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  • Hicks off to a fast start in Venezuela


    The story lines at Twins Daily and in most Minnesota media circles on Wednesday was the performance of Kyle Gibson so far in the Arizona Fall League. Simply stated, through two starts, he has been remarkable and given Twins fans reason to hope. As you know, Gibson is joined in the AFL by pitchers Logan Darnell, Caleb Thielbar and Michael Tonkin as well as hitters Chris Herrmann, Evan Bigley and Nate Roberts.


    To this point, the focus has been on the Fall League, but there is plenty of Winter League baseball for us to watch, at least through box scores. There are leagues in the Carribbean, and the Australian Baseball League continues to improve.

    Aaron Hicks has been the story to follow early in the Winter League seasons.

    The recently-turned 23-year-old is off to a fast start in Venezuela. He is hitting .412 with two doubles and two stolen bases through the first five games. His team, Bravos de Margarita, is 5-0. Heís been the teamís leadoff hitter and centerfielder.

    Other Twins players currently on rosters in Venezuela include:


    • Aguilas de Zulia (OF Darin Mastroianni)
    • Caribes de Anzoategui (RHP Lester Oliveros, who had Tommy John surgery in September so wonít play)
    • Tigres de Aragua (RHP David Bromberg, LHP Jose Gonzalez, LHP Edgar Ibarra, RHP Angel Mata, RHP Miguel Munoz, C Josmil Pinto, OF Oswaldo Arcia)


    Arcia went 0-8 with five strikeouts in his first three games before going 2-3 with a walk and a double in the teamís fourth game.

    There are also several Twins players in the Dominican Winter League this year:


    • Estrellas de Oriente (C Drew Butera, C Jhonatan Arias)
    • Gigantes del Cibao (RHP Adrian Salcedo, IF Alexi Casilla, IF Estarlin de Los Santos)
    • Leones del Escogido (SS Pedro Florimon,
    • Toros del Estes (Wilkin Ramirez)


    Twins top prospect Miguel Sano was the first overall pick in the Dominican Winter League draft (Which took place in mid-August) by the Estrellas de Oriente. Heís not yet listed on the roster, but that could be for a couple of reasons. Twins Instructional League just finished up last Friday, and he could get a break for a bit. I also wouldnít expect him to get a lot of playing time at this stage of his career.

    Anthony Slama is one of several Twins minor leaguers playing in the Mexican League. The others are:


    • Algodoneros de Guasave (1B Chris Colabello)
    • Tomateros de Calican (RHP Gonzalo Sanudo)


    Several of the Twins prospects from Australia are playing in the Australian Baseball League, as well as a couple of US players:


    • Brisbane Bandits (LHP Aaron Thompson, 1B Rory Rhodes)
    • Canberra Cavalry (RHP Tim Atherton)
    • Sydney Blue Sox (IF Jacob Younis) - (Hat tip to former Twins pitching prospect Todd Van Steensel who informed me that RHP Tyler Herr and OF JD Williams arrived yesterday and will play for Sydney.)
    • Melbourne Aces (RHP Sam Gibbons, RHP Markus Solbach, 1B Josh Hendricks)
    • Perth Heat (RHP Brendan Wise)


    I have heard that RHP Tyler Herr is also playing in Australia, but he is not currently listed on a roster. That is likely the case for any of these leagues. Particularly in Venezuela, it is about producing, and quickly. If not, players are released and replaced by others.

    There are several reasons that players go to these leagues. First, often times their teams encourage it. They want players to get additional at bats in an intense environment. A pitcher like David Bromberg is going to get extra innings in Venezuela that he lost in 2012 due to injury. Some players understand that they donít make much money in the US during the regular season, and they need to take advantage of the years that they can get additional pay in these leagues. For young players from those countries, it is a pretty neat opportunity to play in front of their friends and families.

    If nothing else, it can certainly be fun to follow box scores throughout the winter!
    This article was originally published in blog: Hicks off to a fast start in Venezuela started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Cody Christie's Avatar
      Cody Christie -
      Awesome to hear about the fast start for Hicks. Good to see his great season has continued into the Winter.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      How long do these winter league seasons last? November / December? How many games do they actually get in a season?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      The Caribbean Series generally finishes up just a week or two before spring training starts, so it typically goes into mid-January. So, it's a good 2 months worth of games.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      IIRC I think they end in early January.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Do we have any context for these? That is, is he facing a bunch of scrubs? Or is he facing top pitching? Also, don't these guys ever get tired and need rest?
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Also, don't these guys ever get tired and need rest?
      The simple answer is yes. Players come and go as they please. Some players only play the first half and some start in December and play the 2nd half/postseason to ramp up going into ST. I don't think many players play the full season.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Perhaps it will sound paranoid, but does anyone else feel a little uncomfortable with Aaron Hicks, one of the top America-born prospects, being in Venezuela?

      Is the club willing to pay a ransom if he does gets snatched, or do they hire Liam Neeson instead? If Neeson is also too expensive, is Latin American kidnapping extractions part of Joe Vavra's new job title or is that why Bobby Cuellar is now in the mix?
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      where and what team is the red headed step child anthony slama playing for down here in mexico?,id love to go watch him pitch and give a report on him
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Maybe he can keep it up and start with the Twins in 2013.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Perhaps it will sound paranoid, but does anyone else feel a little uncomfortable with Aaron Hicks, one of the top America-born prospects, being in Venezuela?

      Is the club willing to pay a ransom if he does gets snatched, or do they hire Liam Neeson instead? If Neeson is also too expensive, is Latin American kidnapping extractions part of Joe Vavra's new job title or is that why Bobby Cuellar is now in the mix?
      That's very funny!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Just got a note from Anthony Slama. He is playing for Mazatlan. He says they listed him as Anthony Thomas, and he doesn't know why. Maybe it was a translation thing!
    1. TheMix's Avatar
      TheMix -
      Mazatlan....a vacation and extra playing time. Nice!
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Just got a note from Anthony Slama. He is playing for Mazatlan. He says they listed him as Anthony Thomas, and he doesn't know why. Maybe it was a translation thing!

      The name Anthony Slama was probably already being used by one of their Lucha Libre masked wrestlers.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Just got a note from Anthony Slama. He is playing for Mazatlan. He says they listed him as Anthony Thomas, and he doesn't know why. Maybe it was a translation thing!
      im guessing thomas is his middle name , down here in mexico most people have 4 names a 1st , a middle then paternal then finally maternal ,so i think thats why he is listed that way , i will see what i can find out about there schedual and plan a few days to take in some ball , thanks seth for the info
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