Initially drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 24-year-old catcher Ramon Cabrera played for his hometown team, the Caracas Lions, in Venezuela. He hit a very solid .290/.331/.460 in 124 at bats with 9 doubles and four home runs. Despite not hitting for much power between Double-A and Triple-A, Cabrera posted very solid numbers for the season with the better totals playing for Erie in the Eastern League.
Signing with the Tigers this offseason was outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, 26, who left the Indians organization. Carrera played 53 games in Venezuela, hitting .293/.419/.414 with 21 stolen bases in 191 at bats. He hit only .248/.312/.346 in 416 at bats with Columbus, the Indians’ Triple-A club and had three hits in 17 at bats in a brief stint in the majors.
26-year-old outfielder Ben Guez got some extra work done in the Mexican Winter League, hitting .234/.385/.442 hitting seven home runs but continuing his issues as a “Three-True-Outcome” player, walking 35 times and striking out 56 times in 154 at bats. He posted a similar line in Triple-A Toledo with a .242/.349/.424 line with 19 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 62 walks and 136 strikeouts.
Catcher Bryan Holaday, who has split his time in the majors and minors over the past two seasons with the Tigers and the Toledo Mudhens only got into 11 games in the Dominican, hitting .179/.233/.464 in just 28 at bats. He hit .260/.312/.372 in 288 at bats in Toledo with 18 doubles a triple and four home runs.
Louisiana native Jamie Johnson, 26, played this offseason in Mexico, hitting .257/.402/.347, walking 34 times as opposed to 30 strikeouts. He played outfield with Double-A Erie this season and was a huge on-base threat, hitting, 273/.420/.342 with a massive 101 walks and just 74 strikeouts and adding 27 stolen bases.
Veteran Jordan Lennerton, a British Columbia native, played 39 games in Puerto Rico after a very good 2013 season in Toledo where he hit .278/.382/.430 with 17 home runs. Lennerton, 27, hit .340/.414/.539 in the Caribbean with five home runs and thirteen doubles in 141 at bats.
Playing for Erie in 2013, catcher James McCann, 23, hit a very good .277/.328/.404 for the season but didn’t really get into the groove in the Dominican, playing in just 10 games and hitting .107/.219/.179 over the course of 28 at bats.
Another catcher Ronny Paulino, 32, who re-signed with the Tigers in the offseason, hit only .115 in 26 Dominican League at bats. He played for both Baltimore’s and Detroit’s farm systems in 2013, accruing only 92 at bats and hitting .250.
Second baseman Hernan Perez played for two different Venezuelan Winter League teams in 2013 combining for a .265/.312/.316 line over 117 at bats. Perez hit .301/.330/.410 combined with both Erie and Toledo and hit .197/.217/.227 in 66 major league at bats.
Sydney, Australia native Zach Shepherd, 18, has been holding his own in the Australian Baseball League with a .252/.336/.315 line. The shortstop was just signed by the Tigers in July 2012 but has yet to play in a minor league game.
21 year old righty Endrys Briceno got hit around a little in his four and a third innings in Venezuela. This came after a solid season in West Michigan where he started 25 games and posted a 4.47 ERA with a 1.50 ERA.
6’3″ righty David Kopp spent the offseason in Puerto Rico where he pitched very well, throwing 22 1/3 innings in relief with a 2.01 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 9 walks and 17 strikeouts. Kopp, 27, didn’t put up great numbers in Erie, posting a 5.44 ERA, 1.67 WHIP with 28 Ks and 33 BBs in 48 innings, all in relief.
Yorfrank Lopez, a 23-year-old Venezuelan righty, pitched 24 1/3 strong innings in his home country with a 1.11 ERA, 18 hits against, 9 walks and 14 strikeouts. Lopez played for West Michigan this season and had a 4.89 ERA and 1.42 ERA with 33 walks and 73 strikeouts in 99 1/3 innings.
25-year-old righty Jhan Marinez signed on with the Tigers in the offseason after a fairly weak 2013 campaign in which he struggled with his control (despite good strikeout numbers) mostly spent in Triple-A Charlotte. In the Dominican League, he was much better, posting a 2.95 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and striking out 21 batters with just seven walks in 18 1/3 innings.
Pat McCoy, another free agent signing, pitched only seven and two-thirds innings in the Puerto Rican league after an okay season with the Senators’ organization. McCoy, a 25-year-old lefty, gave up just two runs on seven hits and one walk in Puerto Rico and had a 5.06 ERA, 1.54 WHIP with 14 walks and 39 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched, mostly in Double-A.
Venezuelan-born Angel Nesbitt, 23, pitched 14 1/3 innings in his home country, giving up seven runs on 20 hits and eight walks to go with nine strikeouts. He had a solid season in West Michigan, coming out of the bullpen to throw 67 innings and post a 3.22 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 21 walks and 54 strikeouts.
With parts of two seasons in the majors, Jose Ortega, 25, threw 16 2/3 outstanding innings at home in Venezuela this offseason. He allowed only two earned runs (four unearned) on 15 hits and seven walks with 10 strikeouts. He pitched 11 2/3 innings in the majors, giving up five runs on ten hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts.
Wilsen Palacios, 24, also went to his home country in Venezuela, throwing 21 1/3 innings iwth a 4.22 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with just five walks and 16 strikeouts, however, the damage came from the four home runs he surrendered. Palacios pitched for High-A Lakeland with a very solid season spent as a starter, throwing 134 2/3 innings with a 3.07 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 44 walks and 109 strikeouts.
Eduardo Sanchez, Warwick Saupold and Jose Valdez all threw less than ten innings in Winter League action. Sanchez, a 24-year-old minor league free agent, gave up nine runs in 8 1/3 innings (despite 10 strikeouts) in Venezuela while Saupold, 23, gave up four runs in five and a third for his home-town club Perth in Australia after pitching a solid season in Double-A for the Tigers. Jose Valdez, 23, split the season between West Michigan and Lakeland with very strong numbers in 49 1/3 innings, striking out 67 despite 34 walks. In two and two-thirds innings in the Dominican, he walked just one and struck out five.