Royals weekly winter ball update
By Jen Nevius
Despite the fact that the World Series has yet to start, winter ball is in full swing in three Caribbean sites. Venezuela and Mexico started a week ago, while the Dominican Republic got started this past weekend. Over the course of the winter ball season, I will be updating you on the KC Royals players who are taking part.
Let’s start in Venezuela, where the winter ball season started on October 9th. There are currently four Royals playing in the VWL (all four are on the last three teams in the league in terms of the current standings). Centerfielder Paulo Orlando plays for Lara, a team that is just 2-8 so far this season. Orlando has already moved around the order quite a bit, batting first, third, sixth, and ninth.
Orlando had a solid first week (four games), going 4-for-16. In Lara’s first full week, he went 7-for-22. He hit his first VWL home run on Sunday, a two-run shot in the ninth to tie the game (a game they lost in ten innings). In the final two games of the week, Orlando was 5-for-9 with seven RBIs from the ninth spot in the order.
LaGuaira (3-7) have two Royals minor league pitchers on their roster. JC Sulbaran made his first start on October 10th, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk over four innings. He struck out two. Sulbaran allowed a two out, two-run homer in the third. He lost his second start on October 16th when he allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out five and threw a wild pitch.
Buddy Baumann has made two appearances for La Guaira. His first came on October 12th, when he allowed one run on one hit and three walks over four innings. He struck out four. His second came on Sunday, when he allowed a hit, four walks, and hit a batter over just 2.1 innings. Baumann did strike out five.
Yender Caramo pitched in three games for Magallanes (3-5). The first came on October 10th, when he allowed two hits and a walk over just 1/3 of an inning. He pitched again on October 15th and allowed three runs on two hits and a walk while not recording an out. Caramo’s third appearance was his best (October 18th). He did not allow a base runner over one inning of work.
Now to Mexico, which started its winter ball season on October 10th. Whit Merrifield is currently the lone Royal playing in the MPL. He plays for Culiacan (3-5) and has been playing shortstop.
Over the first week, Merrifield went 2-for-10 with a double, a run scored, a walk, a stolen base, and three strikeouts (two games). During the second week, he went 2-for-21 with six strikeouts.
Finally to the Dominican Republic, which started its winter ball season on October 16th. There are currently four Royals participating in this league.
First baseman Matt Fields is playing for Estrellas (2-1) and has batted cleanup. In three games, he went 3-for-12 with two doubles, a triple, and two RBIs. He was pinch run for on Saturday by Orlando Calixte in the ninth (he scored a run). It was Calixte’s only game of the week.
Jorge Bonifacio is playing left field for Licey (1-2). In two games, he went 1-for-5 with two walks and three strikeouts. He also committed a throwing error on Saturday.
Reliever Santiago Garrido made one appearance for Aguilas (0-1). He allowed a run on two hits and three walks over 1/3 of an inning.
*The Puerto Rican League does not start until October 30th and I know of at least one Royal who will be playing there (Jack Lopez). The Australian Baseball League begins on October 30th.