It seems like there are almost as many Winter Leagues as there are countries in the Caribbean, and it can be fairly overwhelming to figure out who is doing what, where, and what it all means. I gave you a link on Friday, and I’ll repeat it today. That takes care of who and where, at least for the Cubs. As for what it all means? In a nutshell, not much. The quality of play in the various Winter Leagues is all over the map, and drawing generalizations is dangerous. But it is January, and not much is happening in the world of baseball, let alone the minor leagues, so I’m going to dive into the numbers anyway. Today I’ll look at the pitchers in the Cubs organization, and two of them stand out.
We’ve talked about Austin Bibens-Dirkx before, but he deserves some mention here. Austin is in Venezuela pitching for the first place team. In seven starts, his line looks like this. W-2, L-2, ERA 1.60, AVG against .203. I don’t know about you, but if any of the Cubs starters had an ERA of 1.60 over seven starts, I’d be thrilled. That’s not to say that Austin is major league ready, but his good showing in the minors last season combined with his performance in Venezuela certainly establishes him as a player to watch going into spring training and through 2011.
The other pitcher to note this winter is Marco Carrillo. Carrillo has been in the Cubs system for quite a few years now, and in the past couple of years has suddenly jumped into the upper reaches of the system. Despite starting in Daytona last year, Carrillo ended the year pitching for Iowa. That’s not a bad year. In Mexico this winter, he has continued his success across nine starts. Averaging about a strike out an inning alongside half that in walks, he has put up a respectable ERA of 4.07. Like Bibens-Dirkx, I think that Carrillo has earned a hard look in spring training, though he is a long shot to break camp with the team.
There are other good stories from the Winter Leagues, Marcos Mateo and Eduardo Figueroa among them, and I may take some time later on to look at those. But with spring training just around the corner, I think Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Marco Carrillo are two names worth highlighting today to keep an eye on next month.