Four Pirates Taken in the Dominican Winter League Draft

The Dominican Winter League held it’s annual draft today and four Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players were taken among the 146 picks. The DWL draft allows teams to reserve players that usually aren’t quite ready for the league yet, so it’s basically players in the low levels of the minors. An example of that was two years ago when Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson and Willy Garcia were all taken within the first 12 picks and it was after their impressive seasons at West Virginia.

The picks this year were first baseman Edwin Espinal, pitcher Isaac Sanchez, infielder Chris Diaz and Maximo Rivera, who was announced as a center fielder, though he plays almost anywhere in the field.

Espinal was the highest pick, going in the ninth round, 53rd overall to the Aguilas Cibaenas. Isaac Sanchez went ten rounds and 60 picks later, also to the Aguilas. They will be teammates with Willy Garcia.

Diaz and Rivera were among the last players picked, going 143rd and 145th respectively. Diaz was taken by the Gigantes Del Cibao, while Rivera was selected by the Toros Del Estes, where he will be teammates with Alen Hanson.

  • Does the relatively few selections and low position indicate a lack of quality presently at the Pirates Dominican academy?

    • I would say it’s just an off year. Hanson, Polanco and Garcia were all taken with the top 12 picks and they all played at the academy. Guys like Joely Rodriguez, Starling Marte and some others are already in the league and went through the academy. You probably wouldn’t get any DSL players from this year in the league due to their age and you have to remember that there are also leagues in Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Panama and Nicaragua, so players from those countries would play in their own league.