Lorenzo Cedrola has been getting plenty of playing time for Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League this year. He’s one of only a few players in the Cincinnati Reds organization that’s been getting any sort of regular action on the field this winter between the leagues in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Nicaragua (Australia and Puerto Rico have not begun their leagues yet). Last night, Cedrola got the start in center field – he has also been getting action in left field this winter – picked up three hits and scored a run in a 4-3 loss.
There’s a weird spot right now where most minor league free agents have not signed, leaving plenty of players who would have been picked up by now and in *some* organization, and just are sitting out there in the wind currently. Unless I missed someone, there are currently only two position players who have gotten into winter league games that are signed with the Cincinnati Reds organization in the winter leagues that are playing right now, and only three pitchers.
While Lorenzo Cedrola had a big night on Friday, he’s hitting just .235/.263/.235 through 17 at-bats in Venezuela. Victor Ruiz has gotten some playing time in Mexico with Mexicali. The third baseman went 1-1 as a pinch hitter/late game replacement on Friday night. He got most of his playing time in October, playing sparingly as a pinch hitter in November. Ruiz is hitting .250/.273/.400 through 20 at-bats.
On the mound, as noted above, there have only been three current Cincinnati Reds pitchers thrown this winter. The great news is that they’ve combined to allow zero runs. Vladimir Gutierrez, who had to wait 12 days to make his first start after his initial projected start day due to weather and then COVID-19 outbreak postponements, struck out seven batters in 4.0 shutout innings in his lone start in the Dominican Winter League earlier this week. Reliever Jesus Reyes has pitched in three games – also in the Dominican – and picked up three strikeouts in 2.2 shutout frames. Julio Pinto has appeared in two games in the Venezuelan Winter League, throwing 1.0 inning without a walk or a strikeout.
The Puerto Rican Winter League is set to begin on Tuesday. The rosters for the league are not yet out, though there are a handful of Reds prospects that are eligible to play and on the organizational roster (this doesn’t mean they will be active at any point, just that the team has their rights within the league).
In a now-former-Red cool note, last night saw Juan Francisco hit his 100th career home run in the Dominican Winter League. That includes 71 home runs during the regular season, 23 more in the round robin playoffs, and then another 6 in the Dominican Winter League championship.