Over the weekend the winter leagues got started in both Mexico and in the Dominican Republic. Each year fall and winter leagues are played around the world. There are leagues in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Australia. Each league has plenty of affiliated players, and even some Major Leaguers that will play there.
The Dominican Winter League is the premiere league when it comes to big leaguers playing. Outside of America, the Dominican Republic has the largest representation of players in Major League Baseball. It’s not usual for those guys who a current Major Leaguers to play in the league from the start of the year until the end. Those guys will usually join their teams later in the year, and then play in the playoffs and Caribbean Series if the team advances.
The rosters are much like they are in the Major Leagues – constantly changing. The rosters today won’t be the same as they are in two weeks. Some guys will come on board, and others will be sent out. With that said, here’s the current Cincinnati Reds players that are on the rosters of a team in the Dominican Winter League on opening day:
- Keury Mella | RHP | Toros del Este
- Jesus Reyes | RHP | Gigantes del Cibao
- Alfredo Rodriguez | Shortstop | Estrellas de Orientales
It’s not exactly loaded with Cincinnati players right now. Last year Aristides Aquino saw time in the league with the Tigres del Licey. Brian O’Grady saw some action in both the Dominican Winter League and the Mexican Winter League. Prospects Jose Siri, Luis Gonzalez, and Randy Ventura also saw action in the league last season.
Keury Mella is the only player on the 40-man roster that’s currently active in a winter league. That probably won’t remain true for very long, but it is right now. Jesus Reyes began 2019 on the 40-man, but he was outrighted to Triple-A in July. Alfredo Rodriguez will need to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, if the Reds think someone will select him (this would be very surprising to me – but no one pays me to tell teams what they should/shouldn’t do, either).
The Mexican Winter League isn’t as prestigious as the one in the Dominican, but there’s plenty of talent in the league. There just aren’t as many Major Leaguers that make their way into the league – but it’s got plenty of upper minor league level caliber guys. There are currently only three Reds players on the rosters throughout the league – all pitchers.
- Alex Powers | RHP | Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Adrian Rodriguez | RHP | Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Carlos Machorro | RHP | Yaquis de Obregon
Last season there were only three guys from the organization that played in the league – Adrian Rodriguez and Carlos Machorro on the mound, and Brian O’Grady in the field. It is worth noting, though, that prospect Rafael Franco was playing with Aguilas de Mexicali when they played some “pre-season” games during the Arizona Fall League in late September. Right-handed pitcher Jefferson Lopez, who only pitched in two games in the regular season for the AZL Reds also played in one of those “pre-season” games in the Arizona Fall League. He was on Naranjeros de Hermosillo. Neither is currently on the active roster of those respective teams.
None of the other leagues have begun play yet. The next league that will get started is in Puerto Rico, and it won’t start for another month. It begins on November 15th. Not even a week later the Australian Winter League will begin on November 21st.
The Venezuelan Winter League may not happen this year. But if it does there will not be any affiliated players in the league. As reported by Jeff Passan at the end of August, players have been banned from playing in the league due to an embargo by the United States against Venezuela.
If you are interested in keeping up with how everyone is performing in the various fall/winter leagues – here’s the stat tracker page for the Cincinnati Reds organization.