While the Puerto Rican Winter League began nearly two months ago, and the regular season is coming to an end soon, teams are still bringing in players. One of those players is Cincinnati Reds prospect Alex McGarry, who joined Santurce just before Christmas, and has made his presence felt immediately.

In his first game he went 1-3 and drove in two runs. Three days later he went 1-3 with a walk and he scored two runs. On Wednesday night he would go 2-4 and score another run. On Thursday Santurce would play in a doubleheader against Mayaguez and he crushed his first home run, going 2-5 with two more runs batted in. Through five games he’s hitting .400/.412/.600 and has scored four runs and driven in four runs. The league has been laughably pitcher friendly this winter, where the OPS for the league is .598. Every team has played 39 games, and two of the teams (TEAMS!) have hit five and six home runs (and one is from McGarry). Caguas leads the league in home runs with 15 of them. Only two of the teams are slugging over .300 and neither team is over .308.

On a related note, Santurce also just added Reds reliever Fernando Cruz to the roster. He has pitched in one game so far, giving up a solo home run and picking up a strikeout in his one inning of work.

On Tuesday night in the Dominican, the LIDOM playoffs began. Hector Rodriguez, who was one of the best hitters in the league despite being the league’s youngest player with at least three games played, picked up right where he left off in the regular season. He went 2-5 in the first game. Last night he followed that up with another 2-5 game, but this time he had a double and he drove in three runs.

Rodriguez hasn’t been just placing hits in those two games, either. He’s been making some hard contact. Here are his exit velocities in the two games:

  • 101.7 MPH – Single
  • 99.4 MPH – Single
  • 99.0 MPH – Flyout
  • 97.2 MPH – Double
  • 94.4 MPH – Lineout
  • 92.1 MPH – Lineout
  • 90.3 MPH – Single
  • 82.9 MPH – Forceout
  • 69.8 MPH – Pop Up

24 Responses

  1. MBS

    So power isn’t Hector’s Achilles heal?

    McGarry is an interesting guy. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does in AAA this year. I think him, and Free are 2 underrated guys who could have a role at some point on the 2024 Reds.

    • MK

      Greek Mythology and Baseball. Certainly ending 2023 on an intellectual note.

      • Captain redsleg

        I’m surprised teams aren’t wanting these two in trade talks….but from what they have done this winter they are probably off limits….

      • DaveCT

        Capt., HRod more than McGarry.

        McGarry could be a decent trade chip given his improvements at AA last year, however. If I recall, he dropped his K’s quite a bit and improved his hit tool. He’s not quite a sleeper, but he could be a dark horse for a late 24 role as a LH power bat, exactly what MBS has been predicting and clamoring for, LH power and McGarry. Amirite, MBS?

      • MBS

        @Dave, “Dark horse” is a good way to put it.

        He could be especially helpful as a PH in those games when Fraley, or Benson get yanked for a RHB in the 7th, but we need a power hitting LHB in the 9th.

  2. Greenfield Red

    The signing of Montas should help the entire system since less guys will be forced forward this year. That is a real positive.

    • DaveCT

      Montas and Martinez, who I see best as a spot starter. Stoudt, in particular, could likely use a full season at AAA. Richardson not far behind. I actually think Spiers could move more quickly than any of the five starting prospects there.

      • MBS

        I also think Spiers will have more of an impact on the 2024 Reds than Phillips, Richardson, or Stoudt. To @Green’s point, the added depth of Martinez, and Montas will allow the Reds to give more time for Phillips, Richardson, and Stoudt to develop in AAA.

        Cruz, Young, Spiers, Antone, and Duarte will probably be the guys that go up and down the most this season when injuries occur. The Great thing is I’d be very happy with all of those guys starting the year in the Reds bullpen.

      • Optimist

        It’s a good sign that they are now concerned about which arms have options to go up and down AAA and MLB. Talent in depth.

      • DaveCT

        Unfortunately, TJ Antone is probably more susceptible to being one pitch away from serious injury than anyone on the roster. Anything we get from him is a plus, but uncertain.

  3. Greenfield Red

    It seems the Reds have figured out the importance of stocking as many high end prospects as possible. Not all pan out, so it’s best to have a constant pipeline of quality coming up through the ranks at all times. This leads me to two points that I think are important:

    First, if you think back to about 4 or 5 years ago, it was the White Sox and San Diego who had the best farm systems and were building from within and had a lot of promise like the Reds and Baltimore do now. Both CHI and SD went away from the plan of continually stocking the farm to trading off pieces and signing expensive free agents. Now just a few years later, both are back peddling and trying to cut expenses and rebuild their farm systems again. I look for CIN and BAL to not get away from this apparent plan, and both to be really good for many years… perhaps a decade or more.

    My second point is this: Maybe it’s a blip on the radar, but it appears more teams are beginning to figure out the importance of keeping their prospects. Just a year or two ago, if you looked through the MLB top 100 prospects you would find all kinds of movement of players. Drafted or signed by one team and now in the farm system of another. It’s almost universal in the current Top 100 that players are still in the system that originally signed them. Cincinnati is actually the exception in that 3 of their 4 current Top 100 prospects came from other organizations (Marte, Arroyo, and Phillips all coming from Seattle). I know SEA is thrilled to have Castillo, and he’s been great for them so far, but I bet they’d sure like to have the other three back. Of the rest of the Reds Top 30 on that list, only Petty, Acosta, Hector, and Stoudt are not home grown.

    I believe that unless you are NYY, LAD, and maybe a few others, teams will have to hold prospects like gold in the age of $700 mil contracts for free agents.

    • BK

      Given MLB’s competitive landscape, I agree the Reds are employing a strategy that gives them the best chances to succeed, built on developing MLB talent and avoiding long-term free-agent contracts. It keeps them from having to pay inflated prices driven by the largest market teams, and frankly, free-agent contracts just don’t seem to age as well as they did in the past–the game seems to be trending toward younger players. I’ve been pleased to see the Reds maintain focus during the offseason and last season’s trade deadline.

      As for Seattle, I’m sure they love Castillo, and he took them to the playoffs in 2023. However, the Red’s long-term prospects are better than Seattle’s.

      I think the prospect trend started a little earlier, but I agree that teams are more reluctant to trade prospects than in the past. The increased number of wild card teams will accelerate the trend as more small market teams will see a viable path to the postseason without having to build toward a small window of contention.

    • DaveCT

      One shift I think may be occurring in MLB is the trend towards younger players, superstars in particular. Not that there haven’t always been the occasional young superstar, ie Griffey Jr., Gooden, but the volume of talented young players in MLB seems to be on the rise. I’m sure there are layers and layers of reasons for this (increased and better training and development at the top, with college ball improving too), and I’m reasonably sure there has to be some evidence questioning it. However, the volume of young stars is impressive. If a trend, it’s good for baseball. The kids will love their EDLC’s as well as their Joey Votto’s and Brandon Phillips’

    • MBS

      I think that’s everyone’s goal, but being able to draft and develop enough quality players to make it work isn’t easy, or everyone would do it. Right now we’re in great shape, we’ve graduated a ton of guys in the last 3 years, and the next 3 seem to be on corse to graduate a bunch more.

      If that continues then great, but when you have 1st rounders like Ervin, Howard, Senzel, and Hendrick it can derail that plan. Thankfully we “seemed” to have turned a corner in that regard, but only time will tell if that will continue. We also started to get bigger named international FA’s, so that should also help.

      We can never be NYY, or LAD, but we can turn into in time STL, and they’re pretty good. The Reds will need sustained success, and a bit of luck but we can get there. If EDLC becomes the super star that he’s capable of, then the advertising dollars will role in, and that plus winning will have the fans will roll into GABP.

  4. DaveCT

    Dumb Question Department: How do I get the auto fill turned on again for my email?

    I lost it some time ago and this has befuddled me.

    • Doug Gray

      That’s all going to depend on which web browser you are using.

      • DaveCT

        Thanks. It’s safari and on my phone. I may switch over to Chrome and try rather than continue