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Winter Notebook

By Will Kimmey
February 14, 2004

Rios adds to his status with top-notch winter

Plenty of Latin players grow up wanting to play in the Caribbean Series more than theyd like to reach a World Series because the former means they get to represent their home country on an international stage.

Alexis Rios, however, turned down the opportunity this winter. It wasnt because he didnt want to play for his native Puerto Rico; he just need some rest. Its been quite a year for the Blue Jays outfield prospect, who played a combined 199 games between the Double-A Eastern League regular season and playoffs, the 2003 Olympic qualifying tournament and the Puerto Rican League season and playoffs.

Rios said he was too exhausted to join Ponce in the Caribbean Series after it eliminated his team, Caguas, in the Puerto Rican playoffs. But he never showed evidence of that during the season. He led the Puerto Rican League with 37 RBIs, ranked second in batting at .348 and tied for second with 12 homers to earn MVP honors. He stayed hot through the playoffs, hitting .297-4-14 in 74 at-bats. That performance earned Rios, 23, Baseball Americas Winter Player of the Year Award.

He has power to all fields, with big, long arms, but his swing is not real long, said an NL scout who watched Rios in Puerto Rico. He has a quick bat, and he can hit the fastball . . . and hit the good fastball.

Rios had already played 127 regular season games and two playoff series for Double-A New Haven, where he hit .352-11-82 with 11 steals and 54 extra-base hits to win the Eastern League MVP award.

For more on Rios, and the top prospects from across winter ball, see Prospect Pulse.

Preview Winnters


1985-1986Wally Joyner, 1b, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico)
1986-1987Vicente Palacios, rhp, Mexicali (Mexican Pacific)
1987-1988Jose Nunez, rhp, Escogido (Dominican Republic)
1988-1989Phil Stephenson, 1b, Zulia (Venezuela)
1989-1990Edgar Martinez, 3b, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
1990-1991Henry Rodriguez, of, Licey (Dominican Republic)
1991-1992Wilson Alvarez, lhp, Zulia (Venezuela)
1992-1993Matias Carrillo, of, Mexicali (Mexican Pacific)
1993-1994John Hudek, rhp, Magallanes (Venezuela)
1994-1995Carlos Delgado, c, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
1995-1996Darryl Brinkley, of, Mexicali (Mexican Pacific)
1996-1997Bartolo Colon, rhp, Aguilas (Dominican Republic)
1997-1998Jose Hernandez, ss, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico)
1998-1999Bob Abreu, of, Caracas (Venezuela)
1999-2000Morgan Burkhart, 1b, Navojoa (Mexican Pacific)
2000-2001Courtney Duncan, rhp, Caguas (Puerto Rico)
2001-2002Ramon Hernandez, c, Pastora (Venezuela)
2002-2003Arnie Munoz, lhp, Aguilas (Venezuela)

2003-2004 winter all stars

Pos.

Player, Team (League)

Organization

AVG

AB

H

HR

RBI

SB

C

Guillermo Quiroz, Aguilas (Venez.)

Blue Jays

.299

144

43

11

24

0

1B

Juan Diaz, Caguas (P.R.)

Twins

.277

224

62

20

54

2

2B

DAngelo Jimenez, Licey (D.R.)

Reds

.336

217

73

3

32

6

3B

Luis D. Figueroa, Carolina (P.R.)

Mariners

.422

128

54

2

24

2

SS

Omar Infante, Oriente (Venez.)

Tigers

.345

229

79

7

34

13

OF

Jason Dubois, Mesa (AFL)

Cubs

.358

120

43

9

29

2

OF

Ross Gload, Hermosillo (Mex.)

White Sox

.328

232

76

12

51

3

OF

Alexis Rios, Caguas (P.R.)

Blue Jays

.332

229

76

16

51

2

DH

Robert Perez, Lara (Venez.)

None

.295

353

104

23

66

12

Pos.

Player, Team (League)

Organization

W-L

ERA

IP

H

BB

SO

SP

Francisco Campos, Mazatlan (Mex.)

White Sox

11-2

1.78

127

106

38

100

SP

Dicky Gonzalez, Carolina (P.R.)

Devil Rays

3-1

1.68

70

57

10

78

SP

Edwin Hurtado, Lara (Venez.)

Padres

9-4

2.16

121

97

25

102

SP

Rafael Soriano, Escogido (D.R.)

Mariners

2-1

0.82

55

26

19

34

RP

Francisco Rodriguez, La Guaira (Venez.)

Angels

14 SV

2.60

45

33

14

79

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