With Monday marking the first reporting date for pitchers and catchers, winter leagues are wrapping up and players are returning to their big league clubs.
Mendoza worked seven no-hit innings before giving up a double in the eighth inning in the Caribbean Series on Wednesday night and had another six scoreless innings in a previous start in the Series to win the MVP Award while pitching for Mexico. He surrendered only five hits and struck out 12 batters while walking six. Due in part to his efforts, Mexico won the series and there was much rejoicing.
Tejada hit two homers in seven games and drove in six runs for the Dominican Republic. He also scored four runs while putting up a .300/.405/.533 line building off of a successful Dominican Winter League season where he hit .287/.349/.450. He had an RBI single that tied the championship game up at two in the bottom of the 14th inning on Thursday night (more accurately Friday morning) to keep the Dominican Republic alive. His series earned him a spot on the Series All-Star Team at shortstop.
You can put whatever stock into these performances that you choose. The bright side is that players did well, and while I’m not sold on Mendoza like many others, if he’s going to be on the team, I’m rooting for him. Likewise for Tejada. If he makes it, I’d really rather he be successful than not. Players such as big leaguers Hanley Ramirez and Marlon Byrd were rostered in the Caribbean Series. Players like Julio Lugo and Fernando Tatis were also rostered. Prospects also rounded out rosters, so it was a mix of talent.
After last year’s decent 2012 (and the failings of his competition), this could give Mendoza a longer look as a potential fifth starter when spring training officially gets underway. The Royals say they like him as the long relief guy out of the bullpen, but he outperformed Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar last year, especially after he was locked into the rotation after Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino got hurt. Bob Dutton described his situation by saying that Mendoza “has an uphill climb to win a job in the rotation, but it’s a hill, not a mountain.”