Oct 6, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A cart full of new batting practice balls wait for the Atlanta Braves before they take the field for warmups before game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Loa Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Braves in Winter: A Primer for the Casual Fan

Fall and Winter Baseball – A Primer


We often report on how players in the Atlanta Braves’ organization are performing in the various Winter Leagues, but I thought it might be helpful to put together an off-season primer for the casual fan.  Occasionally during the off-season, I’ll talk to a baseball fan, and I’ll casually mention something like, “he’s doing well in the AFL so far”, or “I think he’s pitched a couple games so far in winter league play”.  Often, these casual fans will have a quizzical look on their face, making it obvious they don’t know what I’m referring to.  Some will humbly ask me more, and I’ll try to answer humbly.  Others will say, “oh, really? Cool!”, as if to pretend they know what I’m talking about while still trying to hide the obvious fact they don’t know much if anything about winter ball.

It’s perfectly okay to be a casual fan who cares little about how players in the Braves’ organization are doing during the winter, or as I’ve alluded to, to be perfectly oblivious to the fact that baseball is even being played on a professional level during the winter.  All of us were that casual fan at one point!  If, however, you are a casual fan and you’ve read some of our reports on how players are doing in the AFL, for example, and you want to know more about the winter leagues, then hopefully this primer can help.  You might be a casual fan and just want to move from being casual to fanatical like some of the rest of us.  If so, as the popular song goes, let’s get it started.


Offseason Leagues

There are essentially six off-season leagues.  This off-season, Braves’ organizational players can be found in the Arizona Fall League (AFL), the Caribbean Leagues (which consist of four separate leagues), and the Australian Baseball League.

aflArizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League is sometimes referred to as the finishing school for some of baseball’s most talented, top prospects.  The AFL is composed of six teams in all, is owned and operated by Major League Baseball, and is comprised of players from all of baseballs current 30 clubs.

As our own Jeff Schafer reported back on October 30th, there are eight players from the Braves’ organization playing in the AFL this off-season, and each of them play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.   You can click on any of the provided links, from the AFL, to the Scottsdale Scorpions to any listed player, and bookmark those links to find information, stats, etc., about how they’re doing this off-season in the AFL.

AFL – Scottsdale Scorpions

Robby Hefflinger (Outfielder)
Kyle Kubitza (Infielder – 3B)
Tommy La Stella (Infielder – 2B)
Elmer Reyes (Infielder – SS)
John Cornely (Pitcher)
Juan Jaime (Pitcher)
Aaron Northcraft (Pitcher)
Shae Simmons (Pitcher)


carribeanCaribbean Leagues

As I mentioned earlier, the Caribbean Leagues are made up of four separate leagues, the Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican League and Venezuelan Winter League.


Dominican Winter League

The Atlanta Braves have four organizational players playing this off-season in the Dominican Winter League, as listed below with their respective off-season club:

Christian Bethancourt (Catcher – Tigres del Licey)
Omar Luna (2B – Aquilas Cibaenas)
Edward Salcedo (3B – Leones del Escogido)
Wirfin Obispo (Pitcher - Estrellas de Oriente)


Mexican Pacific League

The Atlanta Braves has six organizational players playing this off-season in the Mexican Pacific League, as listed below with their respective off-season club:

Daniel Castro (SS – Yaquis de Obregon)
Ryan Buchter (Pitcher – Tomateros de Culiacan)
Ryan Hinson (Pitcher – Venados de Mazatlan)
Mark Lamm (Pitcher – Yaquis de Obregon)
Daniel Rodriguez (Pitcher – Tomateros de Culiacan)
Andrew Russell (Pitcher – Mayos de Navojoa)


Venezuelan Winter League

The Atlanta Braves have just two organizational players playing this off-season in the Venezuelan Winter League, as listed below with their respective off-season club:

Emerson Landoni (2B – Caribes de Anzoategui)
Ernesto Mejia (1B – Aguilas de Zulia)


im_abllogo_214x121Australian Baseball League

The Australian Baseball League features players from around the globe, including many with ties to Major League organizations.  The ABL includes six teams located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

The Atlanta Braves have just one organizational player playing this off-season in the Australian Baseball League, listed below:

Matt Kennelly (C – Perth Heat)


Final Notes

That’s it!  The primer is really rather simple, although it can seem tough at times to sift through who is playing where, when, etc.  I’ve provided links to all the players, their teams, and the league they play for above, so if you’re one of those casual fans that wants to get more involved in baseball, be sure and follow the links and bookmark accordingly.  Really, the most important link you need is HERE, where you can see at a glance a list of all Atlanta Braves’ organizational players, with links to where they’re playing, and a base of stats for each player.  If you want to dig deeper, bookmark the page HERE.  You’ll get a birds-eye view of all teams, with links to their own organizational players in the off-season.


Important Dates

As provided on the MLB website, below is a listing of important dates you may want to remember.  Occasionally, during the off-season, MLB will air some Winter League and AFL games on television, so keep an eye out for those.  You might get a chance to see some of your favorite minor league players in action.


Arizona Fall League
Opening Day 10/08/2013
AFL Fall Stars Game 11/02/2013
AFL Championship Game 11/16/2013
Dominican Winter League
Opening Day 10/18/2013
DWL All Star Game 12/08/2013
Regular season ends 12/22/2013
Mexican Pacific League
Opening Day 10/11/2013
Second half begins 11/22/2013
Regular season ends 12/30/2013
Puerto Rican League
Opening Day 11/01/2013
Regular season ends 12/30/2013
Venezuelan Winter League
Opening Day 10/10/2013
All-Star Game 12/03/2013
Regular Season ends 12/29/2013
Australian Baseball League
Opening Day 10/31/2013
Regular season ends 01/26/2014



Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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