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Los Otros D-Backs: Winter Leagues round up

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While most of our Diamondbacks play in the Dominican Republic, we have a handful playing in other Winter leagues.

BASEBALL-CUBA-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images

After having reviewed our Dominican D-Backs, we stay south of the American border and visit México (Liga Mexicana del Pacífico), Puerto Rico (Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente) and Venezuela (Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional) to take a look at those other potential major league players of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Again, if you think we missed out on someone in those leagues or in other winter leagues (Australia, Nicaragua, Panama...), share it in the comments and we will look into them.

Data were reviewed up till 12/23/2020.


Miguel Aguilar, LHP, Yaquis de Obregón (LMP, Mexico)

DOB: 09/26/1991

In the organization since: 09/19/2016

Status: Assigned to AAA (Reno Aces)

The earliest notion I could find of Mexican Miguel Aguilar was 2012, when he appeared as a relief pitcher for the Vaqueros de Laguna in the Mexican LMB, unaffiliated Triple A. At one time he made a switch to the Leones de Yucatán and after two strong seasons pitching to a 2.14 and 2.08 ERA, he was signed by the Diamondbacks in 2016, at 25 years of age.

Since 2017 he has been pitching in the minor league system with success, although on each level he has been facing batters two years younger than him. He got to sniff a bit of the real work when he was invited to Spring Training in 2019 and again in 2020, but he got hit hard in 1.1 and 3.0 innings of work. Aguilar is a long shot to make it to the majors, but so was Junior Guerra when he debuted at 30 years of age, so who knows. He is Rule 5 eligible and obviously not on any prospect list. Since November 20 he is assigned to the Reno Aces. Miguel Aguilar also made an appearance for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in 2017.

Since 2012 Aguilar has been pitching in the Mexican Winter League as well and this year he does so for the team of his home town. The Yaquis de Obregón are leader in the Mexican Winter League and Miguel Aguilar serves as the team’s closer albeit in somewhat of a committee. With 8 saves in 12 games he is currently 5th in the league, his WHIP is strong with 0.951, and his 2.0 BB/9 makes top of the league as well, but his strikeout rates are middle of the pack with a 6.6 K/9.

Despite the overall good numbers his usage is pretty limited for being a league leader, both pitcher and team, so my guess is that he is on a pitch limit restriction, which probably means the team wants to take a serious look again at Miguel Aguilar in Reno in 2021 with probably another invite to Spring Training.


Juniel Querecueto, 2B, Cardenales de Lara (LVBP, Venezuela)

DOB: 09/19/1992

In the organization since: 03/23/2018

Status: Assigned to AAA (Reno Aces)

Juniel Querecueto is not completely unfamiliar with the MLB because in 2016 he debuted in the majors for the Tampa Bay Rays, although after a short September stint he was outrighted and elected free agency. After a year in the San Francisco Giants organization, he signed with the Diamondbacks in March 2018 with a Spring Training invite and spent the season between Jackson Generals in Double A and Reno Aces in Triple AAA. In 2019 and 2020 he played 18 and 14 games in Spring Training, hitting with little power for a .667 and .596 OPS. In Reno he is not hitting with much power either (.755 OPS) although his batting averages are really not that bad at all, but his BB/K ratio (0.23 in 2019) is unsustainable for a guy hitting with that little power.

Querecueto is a highly valued batter in the Venezuelan winter league. In the regular league he does not hit that much better than in the minors, but he has a good post-season record with a .858 OPS and won the post-season MVP award in the 2018-19 season. He was committed to the Cardenales de Lara again this season, but has not played so far because of a groin hernia that required surgery this off-season. He should have been ready on December 10, but still has not played.

Querecueto was part of the 2020 60-man roster on the alternate training site but did not get a call up. He will probably get another invitation to Spring Training in 2021 and start the season in Reno. Barring complete disaster we should not expect Querecueto to crack the 40-man roster, but should it happen, the 3 minor league options are still there to move him freely up and down.


Luis Alejandro Basabe, 2B, Leones del Caracas (LVBP, Venezuela)

DOB: 08/26/1996

In the organization since: 07/09/2016

Status: Assigned to A+ (Visalia Rawhide)

When Luis Alejandro Basabe joined the Diamondbacks as one of the pieces in the Brad Ziegler trade to the Boston Red Sox, maybe the D-Backs made a mistake. Perhaps they wanted Luis Alexander Basabe, who is his twin brother and was also in the Red Sox franchise at that moment. Their names are alike and they look exactly the same, but while Luis Alexander recently made his debut in the majors for the San Francisco Giants, Luis Alejandro is still hitting in the minors.

Luis Alejandro’s development has gone very slowly and he was stuck in Kane County for over two years. There is a little video of him here if you are interested, but thing is that he has been hitting with very little power. His BB% is good, his K% acceptable, but otherwise his batting averages were just too low. In 2019 he had a good season in Visalia though (A+) and he would have probably started the season over there in 2020. He has not been reassigned yet, but my guess is he will start the season in Double A with the Amarillo Sod Poodles. He is a switch hitter, so that is at least an interesting versatility for this otherwise utility type player.

Basabé is facing much older competition in the Venezuelan winter league, where he is hitting for the first time in his career. He is not a regular and appeared in just 3 of 26 games so far and got 1 hit in 7 AB, good for a .143 batting average. He did get in a run with that hit.


Kenny Hernández, LHP, Indios de Mayagüez (LBPRC, Puerto Rico)

DOB: 06/24/1998

In the organization since: 07/06/2015

Status: Assigned to AAA (Reno Aces)

Kenny Hernandez signed with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and after two seasons in the Rookie leagues in 2016 and 2017, spent the 2018 season with Hillsboro Hopps in SS, and in 2019 was part of the roster in Kane County. It looks like he does not have overwhelming stuff with a 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 and he profiles as a long reliever, although a left-handed one. He was assigned to Triple A on November 2020 from Kane County, although I find it hard to believe he will start the season there. Probably makes more sense we will see him back in Hillsboro in Single A for the 2021 season with a mid-season call up to Double A if all goes well. Hernandez is Rule 5 eligible and not on any prospect list.

For the Indios Kenny has started two games so far against opponents 3-4 years older. His first start came with 4.1 innings in which he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and a no-decision. In his second game he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) and 4 hits, one being a homerun. He took the loss for that start. He is currently a back-end / emergency starter of the rotation.


Jancarlos Cintron, 2B, Criollos de Caguas (LBPRC, Puerto Rico)

DOB: 12/01/1994

In the organization since: 06/22/2017

Status: Assigned to A+ (Visalia Rawhide)

Cintrón was a 24th round draft pick in 2017 out of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was with the AZL Diamondbacks in 2017, in Kane County in 2018 and in 2019 in Visalia, to which he is still assigned. The infielder does not hit with much power, does not strike out much, but does not force any walks either. He produces a lot of grounders so he depends entirely on his hitting abilities which have been around .260 in two of his three seasons, making for an OPS of just below .700. He is Rule 5 eligible and, just like all prospects mentioned above, not included in a prospect list. I can imagine Cintrón starting the season in Single A in Hillsboro.

Part of that thought is because he is hitting terrible in the LBPRC. In 8 games and 29 plate appearances, he has a .136 batting average and a .527 OPS thanks to 4 walks, although he did get in 4 RBI and, somehow, 9 runs. So he is probably both clutch and being used as a pinch runner despite the apparent below average speed. When playing he is hitting 9th for his team.


So, just like in the Dominican Republic: unfortunately no spectacular prospects here either.

For those of you interested in Yasmany Tomás who was supposed to play in Puerto Rico this offseason: because of the COVID situation the 6 team league was reduced to 4. His commitment was to the Cangrejeros de Santurce who decided to pull out. So No Más Tomás in Puerto Rico.