For the week of November 29-December 5, Wilson Betemit won the Player of the Week Award in the Dominican Winter Baseball League (LIDOM) and John Halama won the Pitcher of the Week. Here is the press release.
Betemit won the award one time last year. He has been an MLB player for six years, splitting time between the minors and majors for most of these. He has had some good years for the Yankees, White Sox, and most recently the Royals. He even won the Royals player of the month award last year for July, so not sure he how he started out in the minors for them last year. He has 24 RBI in 22 games for the Gigantes in the LIDOM this year. Betemit is from Santo Domingo, DR.
John Halama is from Brooklyn and has been at the AAA level since 2005 with various organizations and AAA teams. He played in 262 games in the majors with 5 teams from 1998-2006. Another interesting sight in the LIDOM: a journeyman American pitcher seeing extended playing time. It is more evidence that teams in the LIDOM are concerned about one thing, winning. There is no effort to develop players or play local talent, the teams just want to win the league and go to the Caribbean Series.
For December 6-12, Omar Luna and Yunesky Maya won the awards. Here is the press release.
Luna hit .500 for the week and had a home run and 4 RBI. He has been in the minors since 2007 and reached AAA last year with the Durham Bulls, the Tampa Bays Rays affiliate. He is from Monte Cristi, DR.
Maya is a legit major leaguer in the prime of his career. He was signed by the Nationals last summer, after defecting from Cuba. He won the Cuban equivalent of the Cy Young for the 2008-2009 season. He spent just five games in the Nationals minor league system before being called up and starting 5 games last year. This article from the Federal Baseball blog, tells his story and the story of him signing. He is from Pinar del Rio, Cuba. So many good Cubans, sad we can't see them all play in MLB. They could give Dominicans competition for the most foreign players.