Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Five Venados named to CS Dream Team, Bentacourt bypassed

Five members of the Mezatlan Venados, including manager Juan Jose Pacho (pictured), have been named to the 2016 Caribbean Series "Dream Team" following the MexPac champions' six-game sweep of the 58th edition of Latin baseball's annual showcase.

Pacho was named skipper of the Dream Team, which also included Mazatlan outfielder Justin Greene, catcher Sebastian Valle and pitchers Hector Daniel Rodriguez and Steven Hensley.  Here's the list of all selections:

LHP - Hector Daniel Rodriguez (MEX)
RHP - Freddy Garcia (VEN)
  RP - Steven Hensley (MEX)
    C - Sebastian Valle MEX)
  1B - Neftali Soto (PR)
  2B - Yulieski Gourriel (CUBA)
  3B - Adonis Garcia (VEN)
  SS - Juniel Querecuto (VEN)
  LF - Jose A. Martinez (VEN)
  CF - Justin Greene (MEX)
  RF - Alex Romero (VEN)
MGR-Juan Jose Pacho (MEX)

Rodriguez won both his starts for the Venados (most in the CS) and had a 2.45 ERA, Hensley had a CS-best two saves over four scoreless appearances, Valle hit .455 with 7 RBI's in three games, Greene batted .360 with three steals (most in the tournament) and Pacho won his second Serie del Caribe for the Venados.

Venezuela's Aruagua Tigres, who the Venados beat twice, also placed five members on the all-tournament squad, Santurce of Puerto Rico got first baseman Neftali Soto on the list and Cuban second baseman Yulieski Gourriel (who defected with brother Lourdes Jr. after the tournament) was also accorded Dream Team honors.  Aragua outfielder Jose "Cafecito" Martinez (son of the late Carlos "Cafe" Martinez, a seven-year MLB infielder) was named MVP of the tournament after leading all batters with 12 hits, 7 runs and a .480 average.

One curious Dream Team omission was Mazatlan infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, who was edged out as the all-tourney shortstop by Aragua's Juniel Querecuto.  Betancourt hit .438 and led all hitters with a .526 on-base percentage, eight RBI's and three doubles, scoring six times in the bargain.  For his part, Querecuto hit .259 with seven hits (four in one game against Cuba), scored twice and drove in one run, going 1-for-8 in two games against Mazatlan.