We are continuing to bring you Marlins winter ball updates leading up to the Caribbean Series.
For much of 2020, COVID-19 brought baseball to a halt for players within the Marlins organization. Some of them are now making up for that lost time. Just like in previous years, Fish Stripes will be consistently updating the whereabouts of your favorite Fish during the offseason. At FishStripes.com/offseason, you can find weekly news, stats, highlights and (small sample size) analysis.
LIDOM (Dominican Republic)
The league championship series is underway in the D.R. as Gigantes del Cibao lead Águilas Cibaeñas 2-1 in the best-of-seven matchup. No current Marlins players are involved, but I have spotted four old friends on their rosters.
As we covered last year on Offseason Fish, Peter O’Brien won the damn LIDOM MVP award in 2019-20! The slugger has regressed here in his age-30 winter—striking out about 35% of the time in the regular season and postseason combined—but still so easy to root for. Left-hander Miguel Del Pozo was a prospect in the Marlins organization for more than eight years. Since then, he’s bounced around to the Rangers, Angels and Pirates, and just last week, inked a free agent deal with the Tigers. Right-hander José Rafael “Jumbo” Díaz starred with the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes in 2018. Still has a lot left in the tank even with his 37th birthday approaching next month. O’Brien, Del Pozo and Díaz are all with Cibao.
On the opposite side of the series, there’s Jonathan Villar. His 2020 campaign with the Marlins did not go as hoped (.259/.315/.345, 82 wRC+, 0.0 fWAR in 128 PA) and a midseason trade to the Blue Jays only made things worse. The speedy switch-hitter is auditioning for a cheap major league deal, though I’m not sure he’ll get one.
Jonathan Villar winter ball hype video is much better than the Jonathan Villar Marlins hype video https://t.co/Gg0g50h6EW
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) January 6, 2021
Thursday is an off day with Game 4 scheduled for Friday night.
2020-21 regular season/postseason combined stats
- Harold Ramirez (Caimanes de Barranquilla)—.357/.434/.500, 1 HR, 18 K in 129 PA
- Sandy León (Caimanes de Barranquilla)—.259/.364/.444, 1 HR, 4 K in 33 PA
⚾Cuadrangular de Sandy León para los Caimanes de Barranquilla para ayudar a estirar la ventaja contra los Vaqueros de Montería.
— Peloteros de Colombia (@PeloterosCol) January 12, 2021
In winning five of eight games during the round robin stage—including their last three in a row—Caimanes de Barranquilla have advanced to the finals. Dating back to the start of the regular season, Harold leads the team in hits (40) and is tied for the lead in extra-base hits (12) and runs scored (28).
Caimanes games are streamed live and in HD on YouTube (en español).
LBPRC (Puerto Rico)
2020-21 postseason stats
- Isan Díaz (Criollos de Caguas)—.167/.412/.250, 4 K in 16 PA
- Anthony Maldonado (Criollos de Caguas)—4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4 K in 2.0 IP
- Antonio Velez (Indios de Mayagüez)—0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 1 K in 1.0 IP
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has interrupted competition on the island. Díaz and Maldonado swept their way to a berth in the finals, but only one postseason game was played on the other side of the bracket before players began testing positive for the virus.
Indios de Mayagüez and Antenienses de Manatí are preparing to return to the field this Sunday (Mayagüez leads the series, 1-0).
The league announced a roster this week, compromised mostly of Panamanian-born players, that will represent the country in the Caribbean Series, which begins Jan. 31.
Right-hander Alberto Guerrero is participating. Though you won’t see Guerrero on any Marlins top prospects lists, the organization thought highly enough of him to place him on the Triple-A roster as protection from the minor league phase of last month’s Rule 5 draft. He was a steady member of the Low-A Clinton LumberKings rotation during his age-21 season (3.13 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 1.36 WHIP in 132.1 IP). My best guess is he’ll be initially assigned to High-A Beloit for the 2021 campaign.
Catcher Rodrigo Vigil is also on the roster. He spent nearly a decade with Marlins minor league affiliates, topping out at Triple-A for a brief stint in 2019. Vigil is now a free agent.