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winter-league-update-12709 | December | 2009 Articles

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Winter League Update - 12/7/09

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Haven't done this in quite awhile...we're a couple weeks away from the end of the Caribbean Winter Leagues, lets take a look at how some Braves are doing down there in the beautiful sun. It was 29 here today. Not cool, man...wore my Ravens hoodie all day at work because I was freezing. Anywho. Onto the update! Lets start off in Venezuela. Gregor Blanco is still having a heck of a run down there, though his power has returned to the nonexistent phase of things. Gregor is rocking a .864 OPS, aided by a otherworldly 22% walk rate. Those 36 walks are looking good compared to his 21 strikeouts. Not so good: the 8/14 Gregor is on stolen base attempts. Ick. JC Boscan, who is essentially organizational filler as a 30 year old catcher, is OPSing .584 in 68 at bats. At least he's doing what he loves, and you can't fault him for that. Barbaro Canizares, who I kinda mentioned as a possible short-term answer at first base this year, isn't doing himself any favors. Barbaro may not even be in Venezuela anymore, as he hasn't played since last Wednesday. Regardless, in his 35 at bats, he's OPSing .767. The negative is the .085 ISO. Ewwwww, a first baseman with no power. Hello, Nick Johnson. Osman Marval is 0 for 6 and hasn't played in a month and a half. I'll assume he got hurt and is no longer in Venezuela. Now, the pitchers. We'll start with youngster Luis Avilan, who could possibly be someone to watch. Maybe. The 20 year old spent the year in Danville and was adequate with a 7.98 K rate and 3.99 BB rate...though he did have a tantalizing .185 BAA. This winter, he's allowed 1 unearned run in 6 1/3 innings while striking out 6 and only walking 1. 5 of the strikeouts came in one 5 inning stint. Yeah, we'll see. The only other Braves pitcher in Venezuela is Jose Ortegano (#20 on the BH Top 40). Ortegano is struggling this winter, with a 4.46 ERA, 18 strikeouts, and 12 walks in 36 1/3 innings. Ortegano's strikeout rate absolutely falling into the Grand Canyon is something we should keep our eye on, and hopefully, he gets things turned back around in 2010 and everything is OK. Now we're going to head down to the Dominican, where a couple of Braves are playing. I'll start things off easy: Yoel Campusano was hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance on Halloween and hasn't done anything. So I assume he got hurt when he was plunked. The only other Braves hitter in the Dominican is Donell Linares, who is struggling mightily. Poor Donell is 3 for 26 with one double and one walk. On the bright side, he's only struck out 4 times, so its not a total loss for him. New Braves Juan Abreu is pitching, and having mixed results. On one hand, he's allowed 8 hits, 3 runs, and 2 homers in 6 innings. On the other hand, he's struck out 9 without a walk. I don't know why the Royals just let him walk away, because he seems like he could possibly be salvaged into a low end bullpen arm. Then again, he will be 25 when the season starts, so I guess its now or never for him. And then finally, theres Luis Valdez. Valdez isn't putting up totally stupid numbers like he was earlier this winter, but he's still doing a fine job. In 27 1/3 innings, he's allowed 6 runs, 16 hits, and 1 homer. Pretty solid, no? Even better is the 26 to 4 K:BB ratio. Theres no reason for Valdez to not spend 2010 in the Braves bullpen. Screw someone like Scott Proctor, give Valdez the spot. More upside there. We're going to make a brief stop off in Puerto Rico, which is where Francisley Bueno is spending his winter. He's got a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings, but an icky 11:7 K:BB. Enjoy your time in Gwinnett again, Francisley. If we ever need a reliever to be called up to plunk someone, we'll give you a call. Did he ever even end up serving that suspension? I don't think so... Finally, Mexico. Two Braves hitters are there right now, and the first is Concepion Rodriguez. He's not really having a great time with a .721 OPS. I don't really have much else to say about him, so lets move on. Matt Young. I like Matt Young, and think he'll get enough games in the majors to collect his pension, probably serving as a fourth or fifth outfielder/pinch runner kind of dude. Young is having the best winter of any Braves hitter, posting a fantastic .922 OPS. Young's got a fantastic 17.1% walk rate, and a great 14.4% K rate. Matt is also showing some real nice power with a .211 ISO. He's even getting some speed involved, with 16 steals (though the 7 times he's been caught stealing makes me wince a little bit). I'm impressed. Good job, Matt. Everyone's favorite bullpen ace Manny Acosta has allowed 4 runs on 4 hits in 4 innings while striking out 4. :brain explodes: Here's hoping we never see him trot out of the bullpen in a tight game ever again. That time when he was serving as closer in 2008 when Gonzalez was still out and Raffy was hurt...yikes. Just yikes. Brett Butts (BH #37) is getting shelled to the tune of 15 hits and 6 runs in 10 innings. He's also walked 6, but silver lining: 14 strikeouts. Gotta look at the bright side, even if you ignore the 2.10 WHIP. Tim Gustafson inexplicably has a 2.93 ERA and is 5-1 despite a 3.58 BB rate and a 5.20 K rate. FIP tells me he should be in the neighborhood of 4.20 or so. But hey, allowing only 4 homers in 55 1/3 innings is a good way to outperform your FIP. Congrats on a good winter Tim! Teixeira deal throw-in Stephen Marek has allowed a pair of runs in 4 1/3 innings, but they both came in his first appearance in Mexico. Since that first appearance, Marek has allowed 3 hits and struck out 1 in 3 2/3 innings. Nice and boring. Our final winter league player is Edgar Osuna (BH #21) who is working primarily out of the pen and doing a heck of a job with a 1.40 ERA. The 6.52 K rate he's posting is nearly identical to what he did over the 2009 season, though his walks are up a little bit. Oddly, all 3 runs Edgar has allowed have come off solo homers. Get them out of there, and he's a scoreless machine. Good winter Edgar! That knocks out this winter league update, keep your eyes posted on BravesHeart for the latest analysis of the winter meetings. For brief little tidbits that I find out if I'm away from the computer, follow me on Twitter@BravesHeart. Until the next batch of news breaks, take care!
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