That's Henry Blanco catching for the Bravos at Estadio Nueva Esparta. - Pic by Muu
There may be no more pro baseball in America - even in Arizona - but the Caribbean and South American leagues are in full swing, with a number of Diamondbacks, old and young, taking part. How are they doing?
We start in the Australian Baseball League, which has six teams, spread all over the continent - pity the poor Perth Heat, who have to travel more than 1,600 miles to play their nearest away games! ]Which may explaiin why they only play four games a week] There are two D-backs hitters there, utility man Ryan Stovall, whose contract was bought from indy league Fargo in November, and Carter Bell, a 29th-round pick last year. Stovall is doing the better thus far, hitting .293, good for third among regulars on the Canberra Cavalry. Bell has a .216 average, and seems to be struggling badly with his plate discipline, given a K:BB ratio of 21:2 in 88 at-bats.
In the Dominican, the most active Diamondback is actually an ex, Konrad Schmidt having been claimed off waivers by Texas. He's hitting .152. The most interesting line is probably Alfredo Marte, who in limited playing time (five games) is hitting .143, but has an OPS 1.026. How does he manage that? All his hits are homers, and he has more hit by pitches than hits, resulting in a line of .143/.455/.571. In the Puerto Rican league. 1B prospect Yazy Arbelo and C Michael Perez have been seeing action for the Atenienses de Manati. Arbelo is hitting .209, but like Marte, has been acting as a ball magnet, being hit four times in 16 games.
Down in Venezuela, Gerardo Parra is spending his usual winter, playing in the outfield for the Aguilas del Zulia. He has played 23 times for them, and is hitting .278 with four home-runs, giving him an OPS of .749. He's still king of the TOOTBLAN, being caught stealing in four of his six attempts thus far. Also in the league is another of our young catchers, Rossmel Perez. He started the season with the Tiburones de La Guaira, but is now on the Tigres de Aragua roster. He has been struggling at the plate with his new team, going only 1-for-13, but has drawn five walks without striking out.
There has been a lot less activity on the pitching front. In Venezuela, Eddie Bonine, signed to a minor-league deal by the Diamondbacks last month, started three games for the Leones del Caracas. He pitched well, allowing two runs over 12 innings, including five shutout frames in his final outing, scattering three hits and no walks. Overall he held batters to a .186 average, with a K:BB ratio of 10:2. Not as successful, however, was team-mate and fellow Diamondback Yoimer Camacho (though he has yet to get above Missoula). Camacho appeared in one game, and failed to retire either batter faced, allowing a walk and two-run homer.
As an aside, also pitching for the Leones was a name you might remember: Armando Galarraga. His first two starts did not go very well, combining to allow 10 hits and six earned runs in only four innings. But after a stint in the "parallel league," [according to this article - translated by Mrs. SnakePit, though she isn't sure what "la liga paralela" is in baseball terms. Maybe the Venezuelan minors?], he returned, and has been working out of the Caracas bullpen. The results haven't been much better, though the defense hasn't helped him, with half of the six runs he has allowed (in 4.2 relief innings) being unearned.
Finally, there are two members of the Diamondbacks who have been getting regular work., coming out of the bullpen for Estrellas de Oriente. Eury De La Rosa., who spent 2012 with Mobile, has apparently been their LOOGY, with only 10.1 innings of work, despite 21 appearances. However, he has allowed 14 hits, and walked another three batters, leading to a 6.10 ERA. Better numbers have come from Rommie Lewis, who we'll probably see (for a bit, anyway) in spring: he has made 23 appearances, working 22 innings with only four walks, and has a 4-0 record, with an ERA of 1.23.