Now that the winter league baseball season is coming to a close, let’s take a look at how a few Royals performed abroad this offseason.
In the Dominican Republic...
Class AAA Omaha player of the year Frank Schwindel didn’t lose much momentum when he switched leagues and started playing in the Dominican Republic.
Fresh off a 2017 campaign during which he set career highs in doubles (43), homers (23) and RBIs (97), Schwindel kept his torrid pace with the Estrellas Orientales. His .317 batting average was one of the highest among imported — that is, non-native — players in the league.
Schwindel slugged .463 with 21 RBIs, nine doubles and three home runs in 30 games. He also walked six times and struck out 13 times.
Schwindel’s regular season ended Thursday night when the Orientales lost to Gigantes del Cibao and were eliminated from contention for the four-team playoffs.
Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and the Tigres del Licey secured a spot in the league’s round robin tournament with a win on the same night. The Tigres del Licey will compete against three other teams to determine who will represent the island in the annual Serie del Caribe, or Caribbean Series, later this winter.
In 24 games for Licey, Bonifacio batted .266/.324/.415 with six doubles, one triple, two homers and 16 RBIs. He also struck out 24 times in 94 at-bats.
The Royals expected Bonifacio to compete in the Dominican league through the month of December, but he could very well try to help the Tigres win a second consecutive league title when the tournament begins on Tuesday.
In Mexico ...
Royals minor league outfielder Billy Burns, who played for Omaha in 2017, completed his winter stint with the Charros de Jalisco in November.
In 29 games there, he slashed .275/.333/.301, drove in four runs, drew 11 walks and struck out 17 times. He went 10 of 12 in stolen bases.
In Venezuela ...
Jecksson Flores, a 24-year-old shortstop from Bolivar, Venezuela, has put together a steady offseason in his home country.
Flores, who played for the Class A-Advanced Wilmington Blue Rocks this season, has hit .306/.351/.417 for the Cardenales de Lara. He has five extra-base hits, including one homer, and 12 RBIs in 34 games.