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LBPRC: A Look At MLB-Connected Players Playing In Puerto Rico This Winter

 Leif Skodnick  |    Oct 27th, 2023 11:57am EDT

Manager Yadier Molina #4 of Puerto Rico looks on during an exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park on March 09, 2023 in North Port, Florida. Molina will manage the Criollos de Caguas in the Liga Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente this winter. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network

The Liga Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente will begin its 86th season when the Gigantes de Carolina and the Indios de Mayaguez square off on November 3 at Isidoro Garcia Baseball Stadium in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. 

Multiple Major Leaguers and MLB prospects will play in the LBPRC this season, and the league’s games are streamed on Stretch Live via the following link:  https://portal.stretchinternet.com/ligapr/

Indios de Mayaguez

The Indios de Mayaguez are the defending champions after they beat Gigantes de Carolina four-three in a seven-game series, and represented Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series in Caracas, Venezuela.

Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Emmanuel Rivera has helped lead the Diamondbacks to the World Series against the Texas Rangers. Rivera was drafted in the 19th round of the MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals and was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2022. This season, he had four home runs and 29 RBI in 86 games.

First baseman Danny Ortiz was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies and got one hit in 12 at-bats in 2017. Ortiz never played in MLB again, and hit five home runs with 21 RBI in 186 at-bats with Indios de Mayaguez last winter.

Criollos de Caguas

The Criollos de Caguas will be managed by Yadier Molina, a legendary Puerto Rican catcher who retired as a St. Louis Cardinal after the 2022 season. Molina played 19 Major League seasons, won nine gold gloves and two World Series. Molina also managed Puerto Rico in the 2023 WBC. 

Boston Red Sox outfielder Rafala Ceddanne made his MLB debut this season and is the Red Sox third-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. Ceddanne ranks 72nd in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects, and he hit two home runs, and collected five RBI in 83 MLB at bats. Ceddanne signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2017.

Texas Rangers right-handed pitching Cole Winn was the Rangers first-round draft pick in 2018. Winn is the Rangers 28th ranked prospect, and he posted a 7.40 ERA over seven in 101 innings this season with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. His career stats in the minors are 377 innings pitched, 392 strikeouts, and an ERA of 5.39.

Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Bowden Francis threw 35 innings and struck out 36 batters this past season. The rookie posted an ERA of 1.73 and became a reliable arm in the Blue Jays bullpen.  Francis was drafted in the 18th round in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. His brother Harrison Francis will join him with Indios de Mayaguez, and was also drafted by the Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft.

Cangrejeros de Santurce

Outfielder Albert Almora Jr. was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the MLB Draft. Alomora Jr. won the World Series with the Cubs in 2016 and has played seven seasons in MLB. He missed last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Almora Jr has 33 home runs, 163 RBI, and seven stolen bases in 1,491 MLB at-bats.

Infielder Pablo Sandoval signed as an International free agent with the San Francisco Giants in 2002. He made his MLB debut in 2008 and played with the Giants for seven seasons. Sandoval won three World Series with the Giants and was the World Series MVP in 2012. He was a two-time All-Star and had 153 home runs in 4,609 MLB at-bats. 

Gigantes de Carolina

Right-handed pitcher Jose Espada was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round of the MLB draft. Espada made his MLB debut with the San Diego Padres this season, pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Espada pitched 22 innings with Gigantes de Carolina last winter and struck out 33 batters with an ERA of 3.27. He also pitched a scoreless inning in the Caribbean Series for Puerto Rico. 

St. Louis Cardinals infield prospect Dalvin Perez was a first-round pick in 2016. Perez has hit 13 home runs and stole 101 bases in his seven-year minor league career. Perez had two home runs, seven RBI and three stolen bases in 111 at-bats for Gigantes de Carolina last winter. 

Leones de Ponce

Left handed-pitcher Hector Santiago played 10 seasons in the MLB and last pitched with the Seattle Mariners in 2021. His career numbers are 947 innings pitched, 856 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.12. Santiago will make his debut with Leones de Ponce, after pitching for Gigantes de Carolina last winter. 

Colorado Rockies second-ranked prospect outfielder Yanquie Fernandez played for the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, the Hartford Yard Goats, last season, hitting eight home runs and 25 RBI in 218 at-bats. He signed with the Rockies as an international free agent in 2019.

Colorado Rockies outfield prospect Zac Veen is their No. 5 prospect. Veen was their first-round draft pick in 2020. Veen played for Double-A Hartford Yard Goats last season, getting only 172 at-bats due to season-ending wrist surgery. He had two home runs, 22 RBI and 22 stolen bases.

RA 12

Right-handed pitcher Ruben Ramirez signed a Minor League contract with the Royals in 2021. He made it to their Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers, that same season. His minor league numbers are 43 innings pitched, 44 strikeouts and an ERA of 7.53. He led the Puerto Rican winter league with an ERA of 0.79 in 49 innings with RA 12 last winter.

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Leif Skodnick