The Mazatlan Deer(Venados de Mazatlan) of the Mexican Pacific League released their 2014-15 winter league roster and it is loaded with Pittsburgh Pirates players, including two big prospects. First baseman Stetson Allie and RHP Luis Heredia headline the roster that has eight Pirates players and many players that were once in the Pirates system.
Allie could share first base duties with another Pirates player, Carlos Munoz, who was named to the GCL Postseason All-Star roster this week. Allie hit .246/.362/.440 in 117 games this year for Altoona, connecting on 21 homers for the second straight season. He also led all Pirates minor league players in walks for the second straight year. Munoz had a .798 OPS and a 30:16 BB/K ratio in 197 at-bats this season.
Heredia missed some time earlier in the year with shoulder soreness, so he is looking to make up for lost time and carry his late-season success into the winter. He finished his second season with West Virginia with a 4.15 ERA in 18 starts, posting a 1.35 WHIP and 43:33 K/BB ratio in 89 innings.
The rest of the Pirates players include GCL reliever Eduardo Vera and Gerardo Navarro, who made ten starts and three relief appearances this year. Also listed is pitcher Collin Balester, who played for three different affiliates in the second half of the season while returning from elbow surgery . The last two Pirates on the roster are ones that most people wouldn’t know were still with the organization. Infielder Carlos Esqueda and reliever Jovany Lopez were on loan all season to Veracruz of the Mexican League, so they have been absent from the boxscores all year.
The Mazatlan roster has many former Pirates players as well, including Rogelio Noris, Remberto Romo, Roberto Espinosa, Jesus Barraza and Jose Contreras.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.