There are myriad reasons that players participate in foreign baseball leagues during the winter time. Many return to their home countries after the regular season and are eager for an opportunity to suit up for the teams they grew up watching. Some players head to winter ball to get extra reps if they missed time with an injury during their regular season in MLB-affiliated ball, or if they had a down year performance-wise and are trying to get back on track. Others still are simply looking for an extra paycheck to help supplement the generally poverty-level wages that they earn playing minor league ball in the States.
According to MLB.com’s offseason league stats, the Milwaukee Brewers have 15 players currently in the organization that participated in the various foreign winter leagues during the 2018-19 MLB offseason. That’s quite a bit fewer than last offseason, but now that these leagues have wrapped up with Spring Training beginning tomorrow, let’s take a look at how those players fared this past winter:
2018-19 Winter Ball – Hitters
|Stokes Jr., Troy||ARA||LVBP||0.298||28||94||21||28||2||0||4||12||13||18||7||0||0.391||0.447||0.838|
2018-19 Winter Ball – Pitchers
Now to highlight some of the notable successes:
C Alex Hall (Perth Heat)
Hall, 19, put up a .712 OPS with a pair of homers in 27 Arizona League games during his first year in the Brewers’ organization, then he returned to his home country of Australia for his third season with Perth. His .937 OPS was 11th-best on the circuit and his 6 homers were tied for ninth-most. He was tied for second in the league with 11 doubles and was third with 37 RBI. The athletic young catcher even stole four bases, to boot.
SS Orlando Arcia (Caribes de Anzoategui)
After posting one of the worst overall batting seasons of any player in the big leagues, Arcia went back to his native Venezuela looking for some more consistency at the plate. He might’ve found it, building on a strong performance in the MLB playoffs by collecting 24 hits in 72 LVBP at-bats. He didn’t hit for a ton of power, but he did do something he hasn’t done a ton of at the big league level – draw free passes, of which he collected 10. He only whiffed five times.
OF Troy Stokes (Tigres de Aragua)
Stokes has broken out a bit as a power-speed outfield in the mid-minors the last two seasons, and was rewarded with a 40 man roster spot after posting a 121 wRC+ with 19 homers and 19 steals for AA Biloxi in 2018. He played winter ball for the first time in his career this offseason and thrived in the LVBP, again showing off tantalizing offensive tools with four homers and seven stolen bags in 28 games.
RHP Deolis Guerra (Navegantes del Magallanes)
Guerra is a veteran of parts of three MLB seasons, but didn’t pitch at the game’s highest level in 2018 as a member of the Rangers’ organization. He was among LVBP leaders this winter with 27 appearances, though, and was one of the top relievers on the circuit with a sparkling 1.57 ERA. He’ll be a non-roster invitee to camp with Milwaukee this spring and hoping to win a spot in the bullpen.
Statistics courtesy of MLB.com