MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE: Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. finishes strong

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. (St. Francis High, 2000) designated hitter/first baseman, Leones de Yucatan: Though Leones de Yucatan finished 50-61 and didn’t qualify for the triple-A Mexican League postseason after taking sixth in the league’s Sur Division, Valenzuela certainly put up stellar numbers by season’s end.

Valenzuela, who transferred to UNLV after playing at Glendale Community College, finished the season batting .346 (131 for 379) with five home runs and 56 runs batted in. In 104 games, Valenzuela registered 26 doubles, two triples and scored 53 runs. He had 176 total bases and walked 33 times.

Leones De Yucatan finished its season Aug. 3 with an 8-6 home loss to Olmecas de Tabasco. Valenzuela didn’t participate in the 16-inning contest.

However, Valenzuela, 30, finished up the season on a positive note. In his last 10 games, Valenzuela batted .324 (11 for 34) and scored four runs. He collected two hits in each of his last two games.

Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) outfielder, Winston-Salem Dash: De Pinto, who helped the Golden Knights advance to the CIF Southern Section Division II championship game in 2006, has struggled over his last 10 games at the plate.

He’s batting .100 (three for 30) in that stretch with one run batted in for the Dash, who are the class-A advanced affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The former All-Mission League honoree did hit safely in two straight games and scored one run in each contest.

In a road game against the Salem Red Sox on Aug. 9, De Pinto had a lead-off single in the third inning. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Curley to give the Dash a 2-0 lead. Winston-Salem would go on to score two more runs in the inning before suffering a 10-4 loss.

De Pinto, 24, also had a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth inning of a game against the Wilmington Blue Rocks and scored on a wild pitch in Winston-Salem’s 4-2 loss.

Going into Friday’s home game against Salem, De Pinto is batting .248 (40 for 161) with three home runs and 13 runs batted in. He recorded four stolen bases in 49 games.

Alonzo Gonzalez (Glendale Community College, 2012) pitcher, Vancouver Canadians: Gonzalez is still trying to get on back on track with Vancouver, the class-A short affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gonzalez, a left-hander, encountered some choppy waters in his last starting assignment against the host Boise Hawks on Aug. 8. Gonzalez, 21, gave up four runs (all earned) and yielded six hits in 4 2/3 innings in Vancouver’s 7-5 defeat. He faced 20 batters, striking out two and walking a pair.

In a relief assignment Tuesday against the Everett AquaSox on Tuesday, Gonzalez fared better. In 3 1/3 innings, Gonzalez, who helped Glendale college capture the Western State Conference South Division championship in 2012, allowed two hits and struck out two in Vancouver’s 5-3 loss.

Entering Friday’s game against the visiting Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Gonzalez is 0-2 with a 3.54 earned-run average. He struck out 16 in 20 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs and eight walks.

Lonnie Kauppila (La Crescenta native) infielder, Everett AquaSox: It’s been a rough going for Kauppila since joining Everett. The former two-time All-Area Baseball Player of the Year, who also attended Crescenta Valley High and played at Stanford, has had a tough time getting started for the AquaSox, who are the class-A short affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Kauppila, who was the 477th selection in the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, is batting .139 (10 for 72) with three runs batted in and one stolen base. He’s scored seven runs in 23 games through Thursday.

Kauppila, 21, had a one-out single and scored on a hit by Chantz Mack in the top of the fifth inning of Everett’s 5-3 victory against the Vancouver Canadians on Tuesday. Everett scored three runs in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. Defensively, he helped turn three double plays while playing second base.

The AquaSox entered Friday’s contest against the Eugene Emeralds at 10-11 and in second place in the Northwest League’s North Division.

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