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?