Thursday, October 11, 2007

Venezuelan Winter Ball Preview

Yohan Pino

Venezuelan Winter League kicks off Thursday, October 11th, with LaGuaira taking on Zulia, Lara at Aragua, Margirita at Caracas and Caribes at Magallanes.

Not all the teams have posted their rosters, but for the most part the Twins current prospects are part of the Aragua Tigers.

Because VWL includes major leaguers, it's generally considered a higher level of play than either Fall Instructional League or Arizona Fall League, although players from all level of baseball seem to end up on various team rosters.

The Aragua pitching staff sports a number of former Miracle players. Frank Mata, Jose Mijares, Yohan Pino and Oswaldo Sosa will all take the mound mixed in with current twin prospects Brian Bass and Bobby Korecky. Former Miracle Josmir Romero and Victor Moreno are also on the Tigre's roster, although they are no longer part of the Twins organization.

Twins prospect Wilson Ramos as listed as one of Aragua's catchers, but I saw him last Friday at the Lee County Sportsplex with his hand still all bandaged, so don't expect him to see any action until much later in the season.

Current Minnesota propsect Brian Buscher will be spliting time at 3rd base with the Marlin's Miguel Cabrera, and former Miracle Luis Maza and Luis Rodriguez. Another Fort Myers alumni, Alex Romero, will be in the Aragua outfield.

A look over at the roster of the Navegantes del Magallanes reveals former Miracle Erol Andrus patroling their outfield, and Jesus Merchan, who is currently in the Phillies organization, will be handling their shortstop duties.

Former Twins catcher Henry Blanco is behind the plate for Leones del Caracas, while current Twin Carlos Silva is pitching for the Caribes de Oriente. Juan Rincon and Ryan Rowland-Smith, who I believe the Twins had a look at one year for Spring Training, are on the Cardenales de Lara as is former Miracle Luis Ugueto.

Familier names dot the rosters and I'm sure there are several I've overlooked. Caribbean Winter League information can be found HERE.

For the most part I'll be limiting my Venezuelan League coverage to the Tigres, but will try to keep you appraised of notable players on the other teams as much as possible.

The Mexican Pacific League is underway, but my interest in it is slight, having already looked over the rosters. The Dominican League starts on october 17, 2007 and rosters have not been posted as of this writing. Hawaii Winter Ball is also under way. The Twins do not participate in the league but FSL fans might be familier with a number of players there including Florida's Brett Sinkbeil and the Red's Logan Ondrusek, who are pitching for the North Shore Honu. Interested fans can keep appraised of those players progress HERE.

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