Majors Success heads to Winter Ball

by Matt Hiscox

After a successful season in Majors’ pinstripes, three key players have signed on for winter ball in both the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League & the Dominican Professional Baseball League.

Pitcher Miguel Burgos joined the Majors after pitching within the Toronto Blue Jays system in 2017. He signed with the Tiburones de la Guaira (Sharks of La Guaira) of the VPBL. Burgos had an incredible season with the Majors as he pitched to a record of 5-4. His ERA of 2.96 was top 10 in the IBL and his 67 strikeouts were 2nd to teammate Juliandry Higuera.

Majors’ two-way star, Ismael Pena had a stellar season in the field and on the hill. Pena will be joining former Majors starter Simon Mercedes with the Leones del Escogido (Lions of Chosen) of the DPBL as a pitcher only. His IBL stats show that this is a good call for him as he pitched in 11 games with 22.2 total innings.

The IBL strikeout leader, Juliandry Higuera, who was another key player to the starting rotation has also found a place for the winter. He has signed in the VPBL with the Aguilas del Zulia (Eagles of Zulia) Higuera joined the Majors after pitching in A+ & AAA with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018. He was an incredible addition after Mercedes went down with an injury. Higuera came in and pitched to a record of 5-4 and an average of 10Ks per 9 innings.

When asked about the three players singing pro deals in winter ball. Roop Chanderdat (Co-Owner, Field Manager &General Manager) had this to say “We try and provide them with the tools necessary to ensure they get better so they can put up good numbers in the IBL and catch-on with a pro team. I really push them hard to get better and take on a leadership role while they are here with the Majors. We stress the importance of professional conduct both on and off the field.”

Another key part of the success of the three pitchers on the Majors’ staff was 1st-year IBL pitching coach   Brent Wales. Wales work with the arms on the roster helped lead the team to a league-leading 9.55 strikeout average per 9 innings. Brent had this to say “I am extremely happy and proud of Burgos, Higgy and Izzy. They all worked hard during the season and had great success. They were a huge reason for how successful our pitching staff was this past season.  Their hard work has paid off for them, allowing themselves the opportunity to get back into professional baseball this winter. I am excited to see what this new opportunity brings them”

All three had a stellar season with the Majors in 2019 and will look to continue that dominant performance over the winter with their respected teams.