Here is a round-up of some of the performances by Mets farmhands in the Caribbean Winter Leagues:
- 24-year-old OF Pedro Zapata has had a strong winter for Los Tigres de Licey in the Dominican League, hitting .302 with ten RBI in 86 at bats. He hit .292 with three home runs and 42 RBI in 117 games with Single-A St. Lucie in 2011.
- IF Jordany Valdespin has struggled this winter, hitting just .222 in 63 at bats for Los Tigres de Licey. He had a strong season in the minor leagues in 2011, hitting a combined .294 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI in 134 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A St. Lucie.
- OF Fernando Martinez, now 23, is healthy but struggling for Los Leones de Escogido, having just one hit in 15 at bats this winter. He hit .260 with eight home runs and 30 RBI in just 63 games for Triple-A Buffalo in 2011.
- 23-year-old RHP Armando Rodriguez is off to a good start this winter for Los Leones, posting a 3.12 ERA with nine strikeouts in his first 8 2/3 relief innings. He went 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 16 starts for Single-A St. Lucie in 2011.
- 25-year-old RHP Rhiner Cruz is having a strong winter campaign with Los Gigantes del Cibao, allowing just two runs in nine relief innings. Cruz went 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA in a combined 44 games between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2011.
- 21-year-old RHP Marcos Camarena has allowed four walks in 6 2/3 relief innings for Los Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican League, but has held opponents to just .130 average and posted a 1.35 ERA in five games. Camarena went 3-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 13 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2011.
- Juan Carlos Gamboa, a 20-year-old prospect who saw limited action with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2011, is having a strong winter for Los Caneros de Los Mochis, hitting .284 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 102 at bats.
- 31-year-old Vinny Rottino, who was signed by the Mets last week, is hitting .266 with one home run and 19 RBI in 134 at-bats for Los Tigres de Aragua in the Puerto Rican League.
- In nine games and seven starts for Los Leones del Caracas, RHP Dylan Owen is 2-3 with a 1.73 ERA in 41 2/3 innings, walking 10 and striking out 39. Owen went a combined 7-8 with a 4.42 ERA in 29 games and 21 starts for Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo in 2011.
- Lastly, IF prospect Wilmer Flores has struggled this winter, making his first appearance in over a week yesterday for Los Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan League and going 0 for 4 in that contest. He’s hitting just .188 with three RBI and 15 strikeouts in 22 games this winter. Flores, 20, hit .269 with nine home runs and 81 RBI in 133 games for Single-A St. Lucie in 2011. He was recently added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft in December.
Michael Baron: Flores is very strong and tall as he towers over most of his teammates. He has good gap-to-gap power but he has yet to develop the consistent home run power many people believe he eventually will have. Generally, Flores hasn’t hit for high average while in the minors and in 2011 he saw his extra base hit numbers decrease substantially from 2010. Flores didn’t have an eye-popping season and his performance this winter is concerning as well. In talking to him, Flores is aware of the comparisons to Miguel Cabrera as well as the buzz he will eventually change positions, and while he says he’s comfortable with playing another position, he’s still just 20 years old and this kind of talk could be weighing on him to a degree.