Here's how prospects are doing in winter ball

December 21st, 2020

After batting .220 and slugging .290 in his first taste of the Major Leagues, Isaac Paredes is showing this offseason that he can do damage at the plate.

The Tigers’ No. 6 prospect slashed .542/.577/1.000 this past week, recording four multihit performances while hitting safely in all six games for Venados de Mazatlán in Mexico. He tallied at least one extra-base hit in all six contests to finish the week with nine extra-base hits (8 2B, 1 HR).

Overall, the 21-year-old infielder has been one of the Mexican winter league’s top players and ranks among the circuit leaders in batting (.390, 2nd), slugging (.627, 4th), OPS (1.095, 1st) and extra-base hits (20, tied-2nd).

The start of the Australian Baseball League last week means that are now five active Winter Leagues along with those in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, and even more prospects are set to take the field when Panama’s winter league kicks off Jan. 8.

Here’s a look at how some top prospects are performing in winter ball:

Miguel Amaya, C (Cubs No. 3/MLB No. 91)

It’s hard to be any more productive than Amaya was last week. The 21-year-old catcher drove in eight runs in just four games for Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico), batting .364 with seven runs scored and a pair of walks. He picked up half of those RBIs with one swing of the bat on Sunday, connecting on a seventh-inning grand slam that helped power Caguas to a 16-0 victory over RA12 and a 11-1 overall record. He’s been an early standout in LBPRC, ranking among the circuit leaders with two home runs (tied-4th), 11 RBIs (tied-2nd), 10 runs scored (tied-1st) and a 1.273 OPS (5th).

Jarren Duran, OF (Red Sox No. 8)
After a sluggish start -- 0-for-11 in his first five games -- to his offseason campaign in Puerto Rico, Duran seemingly found his stroke last week as he hit safely in five of six games for Criollos de Caguas. The 24-year-old outfielder finished his week on a high note, too, racking up six hits, five runs and two steals as part of back-to-back three-hit games. Duran’s big weekend performance has lifted his average up to .250, and he also ranks among the LBPRC leaders in stolen bases (6, 1st), runs scored (10, tied-1st) and walks (10, tied-2nd).

Gabriel Moreno, C (Blue Jays No. 8)
Moreno extended his hitting streak to four games on Sunday via his first four-hit performance of the offseason, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and runs scored apiece for Cardenales de Lara. The 20-year-old catcher has quietly established himself as one of the better young backstops in the Minors across the past two seasons, as he followed up his impressive 2019 full-season debut (.280/.337/.485, 12 HR) with a strong showing at Toronto’s alternate site over the summer. In Venezuela, meanwhile, Moreno is slashing.370/.452/.500 with five extra-base hits, 12 runs scored and 10 RBIs through 16 games.

Eguy Rosario, INF (Padres No. 28)
Venezuelan winter league pitchers had their hands full last week with Rosario, as he batted .321 with seven runs scored, six RBIs and five stolen bases across eight games with Bravos de Margarita. The 21-year-old infielder is batting .388 overall, with 12 runs scored through 14 LVBP games, though only one of his 19 hits has resulted in extra bases. The former 2015 international signee turned in a career-best offensive campaign in ’19 at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, posting a .742 OPS with 40 extra-base hits and 21 steals.

Daniel Brito, 2B (Phillies No. 29)
An eight-game hitting streak during which he’s batting .357 has pushed Brito’s overall slash line up to .291/.328/.468 through 22 games in Venezuela. The 22-year-old went deep twice last week and has hit all three of his LVBP homers in his last 11 games with Aguilas Del Zulia. Originally signed by Philadelphia for $650,000 in July 2014, Brito is a career .252/.319/.341 hitter with 16 homers in five Minor League seasons, though none have come above the Class A Advanced level.

Osleivis Basabe, INF (Rays No. 28)
Basabe posted four multihit games including a pair of three-hit performances for Aguilas Del Zulia during his first week of winter ball in Venezuela. He also hit safely in five of six games, batting .432 with four extra-base hits and seven runs scored. One of three prospects acquired by the Rays from Texas in the recent Nate Lowe trade, Basabe, 20, is a speedy infielder who has a penchant for making quality contact from the right side of the plate.

Estevan Florial, OF (Yankees No. 7)
After a relatively slow start for Leones Del Escogido in the Dominican Republic, Florial broke out last week to record three multihit efforts that have helped lift his season average from .182 to .280. He also connected on his first homer of the offseason Wednesday, hitting a two-run shot in the eighth inning against Gigantes. The quality and consistency of Florial’s at-bats and contact still leave something to be desired, but the 23-year-old outfielder has long shown big league-caliber tools in his speed, defense and power potential.

Luis Medina, RHP (Yankees No. 11)
Medina landed a spot in last week’s roundup after his stellar debut (3 IP, 0 R, 6 K) for Indios de Mayaguez (Puerto Rico) on Dec. 11. Well, the 21-year-old righty was even more dominant in his second turn, tossing four scoreless frames while recording nine of his 12 outs via the strikeout. He allowed a pair of hits and did not issue a walk in the outing. Altogether, Medina has posted 15 strikeouts against two walks in seven innings, permitting three hits. The Yankees added the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder to their 40-man roster in November 2019, after he had recorded a 5.47 ERA with 127 strikeouts and 70 walks in 103 2/3 frames between Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa.

Edwin Uceta, RHP (Dodgers No. 22)
Uceta’s fifth start for Estrellas Orientales (Dominican Republic) was also his best, as he delivered four scoreless innings of two-hit ball with five strikeouts. It marked the 22-year-old right-hander’s second scoreless performance in his past three starts, and he’s now limited opponents to one run or fewer in four straight turns. Added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster in November, Uceta went 11-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 141/49 K/BB in 123 1/3 innings in 2019, splitting the season between Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa. 

Luis Oviedo, RHP (Pirates No. 20)
The Mets selected Oviedo, 21, in this year’s Rule 5 Draft and immediately traded him to Pittsburgh for future cash considerations. Though he did struggle at Class A Lake County in 2019 (5.38 ERA in 87 IP), the 6-foot-5 right-hander possesses power stuff that should play in the Major Leagues once he learns to harness it. He’s had no issues doing so this offseason in Venezuela, posting a 0.79 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and .179 BAA over 11 1/3 innings (seven appearances) out of the Cardenales de Lara bullpen.