Winter League Update: December 5

It has been a busy offseason around Uptown Charlotte. The Charlotte Knights have made several key announcements regarding the 2015 season. For all of the latest news and notes, make sure to follow me on Twitter @Tommy_the_V or log on to the Charlotte Knights Official Website.

BF3_0186

Dan Black at bat on Opening Knight, April 11, 2014. (photo credit: Buren Foster).

It has also been a very busy offseason for a number of 2014 Charlotte Knights players, as well as former Charlotte Knights players. Caribbean Winter Leagues are in full swing and players are competing in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Let’s take a look at a handful of those players who are shining this offseason:

Dan Black 
.313-6-23 in 32 G (through December 4)
Aguilas Cibaenas (Liga de Beisbol Dominicano)

Dan Black is having a solid offseason. In 32 Winter League games for Aguilas Cibaenas, the 27-year-old is hitting .313 with six home runs and 23 RBIs. He has 10 hits, including five doubles and a home run, over his last 10 games.

Black was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the 2009 draft and he has made his way through the organization over the past six seasons. From 2011 to 2013, Black put up some solid power numbers as he made his way up the organizational ladder. In 2011 with Kannapolis (A), Black launched 18 home runs, added 98 RBIs, and hit .286. Black also added an impressive amount of doubles — 41 — in 135 games.

A year later, Black moved up to Winston-Salem (A+) and hit 17 home runs with 88 RBIs. The Indiana native added an impressive .315 batting average in 129 games. He basically matched those numbers a year later in Double-A Birmingham — compiling a .290 mark with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs.

Black made the move to the Knights to start the 2014 season — but ended up splitting the campaign between Charlotte and Birmingham. In 92 games combined between both levels, Black hit .263 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs.

The Purdue University product had the best offensive game of the 2014 season for any Charlotte Knights player. On May 29 in Columbus, OH, Black went a perfect 4-for-4 with three home runs, four runs scored, and seven RBIs. One of those three home runs was a grand slam. Unfortunately, Black wasn’t able to go 5-for-5 as he had to leave the game with tightness. He was placed on the DL two days later and missed some time with the injury.

manny

Manny Ramirez hit .317 with 14 home runs and 36 RBIs for the Knights in 1993 (40 games).

Manny Ramirez
.281-5-20 – 31 G (through December 4)
Aguilas Cibaenas (Liga de Beisbol Dominicano) 

Yes, that Manny Ramirez. The former Charlotte Knights slugger (1993 Knights) is playing on the same team as Dan Black this offseason and has looked good with his bat. Ramirez, who is now 42 years old, is hitting .281 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 31 games.

Ramirez last played in the majors in 2011 in limited action with the Rays (five games). A year earlier, he split time with the Dodgers and White Sox — appearing in 90 games and hitting a combined .298 with nine home runs.

This past season, Ramirez made a comeback as a player/coach with Triple-A Iowa. In 24 games, he hit .222 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

Donnie Veal
2-1, 1.86 ERA in 19 G (through December 4)
Aguilas Cibaenas (Liga de Beisbol Dominicano)

Donnie Veal spent parts of three seasons with the Charlotte Knights (2012-2014) and was a solid left-hander reliever out of the Charlotte bullpen at times. Most recently, Veal was signed to a Minor League deal with the Atlanta Braves. I wrote about that recent signing here: Veal Signs With Atlanta, Too.

Also playing on the same team as Dan Black and Man-Ram this offseason, Veal owns a 2-1 record with a 1.86 ERA through 19 Winter League games. He hasn’t allowed a run over his last seven appearances (3.2 IP). The Mississippi native will look to continue his solid efforts into Spring Training and get back to the majors where he owns a lifetime 3-3 record with a 4.87 ERA in 100 games (four seasons).

Leury Garcia
.380-0-3 in 13 G (through December 4)
Gigantes del Cibao (Liga de Beisbol Dominicano)Leury_García_on_September_7,_2013

Leury Garcia spent the entire 2014 season with the Chicago White Sox at the Major League level — appearing in 74 games for the South Siders. A year earlier, Garcia was dealt to the organization from Texas as part of the Alex Rios trade. Garcia was officially dealt to the team on April 11, 2013 and was assigned to Charlotte. He appeared in just eight games with the Knights in 2013 before going to Chicago.

So far this offseason, Garcia is hitting .380 (19-for-50) with 11 runs scored, two doubles, one triple, and three RBIs for Gigantes del Cibao of the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano. Also on the the team are former Knights Wilson Betemit, and 2014 White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto and 2014 Sox outfielder Moises Sierra.

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