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Winter League Report for Nov. 24

November 24, 2014

The only thing longer than Giancarlo Stanton's tape measure home runs now is his contract. The slugger signed a record 13-year deal with the Miami Marlins this week worth a reported $325 million. His deal was the headliner of a few signing this past week. The Chicago Cubs continue to be connected to several free agents, but haven't officially signed anyone yet. On this Thanksgiving week, I give thanks for the Hot Stove League and winter ball to fill our time until spring training and the start of another baseball season.



November 20 was the deadline for clubs to set their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft at the upcoming Winter Meetings in San Diego. The Cubs added RH C.J. Edwards to their 40-man roster, which currently contains 39 players. The only other news out of Cubs' camp this week was the hiring of former catcher Henry Blanco as the quality assurance coach on the major league staff. Blanco finished his playing career with the Seattle Mariners in 2013 and was a coach/bullpen catcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year. He is currently managing Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuela. Blanco played for Chicago from 2005-08 and was Geovany Soto's back-up/mentor during his final season with the Cubs. He played two games in Iowa on a rehab assignment in 2007.

While setting their 40-man roster, the Texas Rangers designated OF/1B Jim Adduci (2010, '12 with Iowa) for assignment on Nov. 20. Adduci hit .168 (17-for-101) with a homer and eight RBI in 44 games for the Rangers last season.

On the minor league side, the Philadelphia Phillies re-signed C Koyie Hill (2007-08) and the Cincinnati Reds re-signed 3B Marquez Smith (2010-11) to minor league deals. The Seattle Mariners named Pat Listach as the manager at triple-A Tacoma. Listach was the PCL Manager of the Year with Iowa in 2008 and was the third base coach for Houston last year. Listach and the Rainiers will visit Principal Park, May 21-24 for a four-game series.



ESTRELLAS de ORIENTE (18-10, 1st Place)

JAKE FOX, 1B (2007-09): 6G, .316 (6-for-19), 3R, 3DBL, 2RBI, BB, 3K

The 31-year-old Fox began played five games for Somerset in the independent Atlantic League, and hit .307 (66-for-215) with 16 home runs and 46 RBI in 57 games with Laguna in the Mexican League before signing with the Phillies and reporting to double-A Reading in June. He hit .308 (88-for-286) with 22 home runs and 70 RBI in 78 games for the Fightin Phils. He joined Estrellas on Nov. 17 and the team has gone on a six-game winning streak to take over first place in the DWL. Fox has hit safely in four of his six games for Estrellas.

JUNIOR LAKE, OF (2013-14): 26G, .244 (22-for-90), 18R, 3DBL, 2HR, 8RBI, 13BB, 29K, 13SB

Lake faces a crossroads in his career. He hit just .211 (65-for-308) in 108 games with Chicago this season and came back to Iowa for a couple of weeks in August. If he doesn't rebound with a better season in 2015, he runs the risk of being bypassed by other young players in the Cubs' organization.  Lake has drawn five walks in his last four games is been a terror on the base paths when he gets on, leading the DWL with 13 stolen bases. He is tied for fourth in the league in runs scored, but ranks third in strikeouts.

RAFAEL DOLIS, RHP (2012-13): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 10G, 10.1IP, 8H, BB, 5K

Dolis was the Chicago Cubs' closer for a time in 2012, but couldn't throw enough strikes to stick in the big league bullpen. He signed with the San Francisco Giants before the 2014 season, but was released on May 22 after four appearances at triple-A Fresno. Dolis is lining up a long line of zeroes out of the Estrellas bullpen. He's given up a few hits, but just one walk in 10.1 innings is a good sign.

MARCOS MATEO, RHP (2010-11, '13-14): 0-1, 3.00 ERA (5ER/15.0IP), 15G, 13SV, 9H, 4BB, 27K

Mateo has allowed two runs (one earned) in 13.2 innings over his last 13 appearances and has earned a save in 12 of those games. His 13 saves lead the league and he is tied for fourth in strikeouts (27).


Peralta turned 24 on November 11 and celebrated by re-signing with the Cubs for another season. He pent all of the 2014 season with high-A Daytona. In 33 games (two starts), he was 6-3 with a 3.43 ERA (31ER/81.1IP) and earned two saves. He displayed a live arm, allowing just 64 hits while striking out 86.  His only appearance for Estrellas was on October 25 at Aguilas.

RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH, LHP (2012): 2-1, 3.55 ERA (10ER/25.1IP), 7G, 6GS, 31H, 8BB, 12K

Rowland-Smith was a great story to open the 2014 season, pitching both for and against the Arizona Diamondbacks in their season-opening trip to his native Australia. He mad a total of six big league appearances with Arizona this year before becoming a free agent on April 21. He was signed and released by both the Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds during the season after pitching at triple-A with both organizations.  His last two starts have both come against Aguilas, and he has allowed two runs in 9.1 innings combined between the two outings. He earned the win in his last start on Nov. 22 and has moved into ninth in the DWL in ERA.

AGUILAS CIBAENAS (16-13, T-2nd Place, 2.5 GB)

MANNY RAMIREZ, OF (2014): 24G, .292 (26-for-89), 13R, 6DBL, 4HR, 18RBI, 12BB, 18K

The Cubs signed Manny to be a player/coach with the I-Cubs on May 25. Manny joined the team on June 26 was a mentor to his triple-A teammates for a couple of months this season.  Ramirez has not gone hitless in consecutive games for Aguilas and has moved into 10th in the league in batting. He ranks tied for fourth in the league in RBI and fifth in slugging (.494).

FRANK BATISTA, RHP (2012, '14): 3-1, 3.29 ERA (10ER/27.1IP), 6GS, 32H, HR, 12BB, 21K

Batista has been the primary closer at double-A Tennessee the last three seasons, but is starting in winter ball.  Batista has won his last two starts and ranks sixth in the league with a 3.29 ERA. He pitched 5.1 innings for his longest outing of the season in his last start on Nov. 18 at Escogido. His 12 walks are tied for third in the league.

TOROS del ESTE (16-13, T-2nd Place, 2.0 GB)

JEFF ANTIGUA, LHP (2013-14): 0-0, 3.18 ERA (2ER/5.2IP), 7G, 7H, 3R, HR, 5K

Antigua has already re-signed on a minor league deal with the Cubs for the 2015 season. Antigua pitched a perfect inning and struck out one on Nov. 23 against Escogido in his first appearance since Nov. 11.

AUSTIN BIBENS-DIRKX, RHP (2010-11): 0-0, 1.50 ERA (1ER/6.0IP), 2G, 1GS, 4H, HR, 5K

Bibens-Dirkx split the 2014 season between double-A New Hampshire and triple-A Buffalo in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He was 8-6 with a 3.41 ERA (43ER/113.1IP) in 34 games (16 starts) between the two levels and he has already re-signed on a minor league deal to return to the Jays' organization for 2015. Bibens-Dirks has been a standout pitcher in Venezuela in winter ball the last couple of years, but is trying his hand at the DWL this year, joining Toros del Este on Nov. 18. He allowed one run on four hits in five innings and struck out five in his start at Gigantes on Nov. 21.

ALBERTO CABRERA, RHP (2011-14): 2-0, 1.00 ERA (1ER/9.0IP), 9G, 1H, 4BB, 6K

Cabrera was out of options when he lost his 40-man roster spot at the end of spring training and spent the entire 2014 season with Iowa. Cabrera is a free agent and looking to build off a strong finish to the 2014 season. He pitched two perfect innings and struck out four to earn the win in relief in his last appearance on Nov. 22 against Licey. He hasn't allowed a hit in his last five appearances.

RAUL VALDES, LHP (2005-06): 3-0, 1.36 ERA (5ER/33.0IP), 5G, 5GS, 16H, 2HR, 7BB, 27K

Valdes began the 2014 season in the big leagues with the Houston Astros, but was traded to the Blue Jays on May 19. He finished the season at triple-A Buffalo was was 5-5 with a 4.00 ERA (36ER/81.0IP) in 23 games (12 starts) for the Bisons.  Valdes allowed one run on four hits in seven innings in a start at Estrellas on Nov. 20. He didn't get a decision when Estrellas rallied for two runs in the ninth to win 3-2. Valdes leads the DWL in ERA, innings pitched, opponents' average (.142), and WHIP (0.70). He is tied for fourth in strikeouts.

GIGANTES DEL CIBAO (15-13, 4th Place, 3.0 GB)

MIGUEL BATISTA, RHP (1997): 0-0, 9.00 ERA (4ER/4.0IP), 4G, 5H, 2HR, 2BB, 3K

The 43-year-old Batista last pitched in the big leagues in 2012, appearing in 30 games with the New York Mets and five games with the Atlanta Braves. He pitched in eight games (seven starts) with triple-A Buffalo in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization in 2013. His last appearances was Nov. 15.

BROOKS RALEY, LHP (2012-13): 0-3, 2.60 ERA (8ER/27.2IP), 6GS, 30H, 11R, 2HR, 13BB, 12K

The Minnesota Twins claimed Raley off waivers from the Cubs in February and he started the season at Triple-A Rochester. On May 8, the Los Angeles Angels claimed him off waivers and assigned him to Salt Lake. Raley was limited to six games (five starts) due to injury and was outrighted off the Angels' 40-man roster in June. Raley has allowed just two runs in 11.0 innings over his last two starts, but is still seeking his first win of the year. He ranks fourth in ERA, fifth in innings pitched, and second in walks.

DONN ROACH, RHP (CUBS PROSPECT): 0-1, 6.08 ERA (9ER/13.1IP), 5G, 4GS, 14H, 14R, 7BB, 9K

The Cubs just claimed Roach on waivers from the Padres on November 12. He made 16 appearances (one start) for San Diego last season and was 1-0 with a 4.75 ERA (16ER/30.1IP) last season while also appearing for triple-A El Paso. Roach allowed five runs on five hits in 2.1 innings and suffered the loss in his last start on Nov. 10 at Estrellas.

TIGRES del LICEY (11-16, 5th Place, 7.5 GB)

ARISMENDY ALCANTARA, INF/OF (2014): 7G, .292 (7-for-24), 3R, HR, RBI, BB, 7K

Alcantara was one of the Cubs' best stories in 2014. He was the first of the position player prospects to get called up to Chicago and earned mid-season and All-PCL honors with Iowa.  Alcantara was 3-for-4 with a leadoff homer on Nov. 19 at Gigantes and added a two-hit game on Nov. 22 at Toros del Este this week.

DIORY HERNANDEAZ, INF (2012): 29G, .327 (36-for-110), 8R, 6DBL, 3B, 2HR, 14RBI, 5BB, 7K

Hernandez didn't play affiliated baseball during the 2014 regular season. He spent the 2013 season with Campeche in the Mexican League. Hernandez has been one of the top performers in the DWL this season. He is tied for the league lead in games played, ranks second in hits, third in at-bats, and sixth in batting.

MARCO HERNANDEZ, INF (CUBS PROSPECT): 15G, .235 (8-for-34), 6R, 2DBL, 3B, 6RBI, 3BB, 4K, SB

Hernandez hit .270 (119-for-441) with 13 doubles, three home runs, 55 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 122 games as Daytona's primary shortstop in 2014. He hit over .300 in three of the first four months of the season, but hit just .179 (17-for-95) in 27 games in August. Hernandez 0-for-9 in his last four games. 

JAIRO ASENCIO, RHP (2012): 8G, 0-0, 4SV, 2.25 ERA (2ER/8.0IP), 8H, BB, 13K

Asencio pitched for the Kia Tigers in Korea in 2014 and was 4-1 with a 4.23 ERA (24ER/44.2IP) and 19 saves. In 2013, he spent most of his season at triple-A Norfolk, but also made four appearances with Baltimore. Asencio ranks fourth in the league in games finished (8) and tied for fourth in saves.

MITCH ATKINS, RHP (2008-10): 1-3, 4.38 ERA (12ER/24.2IP), 6GS, 21H, 17R, 5HB, 6BB, 16K

After being released by the Washington Nationals in 2012, Atkins signed with the independent Somerset Patriots to open the 2013 season before signing with the Atlanta Braves. He split the 2014 season between triple-A Gwinnett and double-A Mississippi in 2014.  Atkins allowed just one run on three hits in 5.2 innings in his last start on Nov. 18, but suffered the loss as Estrellas won the game 1-0.

CARLOS MARMOL, RHP (2006-07, '12): 1-0, 3.38 ERA (2ER/5.1IP), 7H, 2HB, 4BB, 6K

Marmol began the 2014 season with the Miami Marlins and was 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA (12ER/13.1IP) in 15 appearances before getting released on May 19. On May 28, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds on a free agent deal and made three appearances at triple-A Louisville.  Marmol allowed two runs in a third of an inning in his first appearance, but hasn't allowed a run in five innings over his last five games.

RAMON ORTIZ, RHP (2011): 2-2, 4.09 ERA (10ER/22.0IP), 5GS, 23H, 13R, HR, 6BB, 17K

The 41-year-old Ortiz pitched for Tijuana in the Mexican League this past season and was 7-2 with a 4.38 ERA (38ER/78.0IP) in 14 starts. On June 2, 2013, Ortiz suffered a partial tear in the tendon of his right elbow while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays in San Diego. The injury luckily didn't require Tommy John surgery and Ortiz was back to throwing in August of that year. It appears they'll have the tear the uniform off of him someday. Ortiz allowed two runs on five hits in 4.1 innings in his last start on Nov. 23 against Aguilas, but didn't figure in the decision of the game.

LEONES del ESCOGIDO (10-19, 6th Place, 8.0 GB)

FRANKIE DE LA CRUZ, RHP (2012): 0-0, 3.86 ERA (1ER/2.1IP), 3G, 2H, 2K

De La Cruz pitched for Monterrey in the Mexican League in 2014 and was 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA (25ER/61.1IP) in 12 starts. His last appearance for Escodigo was Oct. 25.

CARLOS PIMENTEL, RHP (2014): 2-1, 8.31 ERA (8ER/8.2IP), 9G, 1GS, 16H, 9R, 3BB, 8K

Pimentel was 4-9 with a 5.35 ERA (60ER/101.0IP) in 29 games (15 starts) with Iowa in 2014. He produced better results in his relief outings, going 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA (11ER/26.2IP) in those 14 games.  He has worked just a third of an inning in each of his last three appearances and gave up a two-run homer to Danny Richar of Aguilas on Nov. 18.



CARIBES de ANZOATEGUI (27-11, 1st Place)

JACKSON MELIAN, OF (2003): 12G, .300 (12-for-40), 5R, 2DBL, 3B, HR, 5RBI, 4BB, 7K, SB

Melian hasn't played affiliated baseball since 2010, but he is still seining a big bat for his home town team in winter ball. He started the VWL season on a six-game hitting streak that included four multi-hit games, but hasn't played since Nov. 1 and is 2-for-17 in his last six games.

AGUILAS de ZULIA (26-11, 2nd Place, 0.5 GB)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.

TIGRES de ARAGUA (20-16, 3rd Place, 6.0 GB)

WILLSON CONTRERAS, C (CUBS PROSPECT): 15G, .295 (13-for-44), 9R, 3B, 4HR, 13RBI, 3BB, 13K

Contreras played 80 games for Daytona in 2014 and hit .242 (68-for-281), with 14 doubles, five home runs, 37 RBI, and 40 runs scored.  Contreras hit a two-run homer in a 13-3 win over Lara on Nov. 22.

EDUARDO SANCHEZ, RHP (2013): 1-0, 3.68 ERA (3ER/7.1IP), 11G, 8H, 2BB, 4K

The Tigers signed Sanchez as a free agent last November, but he suffered a stress fracture in his right elbow in February and was out until June. After three appearances at high-A Lakeland, the Tigers released Sanchez on June 11 and he finished the season with Laguna in the Mexican League.  In his only appearances this week, Sanchez came in with a couple of men on base and gave up a three-run homer to Alex Gonzalez on Nov. 19 at Caracas.

NAVEGANTES del MAGALLANES (17-18, 4th Place, 8.5 GB)

JUAN APODACA, C (2012): 6G, .133 (2-for-15), 4R, 2B, RBI, BB, 4K

Apodaca played for Lancaster in the independent Atlantic League this season and hit .277 (72-for-260) with 18 doubles, five home runs, and 32 RBI in 79 games. Apodaca made just his second stat on Nov. 22 vs. Zulia and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for his first hits of the season.

ANDRES BLANCO, INF (2008-09): 9G, .343 (12-for-35), 5R, 3DBL, 7RBI, 3BB, 7K, SB

Blanco hit .277 (13-for-47) with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with Philadelphia this season and re-signed with the Phillies on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.  Blanco has hit safely in each of his first nine games of the season, including three multi-hit games. 

RONNY CEDENO, INF (2004-05, '07): 29G, .296 (34-for-115), 18R, 4DBL, 8RBI, 13BB, 24K, SB

Cedeno began the 2014 season with triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies organization and was called up to Philadelphia on June 6. He was 0-for-9 in seven games before getting traded to the Diamondbacks on June 29. He hit .343 (46-for-134) with three home runs and 23 RBI in 41 games with Reno to finish the year and is currently a free agent. Cedeno had back-to-back three-hit games on Nov. 21-22 this week and has scored a run in 11 of his last 13 games.

ALEX BURNETT, RHP (2013): 0-0, 10.12 ERA (3ER/2.2IP), 5H, 2HR, 3K

Burnett pitched for the independent Sioux City Explorers in 2014 and was 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA (13ER/54.0IP) in 28 relief appearances. The Cubs claimed him off waivers from Baltimore in 2013 and he pitched three games with Iowa before being sidelined with an injury. He made his season debut with Magallanes on Nov. 16.

LEONES del CARACAS (18-22, 5th Place, 10.0 GB)

JOSE ASCANIO, RHP (2008-09): 0-1, 2.51 ERA (4ER/14.1IP), 14G, 9H, 2HR, HB, 2BB, 18K

Ascanio just finished his second season in the Mexican League. He hasn't pitched in affiliated baseball since 2011 when he was in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Ascanio has held his opponent scoreless in 12 of his 14 appearances on the season.


MANNY CORPAS, RHP (2012): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3G, 5.0IP, 4H, BB, 3K

Corpas spent the entire 2014 season at triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies organization and was 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA (28ER/47.2IP) in 28 games, including one start. He joined Caracas on Nov. 19 and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in his first appearance.

YOANNER NEGRIN, RHP (2012-14): 0-3, 5.40 ERA (11ER/18.1IP), 5GS, 28H, 16R, HR, 7BB, 11K

Negrin returned to the mound on Nov. 22 after nearly a full month of being inactive to work on his mechanics. He allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits in 4.1 innings in his first game back on at La Guaira.

MIGUEL SOCOLOVICH, RHP (2012): 1-0, 2.25 ERA (4ER/16.0IP), 15G, 9H, HR, 2BB, 20K

Socolovich was only briefly with Iowa at the end of 2012 after the Cubs claimed him off waivers from Baltimore. He spent all of 2014 with Las Vegas and finished 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA (24ER/59.1IP) and three saves in 51 games for the 51s. He had three scoreless appearances and earned a save in a four-game series against the I-Cubs at Principal Park in August.  Socolovich signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals this off-season and has held his opponent scoreless in 12 of his 15 appearances with Caracas.

CARDENALES de LARA (17-22, 6th Place, 10.5 GB)

EDUARDO FIGUEROA, RHP (2014): 0-0, 2.76 ERA (5ER/16.1IP), 6G, 4GS, 14H, 8R, HR, 9BB, 13K

Figueroa made eight appearances (one start) with Iowa this season and was 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA (5ER/13.0IP). He spent most of the season at double-A Tennessee and also one start at Daytona.  Figueroa hasn't pitched since his start on Nov. 7.

TIBURONES de La GUAIRA (13-24, 7th Place, 13.5 GB)

Former Iowa manager Buddy Bailey (2007) is the manager for La Guaira this season.

JOE ORTIZ, LHP (CURRENT CUB): 0-0, 2.84 ERA (2ER/6.1IP), 8G, 6.1IP, 9H, 3K

The Cubs claimed Ortiz off waivers from the Rangers on October 6. Ortiz began the 2014 season in the disabled list. He was hit by a motorcycle in Venezuela last January and suffered a fractured left foot. He returned to the mound in July and finished the season at double-A Frisco, going 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA (8ER/16.0IP) with one save in 13 games. Ortiz hadn't allowed a run in 5.2 innings over his first seven appearances before giving up two-run homer to Alex Gonzalez of Caracas on Nov. 22.

RENYEL PINTO, LHP (2004-05): 0-0, 6.35 ERA (4ER/5.2IP), 9H, 4BB, 5K

Pinto was 1-0 with a 6.94 ERA (9ER/11.2IP) in three starts for Mexico City this season. It was his first summer action in North America since 2010. Pinto joined La Guaira on Nov. 15 and has slid into their stating rotation.

BRAVOS de MARGARITA (12-26, 8th Place, 15.0 GB)

Former Cub Henry Blanco is managing Margarita this year after playing for the Bravos last season. The former catcher joined the Chicago Cubs as the major league quality assurance coach in November.

J.C. BOSCAN, C (2013): 7G, .056 (1-for-18), 3K

Boscan spent the 2-14 season at double-A Chattanooga in the Dodgers' organization and hit .168 (22-for-131) with one home run and seven RBI in 52 games.  After getting a hit in his first game, Boscan is 0-for-16 in his last six contests.

ALBERTO GONZALEZ, INF (2013): 36G, .333 (46-for-138), 17R, 5DBL, 11RBI, 5BB, 12K, 3/5SB

Gonzalez began the 2014 season at triple-A El Paso in the San Diego Padres' organization, but was released on April 23 after hitting .208 (11-for-53) in 19 games. He joined Reynosa in the Mexican League in July and finished the season there.  Gonzalez has two hits in three of his last four games and has not gone hitless in consecutive games this season. He is tied for second in the league in hits (46), is tied for fifth in at-bats (138), and eighth in batting.

JOSH KROEGER, OF (2007-08): 11G, .237 (9-for-38), 3R, 3DBL, RBI, 3BB, 10K

Kroeger last saw action in 2013 with the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League and last played affiliated pro ball in 2012, splitting time between Pawtucket and Gwinnett in the Red Sox and Braves' organizations respectively.  After a fast start, Kroeger is 3-for-24 in his last seven games.




YAQUIS de OBREGON (21-13, 1st Place in 1st Half, 22-15 Overall)

CHRISTIAN VILLANUEVA, 3B (2014): 21G, .246 (15-for-61), 8R, 3DBL, 3HR, 7RBI, 13BB, 13K

Villanueva hit .211 (47-for-223) with 18 doubles, six home runs, and 26 RBI in 64 games with Iowa to begin the 2014 season. He went to double-A Tennessee after the All-Star Break when Kris Bryant came up to join the I-Cubs. Villanueva hit .248 (58-for-234) with 20 doubles, four home runs, and 32 RBI in 62 games with the Smokies to finish the year. Villanueva hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to tie the game against Mazatlan on Nov. 20, but Obregon lost 6-5 in 10 innings.  

JAY JACKSON, RHP (2009-12): 0-0, 1.93 (1ER/4.2IP) ERA, 4G, 4H, 3K

Jackson combined to go 5-7 with a 4.93 ERA (61ER/111.1IP) in 31 games (18 starts) between triple-A Indianapolis and Nashville in the Pittsburgh and Milwaukee organizations this past season. He is currently a minor league free agent.

CHARROS de JALISCO (21-14, 2nd Place, 0.5 GB in 1st Half, 22-16 Overall)

MARQUEZ SMITH, INF (2010-11): 38G, .277 (39-for-141), 24R, 11DBL, 3B, 9HR, 25RBI, 15BB, 23K

Smith spent most of his season at high-A Bakersfield in the Reds organization, but also played 14 games at double-A Pensacola in the Southern League. Smith hit .323 (137-for-424) with 29 home runs and 126 RBI in 120 games at Bakersfield. His 131 total RBI led all of minor league baseball.  Smith has hit safely in 13 straight games going back to Nov. 9 and is putting up big numbers. He leads the league in slugging (.560), extra-base hits (21), and total bases (79). He is tied for second in runs scored (24), ranks third in home runs (9), and fourth in RBI (25).

AGUILAS de MEXICALI (19-16, T-3rd Place, 2.5 GB in 1st Half, 21-17 Overall)

DAVE SAPPELT, OF (2012-13): 15G, .268 (19-for-71), 13R, 6DBL, 2HR, 9RBI, 18BB, 9K, 4/5SB

Sappelt was released by the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training and ended up spending the 2014 season in Mexico. He hit .400 (20-for-50) with six RBI in 13 games for Acereros del Norte to start the year and .275 (36-for-131) with 10 RBI in 33 games with Veracruz to finish the year.  Sappelt is 3-for-20 over his last five games. His 18 walks are tied for fifth in the league.

HORACIO RAMIREZ, LHP (2012): 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 2GS, 8.0IP, 6H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 1K

Iowa was Ramirez' last team in affiliated pro ball. Since his time with the I-Cubs in 2012, Ramirez has pitched in Korea (2012), for Lancaster in the independent Atlantic League (2013), and Mexico (2013). Ramirez was charged with an unearned run in his last start on Nov. 19 at Culiacan and that led to a loss as the Tomateros won the game 1-0.

TOMATEROS de CULIACAN (19-16, T-3rd Place, 2.5 GB in 1st Half, 20-18 Overall)

ROBERT COELLO, RHP (2011): 2-0, 2.70 ERA (9ER/30.0IP), 12G, 4GS, 23H, 20BB, 24K

Coello opened the 2014 season with triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the New York Yankees organization, but was released on July 2. On July 11, he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles and spent the rest of the season with their triple-A club in Norfolk. After eight strong relief outings to begin the season (1ER/8.2IP), Coello has moved into a starting role for Culiacan. He is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA (3ER/5.0IP) in his four starts, but his walks are up. He has walked 11 men in 16.2 innings over his last three starts.

RODRIGO LOPEZ, RHP (2012): 1-2, 5.29 ERA (10ER/17.0IP), 4GS, 23H,13R, 5BB, 14K

Lopez will turn 39 years old in December. He hasn't pitched since winter ball last season and last appeared in the regular season in 2013 with Mexico City in the Mexican League.  Lopez posted a quality start, but lost on Nov. 11 against Mochis. He gave up three runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings, walked two, and struck out three.

CANEROS de los MOCHIS (19-16, T-3rd Place, 2.5 GB in 1st Half, 21-17 Overall)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.

VENADOS de MAZATLAN (16-18, 6th Place, 5.0 GB in 1st Half, 18-19 Overall)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.

NARANJEROS de HERMOSILLO (13-22, 7th Place, 8.5 GB in 1st Half, 15-23 Overall)

JESSE ESTRADA, RHP (2008-09): 2-2, 2.84 ERA (10ER/31.2IP), 10G, 4GS, 29H, 2HR, 7BB, 9K

The 6'8 Estrada is the tallest pitcher in Iowa franchise history. Estrada didn't pitch over the summer. He last appeared in El Paso when his hometown had an independent team in the American Association.  Estrada suffered a loss in a start on Nov. 19 against Mochis, but bounced back with 3.1 shutout innings in a relief appearance in his last game on Nov. 22.

MAYOS de NAVOJOA (11-24, 8th Place, 10.5 GB in 1st Half, 12-26 Overall)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.



INDIOS de MAYAGUEZ (10-6, 1st Place)

LUIS FIGUEROA, INF (2008): 17G, .328 (20-for-61), 8R, 3DBL, HR, 8RBI, 5BB, 4K

Figueroa hasn't played in the regular season since he split time between independent ball and the Mexican League in 2012. He hasn't played affiliated ball since 2011 with Buffalo and Nashville.  Figueroa is tied for the league lead in games (17), is tied for fourth in hits (20), fifth in at-bats (61), and tied for fifth in batting (.328).

LOU MONTANEZ, OF (2006, '11): 14G, .255 (13-for-51), 4R, 2B, HR, 5RBI, 2BB, 8K

The Cubs drafted Montanez with the third overall pick in the 2000 draft and he played 129 games in the big leagues between the Orioles and the Cubs from 2008-11. The 2014 season was his first outside affiliated ball in his pro career as he played for the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League and hit .289 (142-for-491) with 30 double, 17 home runs, and 74 RBI in 130 games. Montanez hit safely in five straight games from Nov. 14-20 and has four multi-hit games in the last two weeks.

ANDRES TORRES, OF (2008): 1G, 0-for-3

Torres won a World Series ring with the Giants in 2010 and hit .318 (7-for-22) with four doubles, a home run, and three RBI in five games in the Fall Classic. Torres didn't play in 2013, but returned to the diamond for a brief time with Pawtucket this summer. The Red Sox signed him on June 11, but released him on July 26 after give games at rookie Lowell and 18 games at triple-A.  He played his first - and so far only - game with Mayaguez on Nov. 8.

SCOTT MAINE, LHP (2010-12): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2G, 2.0IP, H, 2K

Maine began the 2014 season with Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League before signing with the Reds on June 30. He was 1-0 with a 6.10 ERA (7ER/10.1IP) in 13 games at double-A Pensacola before getting released on August 7.  Maine fanned two in a perfect inning in his last game on Nov. 18.

CRIOLLOS de CAGUAS (10-7, 2nd Place, 0.5 GB)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.

GIGANTES de CAROLINA (8-7, 3rd Place, 1.5 GB)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.

CANGREJEROS de SANTURCE (8-8, 4th Place, 2.0 GB)

No current players or coaches have Iowa Cubs ties.

SENADORES de SAN JUAN (4-12, 5th Place, 6.0 GB)

JOHN ANDREOLI, OF (CUBS PROSPECT): 16G, .226 (12-for-53), 7R, 2DBL, 3B, RBI, 7BB, 10K, 8SB

Andreoli is using winter ball as a way to make up for lost time due to injury at double-A Tennessee this past season. In 61 games for the Smokies, he hit .211 (44-for-209) and stole 28 bases before a wrist injury ended his season on June 9.  Andreoli had a seven-game hitting streak from Nov. 11-19. He was caught stealing for the first time on Nov. 23, but leads the league with eight stolen bases.

JONATHAN MOTA, INF (2010-12, '14): 16G, .236 (13-for-55), 9R, 3DBL, 4RBI, 4BB, 6K, SB

Mota has played in 861 games in the Cubs' minor league system over the last 10 seasons, including 142 with the Iowa Cubs. He hit .261 (37-for-142) with three home runs and 18 RBI in 47 games with Iowa this past season. Mota has split time between playing third base and first base so far with San Juan.



The Arizona Fall League came to a close on Nov. 15 with Salt River defeating the Peoria Javelinas 14-7 to win the title this year.


MESA SOLAR SOX (15-14, 2nd Place, 2.5 GB)

JACOB HANNEMANN: 17G, .279 (17-for-61), 5R, 4DBL, 2TRPL, 7RBI, 5BB, 12K, 0/2SB

The left-handed hitting Hannemann batted .300 (15-for-50) against right-handed pitching and .182 (2-for-11) against southpaws while playing both corner outfield spots and a few games at designated hitter. The Cubs drafted Hannemann in the third round of the 2013 draft out of BYU and Baseball America rated him as the organization's 17th-best prospect entering the 2014 season. He hit .254 (87-for-342) with 14 doubles, six home runs, and 39 RBI in 88 games with Kane County before getting promoted to Daytona in July. He hit .241 (35-for-145) with nine doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI in 36 games in the Florida State League.

DANNY LOCKHART, INF: 6G, .250 (5-for-20), 3R, 3RBI, 2BB, SB

Lockhart made his debut with the Solar Sox on Oct. 31 after Addison Russell left the team, and started games at second base, third base, and shortstop. Lockhart hit .284 (93-for-327) with 18 doubles and 28 RBI in 89 games for single-A Kane County this season. He had a brief stint with the I-Cubs in 2013 for two games in Tacoma as a fill-in from short-season Boise.

BIJAN RADEMACHER, OF: 11G, .350 (14-for-40), 11R, 2DBL, 3B, HR, 9RBI, 5BB, 3K, 4SB

Rademacher is on the "taxi-squad" and is only eligible to play twice a week for Mesa. He made the most of those opportunities, hitting safely in nine of his 10 starts. His biggest game came in his final start on Nov. 12 as he went 2-for-4 with a home runs and four RBI. The Cubs drafted Rademacher in the 13th round in 2012 out of Orange Coast Community College in California. He batted .281 (108-for-384) with 22 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, and 56 RBI in 111 games with Daytona in 2014.

ADDISON RUSSELL, SS: 11G, .196 (9-for-46), 8R, 2B, 2HR, 10RBI, 3BB, 13K, SB

Russell is rated among the top five prospects in all of minor league baseball and left the Solar Sox after a two-week stint. He missed time before the Cubs acquired him from Oakland in July due to hamstring injuries, so he was in the AFL for a second year just to make up on for some lost at-bats. He finished strong with two home runs, including one in his last at-bat, and seven RBI over his final three games. Russell hit .294 (57-for-194) with 12 home runs and 36 RBI in 50 games with Tennessee in the regular season after joining the Cubs.

DAN VOGELBACH, 1B: 21G, .261 (18-for-69), 8R, 4DBL, 8RBI, 17BB, 11K, SB

Vogelbach finished the AFL season on a five-game hitting streak that included three multi-hit games. He didn't hit for power, but he did finish tied for second in the league in walks and made a lot of contact. The Cubs drafted Vogelbach in the second round of the 2011 draft and Baseball America rated him as the organization's ninth-best prospect entering the 2014 season. Vogelbach hit .268 (129-for-482) with 28 doubles, 16 home runs, and 76 RBI in 132 games with Daytona this year.

ZACH CATES, RHP: 0-0, 9.28 ERA (11ER/10.2IP), 9G, 17H, 2HR, 6BB, 8K

Cates had two really tough outings to distort his numbers in an overall solid performance. He allowed five runs in 1.1 innings on Oct. 21 at Surprise and four runs on four hits, including a home run, on Oct. 30 against Scottsdale. He allowed just two earned runs in 8.1 innings in his other seven games. The Cubs acquired Cates from the Padres in the same deal that brought Anthony Rizzo to Chicago in 2012 and Baseball America rated him the organization's 27th-best prospect entering 2014. Cates combined to go 3-2 with a 4.08 ERA (24ER/53.0IP) in 36 games between Daytona and Tennessee this year.

GERARDO CONCEPCION, LHP: 1-1, 5.87 ERA (10ER/15.1IP), 9G, 16H, 11R, HR, 9BB, 7K

Concepcion had an up-and-down run through the AFL. Hard to evaluate how he did without seeing any of his performances, but nine walks and just seven strikeouts in 15.1 innings is a cause for concern. The Cubs signed the 22-year-old Concepcion to a five-year major league contract after he defected from Cuba in 2012. He has battled injuries and command issues in his brief time in the organizations. He had his most productive season in 2014, going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA (22ER/59.2IP) in 29 relief appearances between rookie Mesa, Kane County, and Daytona. He walked 23 and struck out 55 on the year.

C.J. EDWARDS, RHP: 1-0, 2.25 ERA (3ER/12.0IP), 5GS, 7H, 7BB, 11K

After shoulder issues forced him to the disabled list during much of the regular season, the best news was Edwards took all of his turns with no injury issues. He also pitched a scoreless inning for the East All-Star Team on Nov. 1. He finished fourth in the league, and first among starters, with a .154 opponents' batting average and was second among starters with a 9.60 strikeouts per nine innings ratio. Edwards is widely considered the top pitching prospect in the Cubs' organization. Baseball America ranked him third overall in the organization entering the year. Edwards was sidelined by a shoulder injury after just three starts at Tennessee, but did return to make six starts in August. He was 1-2 with a 2.44 ERA (13ER/48.0IP) in 10 starts with the Smokies overall. With a strong showing in the AFL and a healthy run through spring training, Edwards would be a candidate to start 2015 in Iowa's starting rotation.

IVAN PINEYRO, RHP: 1-0, 1.98 ERA (3ER/13.2IP), 7G, 4GS, 11H, HR, 4BB, 16K

Pineyro didn't allow a run in 6.2 innings over his final four appearances, including two in relief. Like Edwards, Pineyro spent a considerable amount of time on Tennessee's disabled list in 2014 and finished 0-4 with a 5.55 ERA (30ER/48.2IP) in 11 starts for the Smokies. The Cubs acquired Pineyro from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Scott Hairston in July of 2013.

All stats on this report were current as of games on November 23. Stats are courtesy of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. For comments, questions, and links on the Winter League Report, contact Iowa Cubs Broadcaster/Director of Media Relations on Twitter @RandyWehofer or via email at [email protected]