Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Damaso Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Carlos Marmol of the Chicago Cubs combined to toss a no-hitter for the Tigres del Licey against Estrellas on Monday night in the Dominican Winter League.
Santana struck out nine hitters and walked two in six innings. Marte notched three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings pitched and Marmol fanned three of the four hitters he faced to pick up his second save of the Dominican Winter League playoffs.
All three of these players have been linked to the Orioles in trade rumors over the past few years. It would have been nice if they had done this for Baltimore and not Licey. I'm just throwing it out there…
A no-hitter is a no-hitter no matter where you throw it, but I'm not sure that this will help Santana's stock in the major leagues. Last season, he struggled to a 7-14 record and 5.76 ERA in 150 innings after winning 12 and 16 games, respectively, in his first two seasons in the majors.
Once considered to be the best of the young starting pitchers for the Angels, Santana may now find himself as the odd man out thanks to the acquisition of Jon Garland from the White Sox. It appears that he has fallen behind Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders on their depth chart, so I wouldn't expect much fantasy-wise from him this season unless he is traded away and given a better opportunity. Don't forget the Angels also have top prospect and Maryland native Nick Adenhart waiting in the wings for his shot to show what he's got.
Anyway, let's shift gears to the Venezuelan Winter League where Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez has been playing for the Bravos. Like he typically does when playing in the winter league, Hernandez has split time between first base and designated hitter.
In four games for the Bravos during the winter league regular season, Hernandez had one home run and four RBIs. He was 5-for-15 and only struck out once.
Hernandez started the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs with seven RBIs in the first four games. After going 2-for-11 in the first three games, Hernandez hit a two-out, bases-clearing triple to right field to help the Bravos to a 5-1 victory on Jan. 6. For the game, he finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, which raised his average in the playoffs to .333.
However, Hernandez has been on a tremendous slide since that game. From Jan. 7 through Monday, he was 2-for-22 with three walks and two strikeouts. His average plummeted to .189 (7-for-37) for the winter league playoffs through Monday.
Fantasy spin: Last season, Hernandez was plagued by injuries and only hit .258 with nine home runs and 62 RBIs in 106 games. In his first year with the team in 2006, Hernandez batted .275 with a career-high in home runs (23) and RBIs (91). This season, I'd look for something in between those two seasons. While you have to take into account his struggles in the winter league, I'd chalk it up as a slump and hopefully he can avoid that once the regular season begins. He's still a solid catcher and I think a .265 average, 15 home runs and 85 RBIs is what you should expect from Hernandez this season.