Urban Shocker’s Weblog
Dominican Beisbol & Baltimore Orioles Baseball News

Strange Doings In the Dominican Republic: Winter League Baseball Weirdness

Victor Diaz Follows Through On Another Home Run  Swing

Victor Diaz Follows Through On Another Home Run Swing

I’ve been meaning to put together a comprehensive, team-by-team post about winter league baseball in the Dominican Republic since play began five weeks ago.  With the regular season schedule more than halfway complete, that post still isn’t ready but I have to comment on something I’ve noticed that’s largely slipped under the radar.

In 2006-2007, the league ERA was 3.56.  Last season, it dropped to 3.33.  This winter -through games of November 22-  the league earned run average is an astounding 5.40!!!  As a former big league hurler from the DR used to exclaim, whatdehellwhatdefuck?!?!?!

As you might expect, home runs are up and former major league Victor Diaz (of the defending champion Aguilas Cibaenas) is leading the charge.  Diaz rapped 12 longballs in 280 at-bats for the 2005 Mets, when teammate Pedro Martinez let reporters know his nickname was “Little Manny” in the D.R.  Unfortunately, high strikeout totals, indifferent defense and un-Mannyesque lack of plate discipline conspired to keep Diaz in the minors for all but 43 games the last three seasons.  He hasn’t seen big league action since blasting 9 homers in just 104 at bats for the Rangers in 2007.  He pounded out 25 dingers with 107 RBI for two clubs in the Pacific Coast League this summer. 

The soon-to-be 27-year-old Diaz may be hitting himself back into the Show, however.  So far this winter, he’s put up a .346/.417/.757 line, good for a 1.174 OPS backed by 11 home runs and 32 RBI in just 28 games!  Then again, he is striking out once every 2.8 at bats.  When he makes contact, Diaz is batting .536!

Right behind Diaz in the scoreboard power stats is teammate Mendy Lopez, with 9 home runs and 30 RBI.  With a good week, or a great game for that matter, Lopez can become the circuit’s career home run champion.

Jake Fox is batting .413 playing most of the time, while the Nationals Anderson Hernandez is at .398 with a league-leading six triples among his number one hit total.  About the only pitcher really having an outstanding campaign is Jorge Sosa, who’s 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA.  Don’t get too excited, his 12 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched are on the underwhelming side. 

I’ll be back with more after the American Thanksgiving holiday, but check out the Dominican League if you get an opportunity.  It’s shaping up to be an exciting season for evrybody but pitchers, and things are sure to heat up as more major leaguers join the action in December.

2 Responses to “Strange Doings In the Dominican Republic: Winter League Baseball Weirdness”

  1. Urban, I’m pretty amazed about your weblog, and how passionate you seem to be about Dominican baseball. I’m webmaster for the largest and oldest fansite in the Dominican Republic, enterely devoted to Águilas Cibaeñas: http://www.aguiluchos.com.

    I found your blog thru Google Alerts, as I receive anything that has “Aguilas Cibaeñas”. I read many of your posts today (later I’ll keep on reading). It really amazes me when I see someone (not Dominican) being so interested in our Winter league and its players.

    Yesterday I was on the game. My website set up two big busses filled with Águilas fans and some of the tigers as well. We were about 140 people in the seats near First base. The adrenaline was incredible! Nelson Figueroa tamed the tigers last January and they were looking for a revenge against him yesterday (his debut). But Nelson once again kicked their *sses bad!

    I really enjoyed the game and the tour we made. In our website we have a forum section (aguiluchos.com/foros). We speak Spanish, but many of us speak English as well, so if you have the time and patience to deal with us (wild “fanáticos” that enjoy making fun of the lossers… and being sooooo philosophic and quiet when we are the defeated), take a look at us. We are setting up a complete statistics system for keeping the numbers of the guys, so that might be another interesting thing for you later on.

    Thanks for your interest for our Winter league. I’ll pass your blog to my friends so they can check it too.


  2. Thank you Dario.

    I envy you and all your fellow Aguilas fans that are getting to see some great baseball while we’re freezing here in New York!

    Joaquin Andujar, who pitched one game for Aguilas after winning the 7th game of the 1982 World Series, is the reason I got interested in Dominican baseball.

    For that reason, I’m a fan of the Estrellas Orientales, which is about as disappointing as being a Baltimore Orioles fan in the Grandes Liga.

    Hope you guys beat Licey again though, except on the days Daniel Cabrera pitches for them (if he gets activated later on). Give my regards to Miguel Tejada!

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