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Dominican Winter League Update: How did White Sox players perform?

by Joe Binder

With Major League Baseball’s immediate future still on hold, some of our attention has drifted to the various winter leagues and their playoffs over the past few weeks.

If you’re not familiar, it’s common for players to return to their native countries and play for their home teams during the offseason. The most popular winter leagues include the Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican League, and the Venezuelan Winter League. Action for most typically begins during October or November and lasts through the end of January, filling the void left behind after the World Series concludes.

Down in the Dominican Winter League, White Sox designated hitter Yermin Mercedes made headlines not too long ago for pimping a home run on a 3-0 count. This led us to wonder how how other players connected to the organization were faring. Based on available information, here’s what we’ve been able to track down for players in the LIDOM with ties to the South Side – past and present.


Current White Sox Players

Micker Adolfo, OF

  • Team: Estrellas de Orientes
  • Stats (16 games): .261/.292/.413 (12-for-48), 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, .705 OPS

Stats aside, the most intriguing aspect of Adolfo’s stint was the number of games played. By appearing in 16 contests for the Estrellas, the previously injury-plagued prospect increased his 101-game total from minor league action this past season to 117. That marks the highest number of games he’s ever played during a single-year, breaking his previous record of 112 games with Low-A Kannapolis in 2017.

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Matt Pobereyko, RHP

  • Team: Estrellas de Orientes
  • Stats: 0-3, 11.57 ERA (9 ER/7.0 IP), 6 K, 5 BB, 2.714 WHIP

Pobereyko, 30, recently signed a minor league deal with the Sox during mid-January. He spent the 2021 season with the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate, where he went 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA (2 ER/15.1 IP), 21 strikeouts, six walks, .173 opponent average, and 0.98 in 12 appearances. For more on this signing, click here for our previous article.

Yermin Mercedes, DH

  • Team: Tigres del Licey
  • Stats (18 games): .191/.221/.270 (12-for-63), 2 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .490 OPS

In fitting fashion, Mercedes captivated social media several weeks ago after hitting and pimping a home run on a 3-0 count. Outside of that, it was a winter to forget for the spring sensation.

Andrew Perez, LHP

  • Team: Tigres del Licey
  • Stats (9 games): 1-0, 1.35 ERA (1 ER/6.2 IP), 0 BB, 5 K, 1.050 WHIP

Drafted by the White Sox in 2018, Perez has since worked his way up the organization to Double-A Birmingham. While there in 2021, he posted a 3.50 ERA in 43.2 innings with a 4.92 strikeout to walk ratio. He’ll look to build off his solid winter performance and continue his way up the organization in 2022.

Anderson Severino, LHP

  • Team: Leones del Escogido
  • Stats (3 games): 0.00 ERA (0 ER/3.1 IP), 4 BB, 7 K, 1.200 WHIP

Severino was brought into the organization on a minor league deal in November 2020. During the 2021, Severino posted a 2.36 ERA in 40 games between Double-A and Triple-A, enough to earn him a spot on the 40-man roster this past offseason. He also took some time recently to chat with us about his career to date – click here to read the interview.

Felipe Tejada, RHP

  • Team: Leones del Escogido
  • Stats (3 games): 1-0, 0.00 ERA (0 ER/5.1 IP), 4 K, 0 BB, 1.313 WHIP

Tejada was recently brought into the organization on a minor league deal this past week. The 23-year-old joins the Sox after spending 2015-21 in the Astros organization, working his way up from the Dominican Summer League to Double-A. His high strikeout rate, mixed with relatively low walk rates in the past makes him appear to be an intriguing arm with the potential to make an impact.

Emilio Vargas, RHP

  • Team: Gigantes del Cibao
  • Stats (2 games): 27.00 ERA (3 ER/1.0 IP), 4 H, 4 BB, 8.00 WHIP

Vargas was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in November 2020, and spent much of the 2021 season in Double-A Birmingham. After electing free agency this past November, the organization re-signed him to a MiLB deal and assigned him to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. His two appearance in the Dominican Winter League speaks for itself.

Sammy Peralta, LHP

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (1 game): 13.50 ERA (1 ER/0.2 IP), 1 H, 1 K, 1.500 WHIP

In the organization since 2019, Peralta has worked his way up from the AZL White Sox to High-A Winston-Salem. During the 2021 season, the 23-year-old posted a combined 3-1 record, 4.07 ERA (25 ER/55,1 IP), 4.25 K/BB between the Low-A Cannonballers and the High-A Dash. He’ll likely pick things up again in Winston-Salem when the upcoming season gets underway.


Past White Sox Players

The following are players in the Dominican Winter League who once played in the White Sox organization to various extents.

Emilio Bonifacio, UTL (2015)

  • Team: Tigres del Licey
  • Stats: .250/.294/.296 (33-for-132), 3 doubles, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 10 SB, .589 OPS

The long-time utility-man spent his time on the South Side during the 2015 season, after signing with the organization for a one-year $4 million contract. By August 16th, he was released after struggling and dealing with injuries. He batted just .167/.198/.192 in 78 at-bats.

Rob Brantly, C (2015, 2017)

  • Team: Tigres del Licey
  • Stats (2 games): .125/.125/.125 (1-for-8), RBI, run, .250 OPS

Brantly ended up spending two separate stints with the White Sox as a back-up catcher. Each time around, he spent just 14 games in the majors while splitting the rest of his days between Double-A and Triple-A. Outside of Chicago, he’s also played for the Marlins, Phillies, Giants, and Yankees.

Nomar Mazara, OF (2020)

  • Team: Tigres del Licey
  • Stats (7 games): .318/.400/.636 (7-for-25), 1 double, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1.036 OPS

Mazara’s 2020 season is one many fans will soon not forget. Coming in with high expectations, the right fielder hit an abysmal .228/.295/.294 with one home run and 15 RBIs across 42 games. He was later non-tendered in December of the same year.

Ervin Santana, RHP (2020)

  • Team: Tigres del Licey
  • Stats: 2-1, 3.86 ERA (9 ER/21.0 IP), 5 BB, 26 K, 1.000 WHIP

Santana’s experiment in Chicago was a short-lived one. He signed a minor league deal on February 22, 2019 and had his contract selected on April 9th. After a 9.43 ERA (14 ER/13.1 IP) over three starts, the veteran pitcher was released on April 26th and became a free agent three days later. He also left having earned $4.3 million in salary for his two weeks on the South Side.

Ivan Nova, RHP (2019)

  • Team: Leones del Escogido
  • Stats (6 games): 3-0, 3.00 ERA (9 ER/27.0 IP), 13 K, 6 BB, 1.074 WHIP

Nova was traded to the White Sox in December 2018 in exchange for Yordi Rosario and international bonus pool money. During the 2019, the righty posted a 11-12 record, 4.72 ERA, 225 hits allowed (most in AL), and .300 opponent batting average (highest in MLB). He most recently signed a one-year deal with the SSG Landers of the KBO League on December 21, 2021.

Moises Sierra, RF/1B (2014)

  • Team: Gigantes del Cibao
  • Stats (25 games): .281/.362/.354 (23-for-82) with 3 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .715 OPS

Sierra was originally claimed by the White Sox in 2014, where he found regular time as a backup outfielder before an injury landed him on the disabled list. He ended up making his last Major League appearance for the Nationals on May 15, 2018, and has since spent time playing between Japan, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Juan Minaya, LHP (2016-19)

  • Team: Gigantes del Cibao
  • Stats (13 Games): 1-1, 2.25 ERA (3 ER/12.0 IP), 14 K, 6 BB, 0.917 WHIP

Minaya is an all too familiar name from the rebuild era for many fans. He was originally claimed off waivers by the team in 2016, made his debut later that season, and spent the next four years making appearances from the bullpen. He was released by the Sox at the end of the 2019 season after finishing out the second half in Triple-A Charlotte.

Andre Rienzo, RHP (2006-14)

  • Team: Gigantes del Cibao
  • Stats (5 games): 1-2, 5.50 ERA (11 ER/18.0 IP), 15 K, 11 BB, 1.44 WHIP

Signed as an international free agent in 2006, Rienzo worked his way up through the organization before appearing in the Major Leagues for the White Sox in 2013 and 2014. Over 28 appearances, he threw a combined 5.89 ERA, 1.641 WHIP, and 5.79 FIP. He would appear in just 14 more Major League games for the Marlins in 2015, before taking his talents to the Mexican, Mexican Pacific, and Dominican Winter Leagues.

Jose Quintana, LHP (2012-2017)

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (2 games): 0-1, 3.00 ERA (3 ER/9.0 IP), 8 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HBP, 1.222 WHIP

Quintana spent six years in the White Sox organization before the infamous trade that netted a package highlighted by Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. The now 33-year-old was about a reliable as could be, finishing his tenure on the South Side with a 50-54 record, 3.51 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 1.250 WHIP, and 3.05 K/BB. Following his four years with the Cubs, Quintana has gone on to pitch for the Angels and Giants, and recently signed a one-year deal with the Pirates prior to the lockout.

Michael Ynoa, RHP (2015-18)

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (13 games): 0-1, 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP), 10 BB, 9 strikeouts, 1.273 WHIP

Ynoa came to the White Sox as part of the Jeff Samardzija trade following the 2014 season. After making his debut in 2016, the now 30-year-old would go 2-0, with a 4.42 ERA over 59 innings. He was released on March 15, 2018, and hasn’t pitched in the majors since.

Justin Nicolino, LHP (2019)

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (3 games): 0-1, 3.86 ERA (2 ER/4.2 IP), 3 BB, 2 K, 1.286 WHIP

Nicolino signed a minor league deal with the club in May 2019, and started 19 times for the Charlotte Knights that season. His 6.28 ERA and 1.44 WHIP gave the organization no reason to bring him back, leading him to hit the open market. He lasted just eight games in the Chinese Professional Baseball League the following uear before being released. A 5.90 ERA in 39.2 innings didn’t help his cause.

Melky Cabrera, OF (2015-17)

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (27 games): .260/.290/.300 (26-for-100), 4 doubles, 11 RBI, .590 OPS

Cabrera had a memorable three-year run on the South Side that ended a bit prematurely due to a trade at the deadline. During his stint with the Sox, he slashed .287/.331/.427 (464-for-1617) with 95 doubles, 39 home runs, 219 RBI, .758 OPS, and 108 OPS+. Despite putting up decent-enough numbers this past winter, the now 37-year-old recently announced his retirement on his Instagram account in mid-January.

Ramon Torres, INF (2019-20)

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (37 games): .260/.333/.323 (33-for-127) with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 13 RBI, 4 SB, .656 OPS

Signed on a minor league deal in February 2019, Torres split time between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. He slashed .250/.277/.406 with four home runs, and 25 RBI, enough to be re-signed by the team in 2020. He was later released by the organization on June 26, 2020, and recently signed a deal this past December to play for the Leones de Yucatan of the Mexican League for the 2022 season.

Deivy Grullon, C (2021)

  • Team: Aguilas Cibaenas
  • Stats (7 games): .188/.222/.313 (3-for-18) with 2 doubles, 3 RBI, .535 OPS

Grullon was traded to the White Sox for cash considerations back on July 15, 2021. He made 11 appearances in Triple-A Charlotte, hitting .200/.23/.400 with two homers, and five RBI. He was released a short time later on August 31st and is still a free agent.

Alen Hanson, OF (2017)

  • Team: Toros del Este
  • Stats (19 games): .177/.232/.216 (9-for-58), 2 doubles, 3 RBI, .448 OPS

Hanson was claimed off waivers by the Sox in 2017, and added to the team’s 25-man roster soon after. The outfielder slashed .231/.276/.375 with 4 home runs and 10 RBI over 69 games. He was eventually non-tendered on December 1st, and became a free agent. The 29-year-old is currently a free agent.

Jhan Marinez, RHP (2012-13)

  • Team Toros del Este
  • Stats (14 games): 2-0, 1.89 ERA (4 ER/19.0 IP), 8 BB, 14 K, 1.211 WHIP

Marinez is probably not a recognizable name by many, but he was one of the players sent back to the White Sox as compensation for the Ozzie Guillen hire by the Marlins. He spent the majority of his time in Triple-A Charlotte, though was called up for a brief two-game stint in 2012 before being outrighted off the roster on September 6, 2013.


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