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Winter Leagues in Colombia, Nicaragua Start November 3; MLBer Ramirez, Prospects Playing

 Leif Skodnick  |    Nov 3rd, 2023 7:50am EDT

Jax Biggers and Harold Ramirez will play in the Liga Beisbol Profesional Colombiano this winter. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

Two more winter leagues, the Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombiano and Liga de Beisbol Profesional Nacional are set to begin their 2023-24 season on Friday, November 3.

This season will be the 75th year of professional winter league baseball in Colombia and the 19th season for the Nicaraguan Professional Baseball League since it was re-established in 2004.  

Before each winter league season gets underway, let’s take a look at former and current Major League Baseball players and prospects who are going to play in Colombia and Nicaragua this winter.  

Liga Profesional de Béisbol Colombiano  

The 2023-24 Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombiano season will begin on Friday, November 3, with a matchup between the Tigres de Cartagena and the Caimanes de Barranquilla, as well as a matchup between the defending champions, the Vaqueros de Monteria and the Leones de Santa Marta. Both contests are scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.  

To watch Major League Baseball-affiliated players participate in the 2023-24 Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombiano season, you can head to the LBPC Facebook or YouTube pages, which stream select LBPC games, including the playoffs.  

Jax Biggers, 2B – Caimanes de Barranquilla 

Jax Biggers is a second baseman in the Texas Rangers organization and split the 2023 season between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock. He was selected in the eighth round of the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Arkansas. Biggers played 34 games with the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Professional Baseball League during the 2022-23 season and hit .278 with 14 RBI. The 2023-24 season will be his first with the Caimanes de Barranquilla.  

Francisco Acuna, SS – Vaqueros de Monteria

Francisco Acuna is a shortstop in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and played 52 games in 2023 between Low-A Bradenton, High-A Greensboro, and Triple-A Indianapolis. In 192 plate appearances, he hit .255 with 15 RBI and six stolen bases. The 2023-24 Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombiano season will be his second stint with Vaqueros de Monteria after playing 49 games with the team during the 2022-23 season. At just 150 pounds, Acuna is quick on his feet and has swiped 48 bags in 62 career stolen base attempts. He hit four home runs and posted a .775 OPS with Vaqueros last season.

Harold Ramirez, OF – Caimanes de Barranquilla  

Harold Ramirez is an outfielder and first baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball. He had a career-high .313 batting average and 12 home runs in 2023. Ramirez provides experience and veteran leadership for Caimanes de Barranquilla, having played 62 combined games with the team during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. Playing for Colombia in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Ramirez hit just .133 in 15 at-bats.  

Additional Notable MLB Players That Have Played in Liga Profesional de Béisbol Colombiano  

Oscar Mercado, CF – Cleveland Guardians, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals (2019-Present)  

Gio Urshela, 3B – Cleveland Guardians, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels (2015-Present)  

Dilson Herrera, 2B – New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles (2014-15, 2018, 2020)  

Liga de Beisbol Profesional Nacional 

The 2023-24 Liga de Beisbol Profesional Nacional season will begin on Friday, November 3. On opening day, the Gigantes de Rivas will take on the Indios de Boer, and the Tren del Norte will face off against Leones de Leon. Both games are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.  

To watch former and current Major League Baseball affiliated players participate throughout the Lida de Bisbol Profesional Nacional season, the Canal 4 Nicaragua Facebook and YouTube pages stream select LBPN games.  

Roger Bernadina, OF – Leones de Leon  

Roger Bernandina spent seven years in Major League Baseball with the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Los Angeles Dodgers. He had 312 hits and a .236 batting average in 548 career MLB games. Bernadina returned to the Leones after spending the 2021-22 and 2022-23 LBPN seasons with the club. The outfielder is 39 years old and has played professional baseball in China, Korea, and Mexico.  

Willy Garcia, OF – Leones de Leon  

Willy Garcia spent eight seasons in minor league baseball before making his MLB debut in April 2017. The Chicago White Sox promoted Garcia to Major League Baseball after he hit .286 with five home runs and 20 RBI in the first 31 games of the 2017 season with Triple-A Charlotte. In 44 games with the White Sox, Garcia hit .238 with two home runs in 119 plate appearances. During the 2022-23 Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombiano season with Vaqueros de Monteria, Garcia managed just five hits in 36 plate appearances.  

Duque Hebbert, P – Tren Del Norte 

Pitcher Duque Hebbert of the Detroit Tigers is not a top 30 prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization, but he created quite a buzz at the 2023 World Baseball Classic for Nicaragua. The 22-year-old struck out MLB superstars Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Rafael Devers in order in the ninth inning of Nicaragua’s 6-1 loss against the Dominican Republic. Detroit signed him to a minor league contract following the game, and the 2023-24 LBPN season will be his second with Tren Del Norte. Hebbert has 59 career strikeouts in 57.1 innings in professional baseball.  

Additional Notable MLB Players That Have Played in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Nacional  

Frankie De La Cruz, P – Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers (2007-11)  

Wilton Lopez, P – Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies (2009-14) 

Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B – Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox (2015-20) 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story indicated Jordan Diaz, who plays in Major League Baseball with the Oakland A’s, would be playing in Colombia with the Vaqueros de Monteria again this winter. The information was sourced from an Instagram post made by the Vaqueros, who have since deleted that post.