Nothing beats getting up at 5:30 on this Sunday morning to follow the Australian Baseball League decider in the fifth inning from Perth. Yes, even the Webcast was on a 30 minute delay so to follow it in real time was a challenge. The game ended in the bottom of the 13th inning on a wild pitch run scoring and resulted in a 7-6 win for Perth. The 2011 baseball season is finally over. The Perth Heat won the best of three series over the weekend two games to one over the Melbourne Aces. Our guy Tim Kennelly drove in the first run for Perth on a line drive single to left in the first inning of today’s game. After making a key error at third in Saturday’s loss, Tim played a strong defensive game at third on Sunday to help win the ABL championship for Perth.
Several other longtime Phillies farmhands also completed outstanding albeit brief appearances in off season leagues. In January Tyson Brummett had several outstanding starts in the Venezuela Winter League and started a game for Venezuela in the Caribbean Series resulting in a no decision. In December Derrick Mitchell put up some interesting numbers in the VWL also. Derrick hit .289 in 45 at bats overall but hit .343 in “35” at bats with a couple of home runs against right handed pitching.
Mitchell completed a break out 2011 season. When combining his time with Reading during the regular season, the E.L. playoffs and the VWL which when combined totaled 150 games he hit 21 homers, drove in 88 runs and stole 22 bases in 2011. No other Philly farmhand last year could match those numbers when combining these power, clutch hitting and stolen base numbers.
I get a charge out of the Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes. Some players should not play winter ball while trying to get a contract. Cespedes played only 9 games in the Dominican Winter League last month and in “35” at bats hit only .143 with one home run before his agent shut him down. Reportedly 26 years old, Cespedes made the famous video showcasing his athletic ability and marketed it to major league teams. Click here to see video. Rumor has it the Miami Marlins just offered him about $40 million over six years to sign a free agent contract with them.
Sometimes off season winter ball helps a young prospect and sometimes it does not. With major league pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training next week, the Hot Stove League debates will soon be over. So let the games of the 2012 season begin.