2016 Caribbean Series
The 2016 Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was the forty-sixth edition of the second stage of the Caribbean Series. It was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from February 1-7, 2016. The series featured five teams from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Venezuela.
The host Dominican League dedicated the tournament in honor of Juan Marichal, the country's first Hall of Famer and former sports minister. he delivered the ceremonial first pitch for the opening game. However, their representative, Escogido, was winless in the tournament, while the winners, the Venados de Mazatlán, were the first team in a decade to go through the entire week undefeated.
|Venados de Mazatlán||Mexican Pacific League||6||6||0||1.000||Juan José Pacho|
|Tigres de Aragua||Venezuelan League||6||4||2||.667||Eddie Perez|
|Cangrejeros de Santurce||Puerto Rican League||5||2||3||.400||Ramon Vazquez|
|Tigres de Ciego de Ávila||Cuban Serie Nacional||5||1||4||.200||Roger Machado|
|Leones del Escogido||Dominican League||4||0||4||.000||Luis Rojas|
- The Tigres de Ciego de Ávila were in their first Caribbean Series after winning the 2014-2015 Cuban Serie Nacional.
- The Leones del Escogido won their 16th Dominican League title. They have won four prior Caribbean Series, most recently in 2012.
- The Venados de Mazatlán took their 9th Mexican Pacific League pennant. They won the 2005 Caribbean Series.
- The Cangrejeros de Santurce had won 14 Puerto Rican League championships and five Caribbean Series, their most recent Caribbean Series title coming in 2000. They were the only repeat team from the 2015 Series.
- The Tigres de Aragua captured their tenth Venezuelan League title. They won the 2009 Caribbean Series.
- Batting Average: .480 - José Martínez, Aragua
- Home Runs: 2 - Neftali Soto, Santurce
- Runs Batted In: 8 - Yuniesky Betancourt, Mazatlán
- Wins: 2 - Héctor Daniel Rodríguez, Mazatlán
- C: Sebastián Valle, Mazatlán (.455/.455/.636, 7 RBI in 3 G)
- 1B: Neftali Soto, Santurce (.375/.423/.750, 5 RBI)
- 2B: Yulieski Gourriel, Ciego de Ávila (.450/.500/.500)
- SS: Juniel Querecuto, Aragua (.259/.310/.296)
- 3B: Adonis García, Aragua (.308/.379/.346)
- RF: Alex Romero, Aragua (.182/.345/.273, 5 R)
- CF: Justin Greene, Mazatlán (.360/.407/.400)
- LF: José Martínez, Aragua (.480/.500/.800, 7 R, 7 RBI)
- DH: Dariel Álvarez, Aragua (.458/.480/.583, 6 R)
- RHP: Freddy Garcia, Aragua (1-0, 2.38)
- LHP: Héctor Daniel Rodríguez, Mazatlán (2-0, 2.45)
- Reliever: Steven Hensley, Mazatlán (1-0, 2 Sv, 0 R in 3 1/3 IP)
- Manager: Juan José Pacho, Mazatlán
|Win: Freddy Garcia (1-0) Loss: Adalberto Flores (0-1) Save: Renee Cortez (1)|
Aragua turned to veteran Freddy Garcia, who was making his first Caribbean Series appearance after 150 wins in the majors and an ERA title; he was slated to retire at the end of the Series. LF Rubén Sosa opened off him with a triple; with one out, 1B Neftali Soto singled him in. Garcia then settled down, allowing only two more hits and one walk in the next 5 2/3 innings, tossing shutout ball.
The Tigres meanwhile had to do battle with Puerto Rican League Pitcher of the Year Adalberto Flores. They got two runs in the 2nd but that's all they would need thanks to Garcia's fine pitching. 1B Félix Pérez walked, RF Dariel Álvarez singled and LF José Martínez smacked a two-run triple. Following Garcia, Aragua got shutout relief from 2015 Italian Series MVP Alexis Candelario (2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K), José Mijares (1 out in the 9th) and Renee Cortez (2 outs in the 9th).
|Win: Héctor Daniel Rodríguez (1-0) Loss: Greg Reynolds (0-1) Save: Steven Hensley (1)|
Mexico handed the hosts an opening defeat. The scoring began in the 2nd. 1B Cyle Hankerd singled and 3B Yuniesky Betancourt drew a walk from Greg Reynolds. DH Olmo Rosario hit into a force at second. 2B Esteban Quiroz grounded back to Reynolds and the former #2 overall draft pick made an error to make it 1-0. In the 3rd, CF Justin Greene continued his strong performance from the LMP playoffs, legging out an infield hit with one out then moving to third on a single by LF and former Series MVP Chris Roberson. Hankerd drew a walk. Betancourt grounded to 3B Pedro Ciriaco, who had no shot at the speedy Greene at home, so went to second for a run-scoring force.
Escogido tied it in the bottom of the 3rd against former LMB strikeout king Héctor Daniel Rodríguez. SS Pedro López had a one-out single then 2B Leury García smacked an inside-the-park two-run homer to right-center, capped by a head-first slide into home. The Venados went ahead for good in the 5th. Greene and Roberson singled, then Reynolds was relieved by Edgar Garcia. Betancourt grounded into a force at second but Leury García's throw to first went wide and Greene again used his wheels, speeding home with what would be the winning run.
|Ciego de Ávila||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||3||11||1|
|Win: Eddie Gamboa (1-0) Loss: Vladimir García (0-1)|
Cuba's hopes of a title defense started on a rocky note as they were routed by the Venados despite having more hits. Vladimir García hit 1B Cyle Hankerd to open the bottom of the 2nd. With one out, defector 3B Yuniesky Betancourt singled and 2B Esteban Quiroz walked. C Sebastián Valle smacked a bases-clearing double to center. In the 3rd, Hankerd hit a two-out dinger off Yoanni Yera to make it 4-0.
Mexico kept building their lead in the 4th. Betancourt walked and Quiroz singled. Betancourt was caught stealing third as Valle whiffed, Quiroz taking second. SS Ramon Urias, the #9 hitter, came through with a RBI single for a 5-0 score. Cuba made it a game in the 6th. 2B Yulieski Gourriel doubled off Eddie Gamboa, who had pitched shutout ball for five innings. With two outs, the Tigres got four hits in a row as 1B Ariel Borrero, CF José Adolis García, SS Yorbis Borroto and LF Lourdes Gourriel Jr., the 6-9 hitters, to make it 5-3. Jovany Lopez relieved and fanned PH Yoelvis Fiss to prevent further harm.
The Venados then got some insurance in the bottom of the inning. Betancourt drew a walk from Yalfredo Dominguez and Quiroz singled him to third; Miguel Lahera relieved Dominguez. With two outs, he walked Urias then threw an eight-pitch walk to RF Jeremias Pineda to force in a run. In the bottom of the 7th, LF Chris Roberson singled and stole a base. With two outs, Betancourt doubled him in for his 4th time on base. Quiroz was intentionally walked, then Valle doubled for the second time, scoring both runners. That gave Betancourt and Quiroz each three runs and Valle five RBI.
|Win: Ronald Belisario (1-0) Loss: José Veras (0-1)|
The hosts burst out to a strong start but faded to fall to 0-2 while Aragua went to 2-0 with their comeback win. 3B Diory Hernández led off the 2nd with a single off Austin Bibens-Dirkx. 1B Alex Valdez hit into an error by his counterpart, Félix Pérez, With one out, CF Junior Lake and C Carlos Paulino both delivered run-scoring singles, then SS Pedro López hit a two-run double.
Aragua started their comeback in the bottom of that frame. With one out, Adrian Salcedo plunked DH Dariel Álvarez and LF José Martínez doubled. 2B Hernan Pérez grounded in a run. In the bottom of the 3rd, SS Juniel Querecuto walked with one out; with two away, 3B Adonis García doubled. Félix Pérez singled in one run then Álvarez tied the game with a two-run three-bagger.
In the top of the 4th, RF Moises Sierra and Lake both singled to chase Bibens-Dirkx in favor of Osmer Morales. Paulino greeted him with a run-scoring single for a 5-4 edge. In the bottom of the 5th, Ramon Garcia issued one-out walks to RF Alex Romero and Adonis García then Félix Pérez singled to tie the game again.
Escogido retook the lead in the top of the 6th when Lake took Wil Ledezma deep with two outs. They then got a shot at more as Paulino walked and López singled. Jesús Sánchez relieved Ledezma and walked 2B Leury García. That brought up DH Lew Ford, MVP of the Dominican League finals. With a key situation here, Sánchez sent down Ford swinging. That would be critical as Aragua made their comeback later.
The Leones got their last run in the top of the 7th. Diory Hernández hit into an error by Hernan Pérez with one out and Valdez hit into a force out. Sierra singled to right and an error by Romero on the play let Valdez score to make it 7-5. The Dominicans just needed to close it out now. In the bottom of the 8th, Álvarez remained hot with a single off Wirfin Obispo. José Martínez walked. Paulino made an error on a pick-off try, sending Álvarez to third, putting him in position to score on a sacrifice fly by Hernan Pérez.
In the bottom of the 9th, Escogido turned to 2013 World Baseball Classic star and 2014 AL saves leader Fernando Rodney to close out the game. He failed to put it away as Romero and Adonis García had one-out singles but Rodney retired Félix Pérez. Álvarez singled for his third hit of the day, tying the game at 7. José Martínez hit into an error by Leury García to load the bases, but Adonis García was caught stealing home to end the threat.
In the top of the 10th, Ronald Belisario gave up a two-out hit to Paulino but nothing else. In the bottom of the inning, José Veras relieved Rodney and Hernan Pérez greeted him with a double. C Sandy León bunted him to third, then Veras retired PH and Series veteran Álex Núñez. Querecuto then came up in the clutch with a game-winning single to center to score Pérez to end the exciting contest.
|Win: Alejandro Soto (1-0) Loss: Omar Bencomo (0-1) Save: Steven Hensley (2)|
The Venados were the first team to clinch a spot in the semifinals by improving to 3-0. The Tigres got on the board in the top of the third against Alejandro Soto as 1B Oscar Salazar singled and advanced on a wild pitch; with two outs, CF Alex Romero was plunked and 3B Adonis García singled in Salazar. In the bottom of the 4th, Mexico went ahead. After three shutout frames from Omar Bencomo, RF Alex Liddi greeted him with a triple. One out later, DH Jorge Vázquez was hit by a pitch. 3B Yuniesky Betancourt then hit a two-run double to left. After an out, he came home on a single by C Erick Rodríguez.
In the top of the 6th, Venezuela made it a one-run game as LF Dariel Álvarez singled. Sergio Valenzuela relieved Soto but gave up hits to RF José Martínez and 2B Hernan Pérez to make it 3-2. Hector Galvan relieved and retired Salazar to prevent further harm. In the bottom of the inning, Mexico got back that run and added further insurance. 1B Cyle Hankerd opened with a single off Pedro Hernandez. Jose Flores relieved. With two outs, 2B Esteban Quiroz doubled. Rodríguez hit into a run-scoring error by Adonis García for a 5-2 score.
In the top of the 7th, Aragua had a shot, loading the bases, but Esmailin Caridad retired the hot Álvarez in the clutch. In the bottom of the 7th, CF Justin Greene singled (his third hit) off Gumercindo Gonzalez. With one out, he stole second. With two outs, Hankerd singled off Jesús Sánchez to give Mexico a four-run cushion.
Venezuela came back in the top of the 8th against Jake Sanchez. Martínez and Hernan Pérez both singled and a passed ball by Rodríguez scored Martínez. With one out, C Sandy León singled to make it 6-4. In the 9th, Steven Hensley entered as the eighth pitcher for the Venados. He got one walk but walked DH Félix Pérez and Álvarez singled to put the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the form of Martínez, who was 3-for-4 to that point. He hit into a force out to put runners at the corners, then Hernan Pérez flew out to end the game.
Aragua banged out 15 hits but stranded 12 runners; Martínez, Álvarez and García each had three hits in a losing cause.
|Ciego de Ávila||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||4||1|
|Win: Andrew Barbosa (1-0) Loss: Wilber Pérez (0-1)|
Puerto Rico got its first win with a romp over Cuba. DH Kennys Vargas hit a three-run homer in a 11-batter, five-run 3rd against three different Cuban hurlers; Liván Moinelo was charged with five runs in a third of an inning. C Rene Garcia added four RBI and CF Henry Ramos scores four times.
Ciego de Ávila got its lone run in the bottom of the 5th when CF Yoelvis Fiss singled off Andrew Barbosa and came around on a hit by 1B Yorelvis Charles. Miguel Mejia, Chris Smith, Efrain Nieves and Alex Burgos each add a shutout inning of relief for Santurce, allowing only a single hit and not a walk.
|Ciego de Ávila||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||6||2|
|Win: Osmer Morales (1-0) Loss: Vladimir Baños (0-1) Save: Ronald Belisario (1)|
Cuba got its best pitching performance yet but remained winless as Venezuela locked up a semifinal spot. In the top of the 2nd, defector DH Dariel Álvarez hit into an error by 3B Yulieski Gourriel (one of six miscues today). LF José Martínez hit into an error by 1B Ariel Borrero; Álvarez was thrown out trying to score on the play. 2B Hernan Pérez singled off Vladimir Baños and C Sandy León hit a sacrifice fly.
Cuban CF José Adolis García singled, stole second and took third on a throwing error by León in the bottom of the 2nd but SS Yordan Manduley flew out to strand him. In the top of the 3rd, SS Juniel Querecuto singled and RF Alex Romero doubled him in. Baños retired 3B Adonis García (playing against brother José Adolis García for the first time as a pro) then intentionally walked 1B Félix Pérez. Baños got his second defector of the inning by retiring Álvarez but Martínez delivered a RBI single for a 3-0 lead. Cuba's bullpen shut down Venezuela after that, with four shutout innings from Liván Moinelo and two more from Yander Guevara.
Aragua decided to rest their pitchers for the second round by spreading out the workload, using 7 different hurlers, each throwing 1 or 2 innings. In the bottom of the 7th, Renee Cortez allowed the lone Cuban run. José Adolis García tripled and scored on a one-out grounder by Manduley. For the day, José Adolis García had outhit his brother, 2-0, each getting four at-bats. The Tigres of Aragua, though, had beaten the Tigres of Ciego de Ávila.
|Win: Fernando Cruz (1-0) Loss: Wirfin Obispo (0-1)|
Santurce won a 14-inning battle in dramatic fashion. Escogido's César Valdéz tossed seven shutout innings (3 H, 0 BB, 6 K) and Santurce's Mario Santiago matched him for four. In the 5th, DH Jimmy Paredes took Santiago deep for a 1-0 Dominican lead. After that, Puerto Rican relievers shut out the hosts for nine innings, with Joseph Colon, Alex Claudio, Ricardo Gomez, Fernando Cabrera, Jose De La Torre and Fernando Cruz each working an inning or two. The Dominicans had a good shot in the top of the 9th, loading the bases with one out against Gomez, but 1B Alex Valdez whiffed and CF Junior Lake lined out.
After Valdéz, Escogido got a shutout 8th from Joel Peralta. Rafael Soriano came to close it out but the 2010 AL Reliever of the Year failed just as had fellow MLB closer Fernando Rodney earlier in the Series for the Leones. With two outs, PH Juan Silva drilled a double, then 1B Neftali Soto tripled him in. DH Kennys Vargas was intentionally walked. PH Jesmuel Valentin flew out to send the game to extra innings.
|Win: Jesus Barraza (1-0) Loss: Efrain Nieves, Jr. (0-1)|
The Deer kept up their charge despite a slow start. They went ahead in the top of the 3rd. LMP Finals MVP SS Paul Leon hit into a two-base error by 3B T.J. Rivera. With two outs, RF Jeremias Pineda hit a RBI single; the unearned run was the only run Hiram Burgos gave up in 5 2/3 IP against the eventual tournament champs.
Santurce took the lead in the bottom of the 4th. Rivera hit into an error by Leon in a reversal of the prior frame. CF Henry Ramos hit into an error by 2B Ramon Urias. RF Daniel Ortiz had a run-scoring single to tie it. With two away, Santurce tried a double steal and an error by C Sebastian Valle (Mexico's third miscue of the inning) made it 2-1.
From there, neither team scored until the 7th, when Pineda hit a two-out triple off Efrain Nieves, Jr. and CF Justin Greene plated him with a single to tie the score. Mexico then erupted in the 8th. DH Jorge Vázquez singled, as did Valle. LF Olmo Rosario bunted them over and 1B Luis Juarez was intentionally walked. Mazatlán then exploded for four consecutive doubles to score six runs. PH Cyle Hankerd hit a two-run double, Urias hit a two-run double, Pineda greeted reliever Alex Burgos with an RBI double and Greene hit a RBI double as well. Pineda, Greene and Vázquez all finished the day with three hits.
Puerto Rico got a bit closer in the 8th and 9th. 1B Neftali Soto homered off Jesus Barraza in the 8th. In the 9th, facing Hector Galvan, 2B Jose Lozada hit into an error by Pineda. PH Juan Silva and PH Jesmuel Valentin both singled. Soto hit into a run-scoring double play, bringing up DH Kennys Vargas, the Puerto Rican League MVP. He popped up to end the game, however.
|Ciego de Ávila||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||4||8||1|
|Win: Miguel Lahera (1-0) Loss: Fernando Rodney (0-1) Save: José Angel García (1)|
In the last game of the round-robin, the two winless teams faced off with the last spot in the semifinals at stake. The Escogido bullpen let them down yet again as Ciego de Ávila won their first Series game ever. In the top of the 2nd, Cuba got their lone run off Dominican starter Edwar Cabrera. LF Alfredo Despaigne hit into an error by 3B Diory Hernández. With two outs, 3B Yeniet Perez drove him in. In the bottom of the 2nd, the Leones took the lead. Hernández singled off Vladimir García and after two outs, 1B Alex Valdez singled as well. C Wilkin Castillo smacked a two-run double.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Escogido loaded the bases with one out against García but CF Junior Lake flew out and DH Jimmy Paredes fanned. They also loaded the bases in the 4th but LF Zoilo Almonte grounded out to blow that opportunity. From there, things quieted down until the 8th. PH Stayler Hernández hit a one-out triple for the Tigres off Joel Peralta and came home on a fly from 2B Yulieski Gourriel.
In the top of the 11th, DH Yosvani Alarcón hit into an error by Dominican reliever Fernando Rodney and 1B Guillermo Aviles singled. Backup 3B Yurisbel Gracial laid down a bunt and everyone was safe to load the bags. Rodney recovered to whiff RF Lourdes Gourriel Jr. and PH Ariel Borrero. Rafael Soriano relieved Rodney but CF José Adolis García delivered a two-run single.
Escogido started the bottom of the 11th well as Miguel Lahera walked Paredes (Lahera leaving after 4 2/3 shutout innings) and Yunier Cano hit Valdez. José Angel García relieved and was the second José A. García to come up big this inning for Cuba. Backup C Carlos Paulino bunted the runners over to put the tying run in scoring position, but García struck out PH Lew Ford and 2B Leury García grounded out to first to end the contest.
Escogido was the first winless team since 2006, when 2016 champion Mazatlán was 0-6. Their bullpen had been responsible for 3 of the 4 losses despite some prominent pitchers.
|Win: Marcus Walden (1-0) Loss: Adalberto Flores (0-2)|
Aragua rolled into the finals with a romp over Santurce. The Crabbers briefly held the lead. LF Ruben Sosa led off the game with a single off Jordan Walden and RF Danny Ortiz singled, but was thrown out trying for second as Sosa went to third. 1B Neftali Soto grounded in Sosa. In the bottom of the 2nd, the Tigers went ahead for good.
1B Félix Pérez drew a walk from Adalberto Flores and DH Dariel Álvarez singled. With one out, 2B Hernan Pérez singled and an error on the play by CF Henry Ramos made it 1-1 with another runner on third. C Sandy León hit a sacrifice fly to put Aragua ahead and they never looked back in the rout.
|Ciego de Ávila||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||2||7||0|
|Win:Héctor Daniel Rodríguez (2-0) Loss: Vladimir Baños (0-2)|
Mexico beat defending champion Cuba to go to the finals. Héctor Daniel Rodríguez and Vladimir Baños each pitched shutout ball for 3 innings. In the bottom of the 4th, the Deer got on the board with a multinational attack. 3B Alex Liddi (Italy) doubled, 1B Cyle Hankerd (USA) walked, DH Jorge Vázquez (Mexico) walked and SS Yuniesky Betancourt (Cuba) singled to make it 1-0. Liván Moinelo relieved but walked 2B Esteban Quiroz to force in Hankerd. Yander Guevara quickly succeeded Moinela and got C Erick Rodríguez to hit into a double play, but another run scored to make it 3-0.
In the bottom of the 6th, Vázquez and Betancourt singled off Guevara. Yoanni Yera relieved and Quiroz bunted into a force out at third. Erick Rodríguez singled for a 4-0 lead. In the top of the 7th, PH Lourdes Gourriel Jr. (playing his last game before defecting) drew a walk from Héctor Daniel Rodríguez, who was yanked in favor of Terance Marin. PH Guillermo Aviles and PH Osvaldo Vázquez both singled to put Cuba on the board.
Mazatlán added plenty of insurance in the bottom of the 7th. LF Chris Roberson hit a ground-rule double to chase Yera in favor of Yalfredo Dominguez. With one out, Hankerd was intentionally walked and Jorge Vázquez was plunked. Betancourt then got his third hit of the contest, a bases-clearing double good for a 7-1 lead. Cuba got their last run in the top of the 8th. 2B Yulieski Gourriel (also defecting after the game) drew a walk from Esmailin Caridad and LF Alfredo Despaigne doubled him in. With two outs, Lourdes Gourriel Jr. and Aviles (who stayed in at 1B) both drew walks to load the bases. A homer would have cut the gap to one run. Jake Sanchez relieved, though, and struck out Osvaldo Vázquez (who stayed in at catcher) to escape the jam.
|Win: Steven Hensley (1-0) Loss: Renee Cortez (0-1)|
Aragua turned to former major league star Freddy Garcia to try to win the Series while Mazatlán countered with knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, who had pitched as high as AAA. The Venados got to Garcia first; in the bottom of the 3rd, 2B Esteban Quiroz singled and was bunted over by C Sebastián Valle. LF Chris Roberson singled in Quiroz and went to second on the throw in. RF Jeremias Pineda bunted Roberson to third, putting him in position to score on a wild pitch by Garcia.
In the top of the 5th, Venezuela tied it against Gamboa. LF José Martínez continued his fine Series with a single, then 2B Hernan Pérez went deep to make it 2-2. The game remained deadlocked until the 7th. Martínez struck out against Gamboa but reached on a strike three passed ball by Valle. Pérez singled and C Sandy León laid down a bunt hit. CF Teodoro Martínez singled in his brother but Pérez was thrown out trying to score in what would be a critical play. Jovany Lopez relieved and walked SS Juniel Querecuto then RF Alex Romero hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th, Mexico came back. SS Yuniesky Betancourt singled off Gumercindo Gonzalez. Arcenio León relieved. Quiroz grounded out back to the mound and León threw to first but 1B Félix Pérez made a two-base error. Aragua skipper Eduardo Pérez next turned to Jesús Sánchez but Valle hit a two-run single to tie the score. Then, leading off the bottom of the 9th, DH Jorge Vázquez homered off Renee Cortez for a game-ending blow.
The 7-9 hitters for Aragua (Hernan Pérez, León and Teodoro Martínez) combined to go 9 for 10, but it wasn't enough to stop Mazatlán remarkable unbeaten run through the tournament. They were the first team to manage a perfect record since the Leones del Caracas in 2006.
- Jesse Sanchez: "Caribbean Series begins Monday with balanced field: Clubs from Dominican, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Cuba to compete for title", mlb.com, January 29, 2016. 
- Jesse Sanchez: "Mexico wins Caribbean Series with walk-off: Mazatlan defeats Venezuela to give nation third title in four years", mlb.com, February 7, 2016. 
|Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series)
|Most Valuable Player | Serie Interamericana | Confederación de Béisbol del Caribe|
|Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame|