The winter league baseball regular seasons have all come to an end, at least in the northern hemisphere. The Dominican, Mexican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues are now all in the playoffs. Those wild Australians are still playing their regular season.
There are several Cincinnati Reds players that have performed quite well. In the Mexican Winter League Sebastian Elizalde took home the batting title, as well as the leagues top mark for on-base percentage. It, however, wasn’t without a little bit of drama and intrigue on the final day. His .380 average was coupled with a .446 on-base percentage and a .524 slugging percentage. The Reds extended a non-roster invitation to spring training to Elizalde for 2018. He hit .277/.329/.377 for Louisville last season in 134 games played.
In the Dominican Winter League it was Jose Siri that stood out. Siri, who racked up a new Midwest League record 39-game hitting streak for the Dayton Dragons in 2017, didn’t see his time for the Gigantes start out on the best of terms. Early in the season he was relegated to being used, almost solely as a pinch runner. As the season went along he began to get a few starts and took full advantage. He would only get about half of a seasons worth of winter league at-bats, 78, but hit an impressive .321/.349/.500 on the season with 11 steals in 29 games played. In the playoffs, through four games, he’s hitting .263 with two home runs.
In Venezuela no Reds players got much playing time. Jose Peraza was scheduled to get regular playing time, but only played in nine games before deciding things weren’t favorable in the situation (re: things in Venezuela are not good, even if you’ve got some money like Jose Peraza does) and exiting the league. Over his nine games played he hit .316 and had as many walks, two, as strikeouts. He would also add in a stolen base for good measure.
The reports on Elizalde and Siri are encouraging, particularly Siri facing a little adversity and having to be very patient, then capitalizing when he got at bats. The Peraza situation is just strange. I’m a little surprised the Venezualen league is even operating, let alone attracting major league players, and I’m even more surprised that Peraza would have wanted to play and the Reds would allow it (they do have a say in that, right?). Hopefully he’s back in the US somewhere, working out and getting ready for a productive spring. I’ve said before I hope he’s not a Red in 2018 but since it appears he will not just be on the roster but have a starting spot at SS I’ll be rooting hard for him to field well, improve his plate discipline, and tap into at least a little power. Cozart’s 2017 shoes will be hard to fill.
For position players, the teams can’t really stop them unless there’s an injury. For pitchers, they can without an injury due to innings and things like that.
I, too, am surprised the Venezuelan League is happening given everything else going on down there. Peraza, however, wanted to play because he wanted to work on his shortstop defense. I’m sure he was still able to do that, but game action is going to top daily work on a field somewhere else every time.
I have seen Elizalde play, and I am sure he can be a good major league hitter. But he does nothing outstanding, so it is unlikely that he will really get a shot. He has a good eye, a controlled swing and has an idea of what he is trying to do at the plate.
Very average outfielder.
He’s one of those guys where it’s just hard to envision a role. If you’re going to be on a bench, you tend to need to fill one of these roles:
Strong defender up the middle (be it C/SS/2B/CF). He doesn’t fit this profile.
Corner guy with power. He doesn’t fit that.
Speedster for pinch running abilities. He doesn’t fit that.
Big bat. He doesn’t fit that.
He’s solid enough at some things, but it’s tough to find a role for a corner guy without power.
While I want Peraza to work on his defense, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather he not do it in Venezuela- glad heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out.
I know a lot of folks are down on him – I think weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re missing his growth potential. Heck, we were having similar conversations about Suarez a couple years back and whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d run him off now? If he can work to be an above average defender at SS, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a huge benefit to this team. If we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see that improvement beginning by the end of 2018, then IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be concerned.
The big issue for Peraza is having Hamilton also in the lineup. Two guys with mid-600 ops wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t cut it. But even with these two guys, the 2017 Reds had enough offense to win games. And I think adding Senzel and Winker will be an improvement by the end of 2018 over losing Cozart.
What Cozart and Suarez proved to me is that Votto can help his teammates drastically improve their performance by learning from his approach. And if they can learn, so can others. I never saw Bruce, Phillips, or Frazier attempt to learn from Votto and I think thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the culture change that was needed. And, so, can Peraza learn? I think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to get a massive opportunity to prove he can and, if he does, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying that talent in free agency.
I agree. I am in no way even close to comparing him to Jose Altuve, repeat NOT comparing him to Altuve, but if you look at Altuves first 2-3 years in the league, lots of promise, but not a lot of production. But he just kept cranking it up each year, and now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a stud.
Again, Peraza is not Altuve, but the line on his bar graph rises the same way perhaps heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll turn out okay offensively. I remain skeptical about his glove at SS.
This team cannot afford both Hamilton and Peraza in the lineup at the same time. I have been hoping for years that Billy would make strides at the plate. He is a fun player to watch and is amazing in CF. Unfortunately, it has not happened. Peraza has looked like an infield version of Hamilton with less speed and sub-par defense.
The front office has made some move. The latest signing another pitcher with small size MLB sample of above 5 ERA & minor league above 4 ERA. But he does have a ground ball rate of 50 – 60 percent.