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The 2013 Hermosillo Report: Mid-Series edition

The 2013 Hermosillo Report: Mid-Series edition
February 5, 2013
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Okay, the timing isn't all that perfect, but I spent Sunday (midpoint of Round Robin) trying to stay minimally alert enough to watch the Super Bowl (hey, it's no Pro Bowl, but it's televised football so it's still better than nothing) while recovering from the flu.  Still, here is your four-game look back at the Wahoo contingent taking part in this year's Serie Del Caribe in Hermosillo, Mexico (more on Hermosillo itself later in this report).

First, let's start with who's not here:  Ezequiel Carrera.  You may ask:  Isn't he on the Navegantes del Magallanes roster?  Didn't Magallanes win the Venezuela Winter League (LVBP)?  The answers to these questions are yes and yes.  The problem is in the Caribbean baseball practice of allowing teams advancing to a later round of the playoffs to add "reinforcements" from the eliminated teams.  The Navegantes kinda went carzy with this idea and replaced two-thirds of their roster, including Ezequiel Carrera.  Is this the Caribbean ball World Series or a seven-day, 13-game All-Star tournament?

On the flip side, one Indians farmhand benfited from this rule as Jose Ramirez, whose Toros Del Este team was eliminated after the Round Robin stage of the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) playoffs, was picked up by the Dominican champs Leones del Escogido for the Caribbean Series.  Speaking of Jose...

Jose Ramirez
2B, Republica Dominicana (Leones del Escogido)
4 GP 4-14, 4 R, 2 2B, 6 BB, 4 K, 2 SB

While the hits to at bats line in the above header may not appear impressive, keep in mind that it represents a .286 batting average.  Not world-shaking, but not terrible either.  The more disconcerting fact about the batting average is that most of it comes from a 3-for-5 outing against Mexico (Yaquis de Obregon) on Sunday.  Outside of that game, Ramirez is batting only .111 for the Series.  Where Ramirez has been masterful, though, is capitalizing on walks.  Despite being held hitless in his first two games, he scored a run in each with both runs coming after he had reached first base on four balls.  Also, the sheer number of walks he has drawn in the tournament have helped soften the blow to his on-base percentage from his mediocre batting average, raising it all the way to .500.  The .214 spread between batting average and on-base percentage is pretty significant, even for such a small sample size. For those wondering, his slash line closes out with a .429 slugging percentage and .929 OPS (not bad for a guy batting .286) Ramirez has also been perfect in his two stolen base attempts so far and was elevated to the leadoff spot (from the 2nd spot) after the second game, which seems to coincide perfectly with an increase in his offensive production.  While he has failed to get an RBI in any of the four games, that is not as big of a deal as he is batting at the top of the order and is expected to be the one driven in rather than the one doing the driving in most of the time.

It is also important to keep any stats from this short competition in the context of the big picture of the entire winter season.  His slash line over the entire winter is a very healthy .313/.394/.382/.776.  While the on-base is lower without the inflationary effect of six walks on a small sample size, the batting average is much better and more truly indicative of the dominant nature of his winter season.

With all of this "reinforcing" going on, it may come as a shock that there is an Indians organization player who made it to the Series in the normal fashion:  playing the Regular Season/League Playoffs for the league champion.  Of course, I am talking about relief pitcher Rob Bryson of the Liga Beisbol Professional Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico, phew!) champions Criollos de Caguas...

Rob Bryson
RHR, Puerto Rico (Criollos de Caguas)
1 GP, 0.1 IP,, 1 H, 3 R (all earned), 2 BB, 1 HR

Bryson has only taken the mound for one game in the Series (a 6-2 loss to the Republica Dominicana on Saturday) and it wasn't pretty.  Needless to say, Bryson's unblemished winter ERA is now history.  In an odd way, though, Bryson's bombing on Saturday serves as a sort of testament to his dominance the rest of the winter as the unmitigated disaster of a pitching line posted above only raised his ERA to 1.33, his WHIP to 1.03, and lowered his K/BB to 1.77.  This one trainwreck of an outing in no way invaildates what has otherwise been a superhuman winter on Rob's part.

Bottom line:  Both of these players are proving to be mortal after seemingly superhuman league seasons.  In the case of Ramirez, some rust was to be expected as he sat out LIDOM's Series Final.  Bryson's terrible outing was a simple matter of a reality check that was bound to happen at some time.  I would not be surprised if he dominates if he gets another chance to take the mound. in Hermosillo.

NOTAS DESDE HERMOSILLO

 - First off, from what I have seen on TV, the new stadium in Hermosillo (Estadio Sonora) is extremely impressive.  While many Caribbean winter ball stadiums clearly look like the product of a different time and culture, Estadio Sonora would not look out of place as a AAA stadium (according to MLB.com, the stadium is under consideration as a Spring Training home for the Diamondbacks and a future World Baseball Classic or overseas Opening Day site.  Who knows, maybe Hermosillo will come up one day in a Pacific Coast League relocation rumor.

 - Finally, congratulations to Former Indians shortstop Ever Magallanes (Kinston Indians 1997-98, Canton-Akron Indians 1989, Colorado Springs Sky Sox 1989-91, Cleveland Indians 1991, 1995 replacement team), who was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday alongside Fernando Valenzuela, Houston Jimenez and former Liga Mexicana del Pacifico presidents Renato Vega and Dr. Arturo Leon Lerma.

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