Giants’ slugger Rixon Wingrove can add “scout” or maybe even “assistant to the General Manager” to his growing list of accolades. He’s the one who helped lock down the Giants’ newest import signing.
During the recent 2022 American baseball league season, Wingrove was in New York watching former Adelaide teammate and current MLB player Luke Williams play Triple-A baseball.

They met up with one of Williams’ old pals, Luis Aviles Jr – a shortstop with extensive Triple-A experience – after the game.

“Rixon Wingrove came to one of my games with Luke and after he came up and started talking to me about the Australian Baseball League,” says Aviles Jr. “I thought: ‘Huh! This sounds really interesting!’ and that was how the conversation started.”

Rixon apparently made a great pitch to Aviles Jr.

It’s a good thing they had the conversation because Aviles Jr brings some serious talent to West Beach. He is just one level below MLB, after all.

The 27-year-old Cuban infielder is a current Miami Marlins prospect and has played nine minor league seasons, splitting time with Miami, Milwaukee and the LA Angels. He spent last season with the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate.

He was a minor league All-Star in Double-A in 2019 with the Brewers.

“Any time you get a chance to add a player of Luis’ calibre to your roster you do it,” says Giants’ General Manager Nathan Davison. “He fits in well with what we are trying to do here. He’s an experienced, super capable infielder, with a big bat.”

The versatility fits in with other players on the Giants’ roster. It will allow the team to have flexibility in how it presents a line-up both defensively and offensively.

Aviles can play second base, third base, shortstop and outfield. In his 2022 minor league season, he had 14 homers, 46 runs batted in, a solid OPS of .756, and 14 stolen bases. He has 164 stolen bases in 803 minor league games. Plus-size speed, above average power, contact hitting and a .950 fielding percentage.

“I consider myself a good defender. I can play multiple positions. Right now, I can hit for power, I got some speed, and I have great arm,” he says. “I can bring a lot to the table to help out a team anyway they need me. Hitting, baserunning, defensively. I really feel like I can help out a team a lot and that’s what I want to do.”

Aviles moved from Cuba to the USA when he was 12 to pursue his baseball dream. It’s evident from your first conversation that he loves to play the game hard and with infectious enthusiasm.

“It’s a kids game! That’s what we have to remember. Whether things are good or bad you have to go out there and smile and have fun and enjoy the game,” he says. “But anytime I’m in those white lines I compete. You’re going to see me play hard and giving 100% wherever the team needs me.”

That was part of the appeal of deciding to come to Australia – to go to a new place and have fun playing a game. Aviles Jr also says time in Australia can help move him closer to fulfilling his big league dream.

“I just love playing baseball man, I want to stay out there on the field as much I can in a year. I want to spend more times seeing different pitchers and being on-base,” he says. “I’m excited to see what baseball is like on the other side of the world. The reputation of the baseball league is improving so much – I feel like it will be come to play baseball especially for a special team that’s right on the beach like the Giants.”

Aviles Jr has also played Winterball in the past in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Around the diamond, Aviles says he has all the time in the world for the fans and especially the kids that come to the game.

“The kids are the future of the game! I love to chat baseball, sign autographs, and play catch. It’s a kids game,” he says.

Make sure you say high to Luis at our first home games of the year from November 24-27. Some dates in our VIP sections are sold out.