wise as a good OF. Thus he needs to hit and he really hasn’t shown enough yet offensively to be seen as a real prospect. That being said, he has dominated enough at lower levels to show there is some power potential there. Maybe he will get promoted to Zulia’s senior team later in the winter season so we can get a better read on his talent against better competition.

  6. Age is a consideration, but it was his first US baseball experience, and he flashed good power as well as the ability to draw a walk, and the GCL is a notoriously tough league to hit in. The strikeouts were plentiful, but I’m encouraged by the power. We’ll see what happens in 2008.

  7. andyb – Do you know which of our Latin American prospects need to be put on the 40 man roster this year to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. From a US perspective, the only addition I think is necessary is to add Jaramillo.

  8. I believe the new CBA stipulates 5 years after a player signed for a non-college guy, 4 years after for a player who went to college. So, I guess that would be players who’s first season was 2003?

  9. On the International front there do not appear to be too many players left who first played in 2003. Here is the list:

    Welinson Baez
    Phil Cuevas
    Orlando Guevara (first played in 2001, so probably a free agent)
    Brad Harman (first played in 2004, but signed in March, 2003)
    Fidel Hernandez
    Williams Jaspe
    Scott Mitchinson (same as Harman, signed in 03)
    Doug Morales
    Jamie Morales
    Joel Naughton (possibly – signed 8/03)
    Carlos Pena

    Harman is a lock for the 40. Mitchinson and Baez are the only 2 others I would think about, but the team probably would not care too much if they were lost.

  10. I have always been a little confused on when the rule 5 clock starts for international signings. The 5/4 year rule is pretty clear. I don’t think a player has to actually play in the year they signed for it to count. Thus the Aussie players signing a year before they hit the U.S. (playing in the MLB academy there) almost certainly count that year. What is a little unclear to me is when players sign late in the year, say in November or December. While the draft now has a signing deadline, we used to hear of late signings that would sign a next year (i.e. 2008 contract). I think there was always some post-dating of contracts to that effect. Maybe with the 5/4 rule and the signing deadlines they have tightened up those loopholes. 4 years was always a pretty steep deadline for 16-year-old international free agents who often played a year or two in the DSL/VSL.

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