The regular season is coming to an end in winter ball. The Yankees haven’t had a ton of significant names playing this winter, but there are a few you’ll recognize.
• The Dominican Winter League regular season has ended, and it’s been a strong winter for Zoilo Almonte. Not sure that means much in his bid for a big league roster spot, but it can’t hurt. He had multiple hits in three of his last four games — and six of his past 10 — raising his winter slash line up to .316/.343/.454 while regularly batting third or fourth in the order. He’s had some time in center and right, but the vast majority of his playing time has come in left field. In keeping with his minor league splits, he’s had an .874 OPS against righties with a .663 against lefties. Winter numbers rarely mean a ton, but at the very least it’s a sign that Almonte is healthy and hitting with spring training two months away.
• Pretty interesting what’s happened with Adonis Garcia down in Venezuela. He’s been almost exclusively an outfielder with the Yankees — and he was playing almost entirely outfield early this winter — but for the past month or so, Garcia’s been playing second base and third base without a single turn in the outfield. He’s made six errors in that time, but he’s also hitting .319/.344/.491 (with a 17-game hitting streak that came to an end just before Christmas). Going to be interesting to see how the Yankees use him. It’s not like they can’t find at-bats for a right-handed outfielder, but the Yankees have always liked maximizing the versatility of young players.
• Speaking of right-handed outfielders who can play the infielder, Ronnier Mustelier has started hitting a little bit in Mexico. He was hitting .229/.350/.297 in early December, but in the past three months he’s raised that season slash line up to .279/.391/.374. Still not the kind of power you expect from Mustelier in winter ball, but he’s getting on base quite a bit, and he has 21 hits in his past 13 games. He’s primarily playing right field, with some time in left field, center field and at third base. He’s coming off a underwhelming season shortened by injuries.
• Only five winter games for Eduardo Nunez so far. Too small of a sample size for his numbers to mean much, but it’s somewhat interesting that he’s played both shortstop and third base.
• Jose Pirela continues to rake in Venezuela. Not entirely sure what to make of it — my gut is to make not much of it — but he’s hitting .335/.421/.506 with multiple hits in nine of his past 13 games. He’s homered in two of his past three games. He’s getting most of his time in left field now, not so much second base, but those offensive numbers are pretty overwhelming. Again, not sure they put him on the big league radar, but they might deserve another look in big league camp.
• Relatively new minor league addition Antoan Richardson played in Venezuela until late November, hitting .254/.353/.336 while playing center field and right field. That’s more or less the same kind of hitter he’s been in the minors, with an on-base percentage that far exceeds his batting average. Could see a decent amount of time in center field for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season if Slade Heathcott isn’t there. Another new addition, third baseman Zelous Wheeler, is hitting .268/.359/.429 in Mexico.
• Very little winter league pitching worth mentioning. Aside from the four guys sent to the Arizona Fall League, the Yankees just don’t have many notable guys pitching this winter. Pat Venditte is healthy and pitching in Mexico and Jose Campos pitched one game in Venezuela, but the sample sizes are pretty small even by winter standards.
Associated Press photo