Baltimore Orioles: Complete Winter League Roundup
By Nick Stevens
We’re taking a trip around the winter league scene to check in on some of the top performances from Baltimore Orioles prospects.
From the Dominican Republic to Venezuela and even all the way out to Australia, professional baseball leagues around the globe provide Major League Baseball prospects to work on various aspects of their game while returning home to their native country during the offseason. A handful of veteran players also make trips to play in one of these winter leagues and if you look closely through the rosters, you see players like Carlos Zambrano still climbing the mound and former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Alejandro De Aza living the dream.
Many of these leagues are wrapping up play in the coming days, ahead of the highly anticipated Caribbean Series, a tournament of champions among the league winners from Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Across the Pacific Ocean, the Australian Baseball League will also wrap up its season shortly, with the playoffs commencing this week.
There’s only so much we can take away from these winter league performances. The more competitive leagues are said to be equivalent to AAA baseball, with most, like the Australian Baseball League, consisting of talent you would find in High-A or Double-A ball.
With limited video, we’re forced to mainly rely on box scores and stat lines. However, successful winter ball seasons can help propel a prospect to a successful year in minor league ball. See guys like Buddy Reed and Franchy Cordero as examples of this. Reed, a former second-round draft pick, struggled to hit Low-A pitching, had a big winter in Australia, and then dominated High-A ball. He continued to translate that into success at the Future’s Game and in the Arizona Fall League.
Will Baltimore Orioles fans witness anything like this with current Birds who flew south for the winter? Let’s run through each of the winter leagues and see who stood out.