The winter league baseball regular seasons have all come to an end, at least in the northern hemisphere. The Dominican, Mexican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues are now all in the playoffs. Those wild Australians are still playing their regular season.

There are several Cincinnati Reds players that have performed quite well. In the Mexican Winter League Sebastian Elizalde took home the batting title, as well as the leagues top mark for on-base percentage. It, however, wasn’t without a little bit of drama and intrigue on the final day. His .380 average was coupled with a .446 on-base percentage and a .524 slugging percentage. The Reds extended a non-roster invitation to spring training to Elizalde for 2018. He hit .277/.329/.377 for Louisville last season in 134 games played.

In the Dominican Winter League it was Jose Siri that stood out. Siri, who racked up a new Midwest League record 39-game hitting streak for the Dayton Dragons in 2017, didn’t see his time for the Gigantes start out on the best of terms. Early in the season he was relegated to being used, almost solely as a pinch runner. As the season went along he began to get a few starts and took full advantage. He would only get about half of a seasons worth of winter league at-bats, 78, but hit an impressive .321/.349/.500 on the season with 11 steals in 29 games played. In the playoffs, through four games, he’s hitting .263 with two home runs.

In Venezuela no Reds players got much playing time. Jose Peraza was scheduled to get regular playing time, but only played in nine games before deciding things weren’t favorable in the situation (re: things in Venezuela are not good, even if you’ve got some money like Jose Peraza does) and exiting the league. Over his nine games played he hit .316 and had as many walks, two, as strikeouts. He would also add in a stolen base for good measure.

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  1. The reports on Elizalde and Siri are encouraging, particularly Siri facing a little adversity and having to be very patient, then capitalizing when he got at bats. The Peraza situation is just strange. I’m a little surprised the Venezualen league is even operating, let alone attracting major league players, and I’m even more surprised that Peraza would have wanted to play and the Reds would allow it (they do have a say in that, right?). Hopefully he’s back in the US somewhere, working out and getting ready for a productive spring. I’ve said before I hope he’s not a Red in 2018 but since it appears he will not just be on the roster but have a starting spot at SS I’ll be rooting hard for him to field well, improve his plate discipline, and tap into at least a little power. Cozart’s 2017 shoes will be hard to fill.

    • For position players, the teams can’t really stop them unless there’s an injury. For pitchers, they can without an injury due to innings and things like that.

      I, too, am surprised the Venezuelan League is happening given everything else going on down there. Peraza, however, wanted to play because he wanted to work on his shortstop defense. I’m sure he was still able to do that, but game action is going to top daily work on a field somewhere else every time.

  2. I have seen Elizalde play, and I am sure he can be a good major league hitter. But he does nothing outstanding, so it is unlikely that he will really get a shot. He has a good eye, a controlled swing and has an idea of what he is trying to do at the plate.
    Very average outfielder.

    • He’s one of those guys where it’s just hard to envision a role. If you’re going to be on a bench, you tend to need to fill one of these roles:

      Strong defender up the middle (be it C/SS/2B/CF). He doesn’t fit this profile.
      Corner guy with power. He doesn’t fit that.
      Speedster for pinch running abilities. He doesn’t fit that.
      Big bat. He doesn’t fit that.

      He’s solid enough at some things, but it’s tough to find a role for a corner guy without power.

    • He’s a guy that I see as very similar to Steve Selsky from a couple years ago. The guy hit at every level, but didn’t display much power and couldn’t play anywhere but corner OF and 1B. Just not a lot of flexibility with that profile. Especially without the use of a DH which would allow a team to carry a more diverse bench.

  3. While I want Peraza to work on his defense, I’d rather he not do it in Venezuela- glad he’s out.

    I know a lot of folks are down on him – I think we’re missing his growth potential. Heck, we were having similar conversations about Suarez a couple years back and who’d run him off now? If he can work to be an above average defender at SS, he’s a huge benefit to this team. If we don’t see that improvement beginning by the end of 2018, then I’ll be concerned.

    The big issue for Peraza is having Hamilton also in the lineup. Two guys with mid-600 ops won’t cut it. But even with these two guys, the 2017 Reds had enough offense to win games. And I think adding Senzel and Winker will be an improvement by the end of 2018 over losing Cozart.

    What Cozart and Suarez proved to me is that Votto can help his teammates drastically improve their performance by learning from his approach. And if they can learn, so can others. I never saw Bruce, Phillips, or Frazier attempt to learn from Votto and I think that’s the culture change that was needed. And, so, can Peraza learn? I think he’s going to get a massive opportunity to prove he can and, if he does, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying that talent in free agency.

    • I agree. I am in no way even close to comparing him to Jose Altuve, repeat NOT comparing him to Altuve, but if you look at Altuves first 2-3 years in the league, lots of promise, but not a lot of production. But he just kept cranking it up each year, and now he’s a stud.

      Again, Peraza is not Altuve, but the line on his bar graph rises the same way perhaps he’ll turn out okay offensively. I remain skeptical about his glove at SS.

    • This team cannot afford both Hamilton and Peraza in the lineup at the same time. I have been hoping for years that Billy would make strides at the plate. He is a fun player to watch and is amazing in CF. Unfortunately, it has not happened. Peraza has looked like an infield version of Hamilton with less speed and sub-par defense.

  4. Siri, Trammell, and Senzel are genuine reasons for optimism for position players.
    Castillo and Mahle and maybe Romano are potential game changers as starters.

    Let 2018 play out and see how the SP sorts itself out with the injuries to Homer and Disco and Finnegan. This should be the final year that Lorenzen’ s role should be debated.

    Peraza gets his opportunity at SS every day. He did not do well in 2017 at 2b- but he is young. Many players his age are top prospects in AA.

    Question for Doug- the Reds don’t seem to be committed to the 5 tool SS. Why can’t Alfredo Rodriguez be a GG caliber 8 hole hitter in 2019 if Peraza can’t play above average defense and hit?

  5. At least there is some winter action with a few players. There is no winter action within the Reds front office.
    The Reds front office offers up merely words. And the fans want actions. A big disconnect with the Reds front office.
    It is front office day today, and the front office saw its shadow. That means 6 more weeks of slumbering Zzzzzzzzzzzzz’s coming.

    • It takes two sides to make a deal. If the organization is out there desperate to make a deal they are putting themselves at a huge disadvantage. We were desperate to unload Chapman after his scandal how did that work out? Williams understands this. He is not out looking to give players away. He is trying to find a fit that will get him the right return.

      • No GM is giving players away, not even in Miami. Granted, they didn’t get back what they should have for Stanton and Ozuna, but they got a few good prospects in return.
        There have been times when the Reds front office has been suspected of over-valuing their own players and then paralyzing their plans. Williams learned from one of the masters of that.
        As Steve Mancuso has pointed out many times in the past, teams are not trading players anymore. Teams are trading players and contracts and years of service time. Maybe that is making the trade market a much more difficult place to conduct business these days. Their are new personnel in many front offices with new philosophies and new business models.

    • Not defending the Reds front-office but this hot-stove session has been more lukewarm-sorta-tepid-kinda-cool-actually-stove, all around MLB.

  6. The front office has made some move. The latest signing another pitcher with small size MLB sample of above 5 ERA & minor league above 4 ERA. But he does have a ground ball rate of 50 – 60 percent.

    • That being said, they signed him to a minor league contract, and he is not on the 40 man roster.
      This is a very low risk (serviceable player at best) mid level reward.

    • Dylan Floro was a reasonable, understandable minor league signing. His consostent ground ball rate gives the Reds something to work from as a potential asset at the major league level and he’s a solid minor league filler as is.

      Now the minor league signing of Philip Gosselin is a pure head-scratcher. After a briefly successful major league debur in 2015 & 2016, Gosselin tanked at both the minor league and major league levels. Maybe there’s something there that can be resurrected, but this looks like a completely useless signing. His defensive utility is even redundant where the Reds already have excessive surplus.

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