Winter League wrap-up (part two): Blue Jays prospect Robert Robertis continues to impress, Bowden Francis is still pitching well, and more!
5 months ago
Although the Dominican Winter League regular season wrapped up this past weekend, there’s still plenty of baseball remaining for the three other winter leagues!
Earlier on Monday, I wrote an article featuring the prospects playing in the Dominican Winter League. In this article, we’ll be looking at the seven prospects playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, the Mexican Winter League, and the Venezuelan Winter League.
Let’s start with Puerto Rico, where there are currently four Jays’ prospects playing.
In the last overall update, there were only three prospects playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Now there are four, as Chavez Young has recently Indios de Mayaguez, joining fellow Jays prospect Glenn Santiago
The sample size is short, as he played his first two games on Sunday. He has yet to register a hit in his first eight plate appearances, but he also has three walks and was caught stealing once.
I mentioned in the other wrap-up that Young has a fun grade of 80, and there’s no better proof of that than the video above.
The next update should have more information, but I went on about his defense in one of my latest articles, which you can read here.
Like some Jays prospects that played in LIDOM, the 22-year-old hasn’t really gotten an opportunity with his Puerto Rican Winter League team. Santiago has only had four plate appearances with a hit in the five games he’s appeared in.
Between Low-A and High-A, Santiago slashed .228/.293/.344 with three homers in 208 plate appearances. There’s definitely room for improvement, but he has quick bat speed and hits the ball hard.
The 22-year-old is definitely one to watch and he’ll most likely repeat High-A.
The 22-year-old lefty is currently pitching for RA12. In 11.1 innings pitched, he has a 3.18 ERA and a 29.2 K%. Paulino has a high 12.5 BB%, but has picked it up in recent games, generating a lot more whiffs than his first two appearances.
Definitely keep an eye on the lefty, as his pitches have a ton of movement and he has one of the best splitters in the organization.
Francis hasn’t pitched since the last wrap-up article on December 9th. The 26-year-old is currently rocking a 0.35 ERA in 26 innings pitched. Moreover, he has a 37.6 K% and 5.4 BB%, plus a 34.93 whiff%.
He’s certainly a pitcher to watch next season because if he continues to pitch well as he’s done since July 6th, there’s definitely an MLB pitcher there.
His next start should come at some point this week.
Mexican Winter League:
As I was editing the LIDOM article, I checked up on which Jays prospects were playing in the three other winter leagues. Obviously, Adrián Hernández is pitching for Caneros de Los Mochis, but then I realized fellow Jays prospect Roque Salinas also plays for Los Mochis.
Let’s start with Salinas.
Like Chavez Young, the sample size is just so tiny with Salinas. The 20-year-old has only had four plate appearances in the one game he appeared in, but he had a hit!
The 2022 season was the first season he played in the Jays organization, and with the Dunedin Blue Jays, he slashed .277/.313/.372 with three homers in 302 plate appearances.
Salinas also hit the ball pretty hard per Exit Vel’O’Clock, registering a maximum exit velocity of 109.6 mph, as well as an average exit velocity of 81.65 mph and a hard hit percentage of 16.94%.
He’ll be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on as he’ll likely start the 2023 season with the Vancouver Canadians.
The 22-year-old has continued to have some success in the Mexican Winter League, as he currently has a 3.93 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched.
It seems like he’s had the same 33.3 K% the entire season, while his BB% is still at a relatively high 12.8%. His ERA has also crept up since the last wrap-up, as it sat at 2.12 just over a week ago.
Despite that, Hernández still has an incredibly high 39.69 whiff%, so there’s a lot to like about what he’s doing in Mexico.
There’s a good chance he’ll pitch for the Blue Jays at some point next season.
Venezuelan Winter League:
I won’t lie, I was surprised to see Robert Robertis join the Tigres de Aragua. Let’s look into how he’s done in the league in a relatively short amount of time.
I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Robetis following his two homers in Double-A as a 19-year-old after only hitting one in his professional career in 2021. Would you be surprised if I told you that he has already hit a home run in the Venezuelan Winter League, despite just turning 20 years old?
Because yeah, he also did that. In fact, he’s slashing .286/.444/.714 in nine plate appearances, which is definitely a small sample size, but impressive nonetheless.
He’s definitely in the position to potentially be one of the biggest breakout prospects in the Jays’ organization in 2023. The left-handed batting outfielder is definitely someone you should keep an eye on next season. Here’s one of his homers at the end of the 2022 season with the Fisher Cats.
Where will he end up? I’d say Dunedin is the most plausible answer, but after two home runs in such a short span in New Hampshire, I think there’s a remote possibility that he lands in Vancouver.
Where can you watch Winter League Ball?
Despite the fact the MLB season ended back in early November, there’s still tons of baseball available. You can watch LIDOM action on MLB.TV. You can also watch most of the Puerto Rican Winter League on most teams’ Facebook pages, as well as some on Youtube channels.
To watch the Venezuelan Winter League and the Mexican Winter League, you’d have to pay as it’s a paid subscription. However, it’s definitely worth it.
Not just that, but the World Baseball Classic is quickly approaching, so you know we’ll be covering more Blue Jays prospects!
Either way, stay tuned for the next update, which will likely come at the end of December!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. If you don’t want to pay for the subscription services, I post prospect highlights to both my Twitter and Instagram accounts, so check that out!
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