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LIDOM: Tatis Jr. Playing 20 Games With Estrellas; De La Cruz, Mauricio Coming to Licey

 Leif Skodnick  |    Nov 24th, 2023 5:21pm EST

Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres will play for the Estrellas Orientales in LIDOM this winter. (Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network

Fernando Tatis Jr. will play with Estrellas Orientales in LIDOM and will be allowed to play 20 games for them.

Fernando Tatis Sr. manages Estrellas Orientales, and said Tatis Jr. will play shortstop this winter starting November 22, Hector Gomez of Dominican radio station Z101 reported.

The older Tatis is a former big leaguer, and the only Major League Baseball player to hit two grand slams in one inning. He played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues, debuting in 1997 with the Texas Rangers and ending his career with the New York Mets in 2010.

Fernando Tatis Jr. had a breakout season in right field, winning the Gold Glove with the San Diego Padres. Tatis Jr. threw out 12 runners and saved 18 runs in 139 games in the outfield last season. He came up as a shortstop and had his first outfield action in 2021, playing 24 games on the grass. He played 242 games at shortstop from 2019-21.

He missed the 2022 season due to suspension for performance enhancing drugs and injury. Last season, Tatis Jr. hit 25 home runs, 78 RBI, and 29 stolen bases, with an OPS of .770. Tatis Jr. has one All-Star appearance and has two Silver Sluggers in his MLB career. His career numbers are 106 home runs, 273 RBI, 81 stolen bases, and an OPS of .896. 

Tatis Jr. last played for Estrellas Orientals in 2019. He hit three home runs and drove in eight runs in 80 at-bats. That was his only action in LIDOM. Tatis Jr. is expected to play for Estrellas Orientales in the first week of December. 

De La Cruz, Mauricio Coming to Licey – On November 7, the General Manager of the Tigres del Licey, Audo Vicente, said that Elly de La Cruz will join the club in the first week of December.

The Cincinnati Reds shortstop also played for the Tigres del Licey in LIDOM last winter. In 24 games, Cruz hit one home run, drove in 14 runs, and stole nine bases for Licey. De La Cruz was an MLB rookie this past season and broke a record for the fastest throw by an infielder with a 99.8 mph rocket to throw out a runner against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 20. Cruz hit 13 home runs in 388 at-bats and stole 35 bases, posting an OPS of .710.

Vicente also announced that New York Mets infielder Ronny Mauricio will rejoin the Tigres del Licey in the upcoming days. Mauricio was named the LIDOM MVP last winter, and has played three winters for the Tigres del Licey. He had five home runs, 31 RBI, 10 stolen bases, and an OPS of .803. Last season he made his MLB debut with the Mets. He had two home runs, nine RBI, and seven stolen bases in 101 at-bats for the Mets. Last season he had 23 home runs and an OPS of .852, with the Mets Triple-A affiliate the Syracuse Mets.

Notable Performances – Right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino of the Toros del Este leads LIDOM with an ERA of 0.94 and 28 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. Espino was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 2006 MLB draft, but didn’t make his MLB debut until 2017 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s spent most of his five-year MLB career with the Washington Nationals and made three appearances with the Nationals last season. He has pitched 257 MLB innings with an ERA of 5.01. 

Dominican infielder Starlin Castro continues a strong winter for Aguilas Cibaenas, leading LIDOM with a .351 batting average. He has two home runs, 14 RBI, and an OPS of .940 in 77 at-bats. Castro played 12 seasons in MLB from 2010-2021. He debuted with the Chicago Cubs and played for the New York Yankees, Miami Marlins, and the Washington Nationals. Castro was suspended by MLB in 2021, due to a domestic violence incident. He is eligible to return to MLB, but he remains a free agent. Castro is a 4-time All-Star and has hit 138 home runs, stole 89 bases, and has an OPS of .732 in his MLB career.

Leones del Escogido designated hitter and outfielder Franmil Reyes leads the league in home runs with five and RBI with 21. Reyes has now played five winter seasons with Leones del Escogido. Reyes made his MLB debut with the San Diego Padres in 2018, and was traded by the Padres to the Cleveland Indians in 2019 in a three-team deal with the Cincinnati Reds. The Padres received minor league infielder Taylor Trammell from the Reds. The Reds acquired Trevor Bauer from the Indians. The Indians also received right-handed pitcher Logan Allen, and outfielder Victor Nova, from the Padres and outfielder Yasiel Puig, and left-handed pitcher Scott Moss from the Reds. 

Reyes played with the Guardians from 2019-22, and also played 48 games with the Cubs in 2022. He last played in MLB with the Kansas City Royals in 2023. Reyes has 108 MLB home runs with an OPS of .775. Reyes is currently an MLB-free agent.

Gigantes del Cibao infielder Noelvi Marte made his LIDOM season debut on November 21. He has played two games in LIDOM, going 4-for-8 with two RBI. Marte also played with Gigantes del Cibao in the 2021-22 LIDOM season. He played six games with an OPS of .775 that season. Marte, born in Couti, Dominican Republic, was signed by the Seattle Mariners, as an international free agent in 2018. 

Marte was traded to the Reds on July 29, for starting pitcher Luis Castillo. The Mariners also traded prospects shortstop Edwin Arroyo, right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore, and right-handed pitcher Levi Stoudt to the Reds. Marte has played in the Minor Leagues for four seasons from 2019-2023. He has 56 home runs, 238 RBI, 82 stolen bases, and an OPS of .833. He made his MLB debut with the Reds in 2023 and played 35 games. He hit three home runs, drove in 15 runs, stole eight bases, and had an OPS of .822. Marte is the Reds top ranked prospect, and 23rd in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 rankings. 

The Aguilas Cibaeñas will play the Gigantes del Cibao at 6 p.m EST on November 24, the Estrellas Orientales will play Tigres del Licey at 6:30 p.m EST, and the Leones del Escogido will play the Toros del Este at 6:30 p.m. EST.

LIDOM Standings 
1. Gigantes del Cibao – 16-9
2. Estrellas Orientales – 14-12
3. Tigres del Licey – 13-12
4. Leones del Escogido – 13-14
5. Toros de Este – 12-14
6. Aguilas Cibaenas – 8-15

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Leif Skodnick