While he wasn’t on the opening day roster for Licey, the rosters change almost daily in the Dominican Winter League, and Vladimir Gutierrez  was on the active roster on Tuesday night. The right-handed pitcher got the start against the Gigantes del Cibao in Licey’s 4th game of the year.

Things didn’t get out to the most ideal start for the Cincinnati Reds prospect. Vladimir Gutierrez dropped a 2-1 fastball in the middle of the plate to the best prospect on the planet, 18-year-old Wander Franco, who crushed it for a leadoff home run. After that, though, Gutierrez took care of business. He would throw 59 pitches on the day, completing 3.2 innings in his start. Over that span he allowed just two more hits and no runs beyond the leadoff homer.

Gutierrez wasn’t the only Reds prospect in the game, though. Narciso Crook, who spent most of his season as a teammate with Gutierrez in Triple-A Louisville this season, made his 2019 winter league debut with Licey, too. He started the game in left field, and would move over to right field after Ryan McBroom was replaced late in the game.

Blake Trahan didn’t play in the game. But he was added to the roster for Licey on Tuesday afternoon. The entire Tigres del Licey organization has some Cincinnati Reds feel to it. Beyond the players, several coaches also have Reds ties. Joel Noboa is the hitting coach for Licey. He’s also the Cincinnati Reds Latin American Field Coordinator. Luis Terrero is simply listed as “coach” by Licey. This past season he was the hitting coach for the Greeneville Reds. Former Red D’Angelo Jimenez is also a coach on the staff.

As noted, Licey was taking on the Gigantes del Ciboa. They featured a Reds prospect in the game – Andy Sugilio. He got the start in center field and hit 9th. He made it count, turning the lineup over with three hits – all singles – in four at-bats. He also scored a run. Sugilio appeared as a pinch runner on Monday, but Tuesday saw him get his first time in the field and in the batters box.

Alfredo Rodriguez was back in the lineup for Estrellas Orientales on Tuesday night as they took on the Leones del Escogido. Rodriguez started at shortstop and went 1-3 with an RBI in the game. Former Reds prospect  and one of strange lore, Wirfin Obispo also pitched in the game.

6 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      Well, he was dominating the DSL in his first season and the Reds wanted to bring him stateside. But there was a problem: He couldn’t get a work visa. Johnny Almaraz, who was the international scouting director at the time, just had glowing reports on him. He was sitting 93-97 at the time – and this was in 2006 when that was special.

      Unfortunately, he got caught up in a situation that was happening a lot back in the day. What would happen is women would pay thousands of dollars to “agents”, who would then give some of that money to players, who in turn would marry them. Then the women would apply for a visa to the United States as the wife of a baseball player – which almost always would get them approved. Eventually the US caught on to what was happening and started investigating it and Obispo got caught in that. He couldn’t get into the country. He wound up spending his prime in Japan. In his late 20’s he was able to come to the US, and actually pitched in both AA and AAA with the Reds, but the stuff wasn’t quite where it was when he was 22. Just a real interesting story.

  1. MK

    Thanks for the Latin League updates. Nice to see Narciso get off to a good start.one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

    I’m surprised not to see Jose Siri yet. I believe he was the property of the Gigantes last year.

  2. DaveCT

    I really have no clue of what to think about . Guerrero at this point. Even with a few decent outings to finish the year, his struggles cry reliever to me. And even then, does he have the stuff to profile there?

    Doug, I look forward to your analysis.