After his strong 2006 season, Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion couldn't have been blamed for opting out of playing winter ball for some rest and relaxation. The 24-year-old was one of the Reds' bright spots last season, when he hit .276 and tied for third on the team with 72 RBIs.
But Encarnacion apparently isn't satisfied with just being good. He's showing why he's among the game's brightest young stars while playing in the Dominican Winter League. After hitting .292 with four homers and 12 RBIs through 72 regular-season at-bats, Encarnacion is 8-for-22 with a home run and four RBIs in six playoff games.
Encarnacion is one of several Reds prospects playing in the Venezuelan, Mexican Pacific and Dominican Winter Leagues. Here's how they performed this week:
Venezuelan Winter League
IF Ray Olmedo -- Olmedo went 3-for-12 with two RBIs in his last three games. He is hitting .295 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 139 at-bats.
SS Luis Bolivar -- Bolivar collected three hits in 14 at-bats. Though the 25-year-old did not homer, he finished with a .294 batting average and a .369 on-base percentage in 187 at-bats.
SS Alex Gonzalez -- After starting the season with six hits in his first 31 at-bats, Gonzalez went 6-for-10 to finish on a high note. He batted .293 with one home run and three RBIs in 41 at-bats.
IF Anderson Machado -- Machado collected four hits in his final 12 at-bats to raise his average to .208. He cracked one homer and drove in three runs in 77 at-bats.
RHP Carlos Bohorquez -- Bohorquez finished the season with a sparkling 1.31 ERA in 20 2/3 frames. He held opponents to a .183 batting average. The right-hander took the loss, however, in Caracas' 4-3 playoff setback to Magallanes on Jan. 2.
Mexican Pacific League
IF Juan Castro -- Castro batted .182 without a home run or RBI in 22 at-bats.
1B Jesse Gutierrez -- Gutierrez went 6-for-22 over his last seven games to finish the regular season with a .260 batting average, 12 homers and 39 RBIs in 66 games.
OF Norris Hopper -- Hopper hit .296 with two home runs and 18 RBIs in 135 at-bats.
RHP Daniel Guerrero -- Guerrero allowed two runs over six innings, striking out four without issuing a walk.
RHP Tom Shearn -- Shearn went 6-3 with a 2.76 ERA. In 71 2/3 innings, he fanned 61 batters and walked 28.
Dominican Winter League
OF Chris Denorfia -- Denorfia hit .258 with 12 RBIs in 93 at-bats. He did not hit a home run.
C Chad Moeller -- Moeller collected just two hits in 29 at-bats.
1B Joey Votto -- Votto hit .275 with one home run and seven RBIs in 51 at-bats.
RHP Johnny Cueto -- Cueto surrendered six runs over 6 1/3 innings, walking five and striking out six.