LBPRC: Ruben Ramirez Stellar on Mound; Criollos de Caguas Celebrate Dominican Culture  

(Source: Liga de Profesional Roberto Clemente)

By Conor Liguori  

For most of the season, the Cangrejeros de Santurce have remained in first place in the Liga de Profesional Roberto Clemente standings. Santurce has won four of their last five games heading into their Thursday night matchup with the second-place Criollos de Caguas.  

Will the Criollos de Caguas reclaim first place from the Cangrejeros de Santurce? Can the last-place Indios de Mayaguez make a late-season push? As the rest of the LBPRC season unfolds, these questions will soon have answers. Before looking toward the future, let’s look at the top performers and the latest news from this past week in Puerto Rico’s top professional baseball league.  

Top Performers 

Ruben Ramirez, SP- RA 12  

Although he does not record many strikeouts, Ramirez has been one of the better LPBRC pitchers this winter. The 25-year-old allowed just one earned run on four hits in seven innings in a 3-1 win against the Leones de Ponce on December 7.  

Ramirez has a 4-1 record with a minuscule 1.27 ERA in seven starts this season for the RA 12 despite only averaging 4.2 strikeouts per nine innings.  

Jack Lopez, INF- Cangrejeros de Santurce  

Infielder Jack Lopez has been an exceptional everyday player this season for the Cangrejeros de Santurce, and he showcased his abilities on December 7 in a 2-1 win against the Indios de Mayaguez.  

Lopez went three for four in the contest with three singles. Lopez is hitting .279 on the season with 11 RBI and four RBI. He does not hit many home runs, with just one in 96 plate appearances this LBPRC season, but he hit a career-high 13 in 2023 with Triple-A Salt Lake, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.  

Dwight Smith Jr., OF- Criollos de Caguas  

Smith had been struggling at the plate for Caguas before going two for four with two RBI and one walk in a 7-2 win against the Indios de Mayaguez on December 10. He hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead to 7-2 and added a double in a previous at bat.  

Smith played in Major League Baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles from 2017-20 and had a .726 OPS with 17 home runs in 169 games. This season is his first in Puerto Rico.  

Off the Field  

Cangrejeros de Santurce and RA 12 Make Trade- On December 7, the Cangrejeros de Santurce traded pitcher Joseph Montalvo to the RA 12 in exchange for infielder Abdiel Layer.  

Montalvo, 21, is a member of the Texas Rangers organization and played the 2023 season with the Down East Wood Ducks, the Single-A affiliate of the Rangers. He posted a 2.83 ERA with 107 strikeouts in 17 starts (95.1 IP).  

Layer, 25, primarily plays shortstop and was hitting .196 with a .408 OPS before being sent to the RA 12 last week. He hit .259 with one home run in eight games for the ACL Giants Orange in the Arizona Complex League in 2023 and has reached as high as High-A in the San Francisco Giants minor league system.  

Criollos de Caguas Host Noche Dominicana- The Criollos de Caguas held Noche Dominicana on December 14 for their game against the Cangrejeros de Santurce in celebration of Dominican culture and its influence in Puerto Rico.  

“Come join us to highlight and celebrate the contribution of the Dominican community and the people of Caguas in our Puerto Rican society,” the team stated on their official Instagram page.  

Four Criollos de Caguas pitchers are from the Dominican Republic, including Ricardo Gomez, Henry Henry, Wilkin Ramos, and Leonardo Taveras.  

Current Standings as of December 13  

1. Cangrejeros de Santurce– 18-9  

2. Criollos de Caguas– 17-10 

3. Gigantes de Carolina– 16-10 

4. Leones de Ponce– 13-14  

5. RA 12– 9-17 

6. Indios de Mayagüez– 7-20  

Game Schedule for the Following Three Days  

Thursday, December 14  

6:10 p.m. ET- Cangrejeros de Santurce vs. Criollos de Caguas  

6:10 p.m. ET- Indios de Mayaguez vs. RA 12  

6:10 p.m. ET- Leones de Ponce vs. Gigantes de Carolina  

Friday, December 15  

6:45 p.m. ET- Criollos de Caguas vs. RA 12  

6:45 p.m. ET- Cangrejeros de Santurce vs. Leones de Ponce  

6:45 p.m. ET- Gigantes de Carolina vs. Indios de Mayaguez  

Saturday, December 16  

6:45 p.m. ET- Criollos de Caguas vs. Indios de Mayaguez  

6:45 p.m. ET- Leones de Ponce vs. Cangrejeros de Santurce  

6:45 p.m. ET- RA 12 vs. Gigantes de Carolina  

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