While Vladimir Gutierrez had to wait a week-and-a-half longer to make his 2020 Dominican Winter League debut after his team, Licey, had a COVID-19 outbreak that kept them off of the field. Gutierrez, who was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for stanozolol during spring training, served 60 games of his suspension in 2020, and as such was unable to participate in the Cincinnati Reds alternate site or potentially being in the big leagues. He did pitch in instructional league earlier this fall so he could get some innings in after missing the year.
The right-handed starter dominated on Monday night for the Tigres. Gutierrez gave up a leadoff single to former minor league teammate Jose Siri, the Cuban pitcher settled in and allowed just one more hit over 4.0 innings. He mixed in his breaking ball with his fastball en route to striking out seven batters without allowing a walk or a run before exiting the game with a 7-0 lead.
Vladimir Gutierrez had everything working on the night. Hitters were consistently late on his fastball. They also had no chance against his breaking ball, swinging over it time and time again. And on top of having the stuff, he had the control, too. Despite racking up a ton of strikeouts, he pounded the strikezone – needing just 46 pitches, throwing 34 strikes, to get through his outing.
Other winter league notes
- Mariel Bautista joined the Tigres del Licey roster on Monday. The Reds outfield prospect didn’t play in the game.
- Alejo Lopez is hitting .347/.375/.429 through 24 games for Monterrey in the Mexican Winter League.
- R.J. Alaniz is pitching for Hermosillo in the Mexican Winter League, and much like Lopez, is finding a lot of success. In his nine games he’s thrown 8.0 shutout innings with just one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Currently the leagues in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Mexico are playing. The Puerto Rican Winter League will get started on December 8th, but will only have four teams this season. The Australian Winter League will begin December 16th. Colombia reportedly was going to play, but the league’s official website no longer exists, and their social media accounts haven’t been updated in over a year – so if the league is happening there’s no way that I’ve found to keep track.