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Feeling a little trapped in the chilly winter weather? While we can’t help you physically get into the sun, you can enjoy the warm, familiar feeling of checking in on current players as they get some swings in the Caribbean Winter Leagues.

If you’re not familiar with the baseball being played in Latin America in the MLB offseason, you are missing out. Fortunately with some digging on Youtube, as well as the handy “Translate Tweet” button, you can find tons of footage, and experience the liveliest baseball on the planet.

As a quick recap, from November right up until Christmas there are six individual leagues playing Winter League baseball. For those two months, these small leagues of six to ten teams battle it out for their chance to represent in the Caribbean World Series, or the Serie del Caribe. And these games look like an absolute party. A’s fans are used to drumming in the stands, but nothing like this. Fans in Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic bring an insatiable energy to the ballpark.

This year’s finale will be held in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, which is the home of the most victorious team in the entire Caribbean, the Tigres del Licey. Licey can boast tons of noteworthy names like Dave Stewart and Bob Gibson, and recently was the brief home of Juan Soto. Ramón Laureano also suited up for El Glorioso when he rehabbed from a hernia surgery in 2021.

Admittedly I'm no expert. I've never been, and I only started paying attention to this incredible branch of baseball the past few years, but immediately as I got into these games, I could not shut up about how fun they are to watch. These leagues are a great place for current players to stay loose and see live pitching into the colder months, plus the bonus of playing for close family and pride if they come from Latin America.

There are a handful of current Oakland A’s getting playing time down there right now that are worth checking on. While it’s definitely improving from previous seasons, sometimes game logs and stat lines aren’t as up-to-date as what we’re used to with live at-bat MLB data. Luckily for you all, I have assembled some tweets and information on how our boys are performing in the first few weeks of play. Hopefully this inspires you to watch and follow along for yourself in December.

Player: Vimael Machín

League: Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (aka PRIBL)

Team: Criollos de Caguas

I’ve written about how much faith I have in our boy Machín, and he’s already helping to prove me right. In the first week of their season, he went 10-for-26, leading the entire Puerto Rican Baseball League with a batting average of .385. He has since maintained a .297 average (as of Nov. 25th), and notched 19 hits over 18 games, including three doubles, two HR’s, and nine walks. Maybe we need to start calling him the Mean Machín, because his OBP is sitting at a tough .395. It’s also worth noting that he has been comfortable in tight situations. On Saturday he hit a walk-off grand slam, which you can catch in all its shaky-cam excitement below.

Player: Christian Pache

League: Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana (aka LiDom)

Team: Estrellas Orientales

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Our boy Pache joined the Estrellas a few days ago and is off and running. Playing alongside former compadre Christian Bethancourt and under Manager Fernando Tatis Sr., CP made contact for seven hits over his five first games. That includes three doubles and three RBI, as well as one swiped bag. Just barely 24 years of age, I wouldn’t be surprised if he racks up some mass in the weight room this offseason when he’s not on the field making more of what Twitter has called “una atrapada "DE VIDEO JUEGO" (a video game catch). We love to see it in the colloquial sense, but also we can’t wait to actually see it when he’s back in his other green uniform.

Player: Tyler Cyr

League: Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana (aka LiDom)

Team: Gigantes del Cibao

The Bay Area’s own Tyler Cyr made a decent debut in Oakland this summer and he’s not taking any breaks. In his second season playing Dominican Winter ball, the righty is getting a small share of time on the mound for the team that won the entire Caribbean Championship two seasons ago. We have less information to go off of for Cyr than we do position players, but I can tell you that he has pitched six innings over as many games, and in that time he has taken a winning record, given up five hits and delivered six K’s. I hope he continues to get looks before Spring, and personally I also hope the cornrow braids he debuted on Instagram a few weeks ago are not something he plans to keep long-term.

Player: Jordan Díaz

League: Liga Colombiana de Béisbol Profesional (aka LPB)

Team: Vaqueros de Montería

While it was announced that the young infielder would join the Vaqueros this season, I haven’t been able to find much about his play there, other than one account of him scoring in a game on November 12th. One article says he has not been with the team lately due to compulsory training and testing that the A’s required of him, but he has been posting lots of content on his social media training in Miami and traveling in Puerto Rico. I’ll be curious to see how he does wherever he plays next after his quick jump from AA to pro ball last season. He just turned 22 in August. 

Honorable mentions:

Being an A’s fan often means following players as they continue their careers to other teams. We get attached to our guys and we root for their success when they pop up on our timelines. One of my personal favorites was the twice-DFA’d Luis Barrera, who has played more than five seasons with LiDom’s Licey. He is a fixture there, playing almost everyday and amassing a huge social media following on Instagram. Recently he was named right-fielder of the week for all of the Dominican Winter League! I know he elected free agency a few weeks back, but I hope the best for him and will continue to keep up with how he continues to hit the ball in clutch situations.

Another familiar name with green-and-goldies (I just made that up, but it’s not terrible) is catcher Bruce Maxwell. He has played a few summer seasons in Mexico since his stint in MLB, and he’s riding it out this winter with the Cañeros de Los Mochis of the Liga Mexicana del Pacífico. His numbers aren’t great; he’s batting under .180 and striking out a significant amount, but he appears to be an everyday player for them, and he is another guy I like to check in on from time to time.

Lastly, a man who needs no introduction, Yoenis Cespedes. My teammate Jason Burke has written a few times about how much A’s fans would welcome back La Potencia should he want to return to MLB. In his recent tenure with the Aguilas Cibaeñas he is hitting bombs, sometimes two in one night. I know he has a complicated history with some American clubs, but it sure is fun to see him still make magic happen.