For those who haven’t realized that off-season baseball leagues are underway, Phillies outfield prospect Herlis Rodriguez served up an news flash about the action that’s already popping off, as he hit for the cycle on Saturday in Zulia’s 16-3 win over La Guairá in the Venezuelan Winter League.
As the nine-hole hitter for the Aguilas, the 22-year-old lefty batter, who spent his 2016 regular season this year with Class A Advanced Clearwater, got his night rolling with a run scoring double in the 2nd inning. In the 3rd inning, Rodriguez would single home another pair of runs.
After grounding into a double play in his next at bat, Rodriguez, who played center field and left field in the game, would slug a home run in the 6th, leaving him a triple shy of the rare feat. In his last plate appearance of the night, the native of Colon, VZ would lace a triple deep to right field that scored a pair of runs that completed the onslaught for Zulia in the rout of their rival.
It’s hard to imagine a more exciting outing for an offensive player, but Rodriguez added to the cycle and his seven RBI with a steal on home. Yes, he also stole home plate in the 2nd inning.
With a record of 3-0 thus far in the VZ League, Zulia has scored double digits in each of its contest, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 39-18.
In the regular season this year, the six-foot 170-pound Rodriguez posted a slash line of .213/.282/.277 in 48 games for the Threshers. He missed much of the season with two separate stints on the disabled list.
Also in Saturday’s game for Zulia, designated hitter Wilson Garcia went 3-for-6 while shortstop William Cuicas went 0-for-1. Both Garcia and Cuicas played with Class A Lakewood this season.
For La Guairá, first baseman Brock Stassi was 0-for-2 with three walks in the contest. Stassi, was the Double-A Eastern League Most Valuable Player as a member of the Reading roster last year. In 117 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, the 27-year-old lefty batter posted a .267 average with 12 home runs and 58 RBI.
Several other Phillies prospects are in action in Venezuela, including outfielder Carlos Tocci and lefty reliever Hoby Milner.
The Arizona Fall League, which will feature Phillies hurlers Brandon Leibrandt, Miguel Nunez and Jeff Singer along with second baseman Scott Kingery, third baseman Mitch Walding and outfielder Aaron Brown, is slated to open its season this coming Tuesday, October 11th.
Additionally, the Mexican Pacific League will open its season on Sunday, October 9th, the Dominican Winter League opens next Saturday October 15th and the Puerto Rican League, also known as the Roberto Clemente League, holds its opening day on October 30th. Further abroad, the Australian Baseball League doesn’t begin until November 17th.