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Utah ballplayers in the 2014 Caribbean Leagues: Dominican Winter League

Jeremy Berg, Salt Lake Bees 2013
Anita Y. Tsuchiya | sabakuINK

The Caribbean Leagues offer an off-season venue for professional ballplayers, primarily minor leaguers, seeking more playing time and exposure. Winter league rosters don’t have the maximum player limits used in major league baseball and are very fluid. Players join and leave the team throughout the season; most play for a team for a couple of months.

The leagues consist of four separate leagues: Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican League, Venezuelan Winter League and Dominican Winter League. The regular season runs from mid-October to late December, followed by individual league playoffs through January. The winter leagues end with the Caribbean Series championship which begins in early February. This year’s Caribbean Series will hosted by Venezuela, in Estadio Guatamare on the island of Margarita.

Here is a list of ballplayers (and a manager or two) who spent some time in a Utah uniform and are currently participating in the Dominican Winter League. You can view their current stats by following the team link and clicking on each ballplayer’s name.

Aguilas Cibaenas

  • Barrett Browning (Orem Owlz 2006, Salt Lake Bees 2010-11)
  • Andy Marte (Salt Lake Bees 2013)
  • Dustin Richardson (Salt Lake Bees 2013)

Marte joined the Bees late in the season and made an immediate impact with his bat. He also showed all-out hustle when he crash landed at home plate and scored the game-winning run during game two of the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, Marte injured his shoulder on the play and finished the postseason on the DL.

Estrellas de Oriente

  • Dino Ebel (Manager, Salt Lake Stingers 2005)
  • Greg Smith (Salt Lake Bees 2012)
  • Jailen Peguero (Salt Lake Bees 2009)
  • Alberto Rosario (Orem Owlz 2008, Salt Lake Bees 2008/2012)

Ebel started the season managing the Estrellas de Oriente. According to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, Ebel was replaced by Bobby Magallanes after a 6-12 start.

Gigantes del Cibao

  • Robinzon Diaz (Salt Lake Bees 2012)
  • Carlos Frias (Ogden Raptors 2009-10/2012)

Leones del Escogido

  • Jeremy Berg (Orem Owlz 2009, Salt Lake Bees 2011-13)
  • Jarrett Grube (Salt Lake Bees 2013)
  • C. J. Cron (Orem Owlz 2011)

Berg was the go-to man in the Bees’ bullpen in 2013, pitching long relief, middle relief and setup -- whatever was needed. He finished the season with a 2.71 ERA and the most innings pitched (76.1 IP) by a pitcher without a start in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Berg is expected to pitch for Salt Lake in 2014

Grube finished the year with 21 GS and 108.2 IP, third most among Bees pitchers. His 104 SO were second only to Matt Shoemaker, and his 4.47 ERA was the lowest in the starting rotation. But perhaps his greatest accomplishment of the season was a complete-game, two-hit shutout during the PCL Championship Series. Grube has pitched very well for the Leones: 0.98 ERA, 6 G, 27.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 HR , 6 BB, 22 SO, 0.94 WHIP, .202 BAA. Grube re-signed with the Los Angeles Angels this winter and will likely be in the starting rotation for the Bees in 2014.

Tigres de Licey

  • Ariel Pena (Salt Lake Bees 2011)
  • Dee Gordon (Ogden Raptors 2008)

Toros del Este

  • Fabio Martinez (Orem Owlz 2009)
  • Mitch Talbot (Canyon View High School 1999-2002)
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