The best team in all of winter and fall league baseball right now has to be the Tigres del Licey of the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano. It is laced with talent from top to bottom. The Tigres, also known by their nickname El Glorioso, have a rich history dating back to their creation in 1907 when they were founded in Santo Domingo. Over the years the Tigres have been managed by the Tommy Lasorda, Terry Collins, Buck Rodgers, Bob Geren, and Manny Acta. The Tigres player alumni is even more impressive including the likes of George Bell, Mike Piazza, Bob Gibson, Steve Garvey, Pedro Martinez, Orel Hershiser, Dave Stewart, and Mark McGwire. The team has won 22 Dominican league championships and 10 Caribbean titles, making them possibly the most accomplished baseball organization in the history of organized baseball other than that team from the Bronx. The current Tigres roster represents a diverse array of nations, including players from Panama, Curacao, Cuba, Colombia, and the United States.
Jurickson Profar has just gotten started with the Tigres having only seven at bats thus far, with three hits and a double. Interestingly, Profar has played second base in his only two starts. The most impressive results so far have come from his Cuban teammate Leonys Martin who over 74 at bats has a triple slash line of .297/.372/.459 with two homers, seven extra base hits, and six stolen bases. Christian Bethancourt, on the other hand, has had the least impressive statistical results with a .211 batting average over just 19 at bats. Mike Olt, playing alongside his Ranger organizational mates has five extra base hits over 31 at bats along with a .516 slugging percentage. Mike Olt has been getting time at first base for the Tigres in preparation for his likely role as the Rangers first basemen in 2013. Dee Gordon has been playing well in the winter leagues as well with four triples and two doubles and seven stolen bases. Gordon has been playing shortstop and has put together a triple slash line of .319/.390/.458.
On the pitching side of things, Julio Teheran has pitched poorly for the Tigres over two starts and 6.2 innings of work. Teheranhas allowed 11 hits, five earned runs, while striking out five. Teheran has compiled an ERA of 6.75. Although no longer technically a prospect, Randall Delgado had a nice start for the Tigres on November 10 when he threw five innings, struck out six, permitted 3 hits and one earned run to lower his ERA to 4.70 on the winter league season which has consisted of 7.2 total innings for the Panamanian righty. It will be interesting to see which of the two righties get the first call should anyone in the Atlanta starting rotation falter or succumb to injury in 2013.
Marcel Ozuna and Other Notes
On October 28, Marcell Ozuna wrapped a single off the dome of Bartolo Colon during a game between the Gigantes and the Aguilas. Ozuna is batting .266 and has accumulated seven homers and seven doubles over 79 at bats. Miami Marlins fans should be excited by the power potential of the Dominican slugger.
Jean Segura is playing shortstop for the Gigantes del Cibao and is batting .343 over 70 at bats to go along with a .500 slugging percentage. Segura has slugged two homers and six total extra base hits thus far in addition to four stolen bases. Junior Lake, the somewhat underrated Cubs infield prospect, has a triple slash line of .368/.438/.579. The 22 year-old prospect has two homers and eight extra base hits thus far. He has been especially hot of late, going 3 for 4 on November 5, 4 for 5 on November 6, and 3 for 5 on November 10. During his stint with the Estrellas de Oriente, Lake is building on an impressive 2012 in the Southern League where he hit ten homers and 26 doubles over 103 games to go along with a slash line of .279/.341/.432.