Monday night was a slow night in winter ball, with just one game scheduled in each active league. In the Dominican, Wirfin Obispo retired all three batters he faced. He has thrown 4.1 innings, allowing just one unearned run. In Venezuela, Julio Vivas threw a scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit. He has thrown 2.2 scoreless innings over four appearances, giving up one hit and no walks. In Mexico, Dean Anna went 0-for-3 with an RBI. He was also hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.
On Tuesday in Mexico, Stetson Allie went 0-for-3 with a walk. He has reached base at least once in all 14 games this season. Allie has a .291/.391/.345 slash line in 64 plate appearances. He has an 8:18 BB/SO ratio, but hasn’t shown any power yet in a league known for offense. Allie has just three extra-base hits, all doubles. His .736 OPS ranks 26th in the league, while his slugging has him ranked 37th overall and it’s 14 points below his team’s average. His OBP is in line with what we have seen from him during the last two regular seasons, in which he led all Pirates minor league players with walks each year. So he is getting on base, just not getting past first base often.
Just like with Josh Bell’s lack of power recently, there is little reason to worry about Allie yet. The overall talent in Mexico this time of year is better than what Allie saw in AA. There is also the matter of 14 games being a small sample size. Unlike Bell, who went 200 plate appearances during the regular season without a homer, Allie was hitting them at a nice clip at the end of the year for Altoona.
The pitcher Allie faced yesterday is typical of the opposition he has seen this off-season. Tommy Solis is a 32-year-old that has been pitching in the Mexican Pacific League since 2002 and that league is AAA equivalent, the highest level of play in Mexico. The pitcher for Allie’s team was Jose Contreras, yes that Jose Contreras. On Sunday, Allie faced Alejandro Armenta, a 36-year-old lefty that began his baseball career back in 1997. Basically, these aren’t the type of pitchers that Allie was seeing in AA this year.
During the regular season, he had a stretch of 16 games and another one that lasted 14 games, in which he didn’t hit a home run(or hit much at all for that matter). The important thing is that he is keeping his approach at the plate the same. He is getting on base at a strong clip and the strikeout rate is about the same as he has during the regular season. That obviously isn’t a good strikeout rate, but it’s good to see that it isn’t getting worse. Allie is getting a taste of the type of competition he will see next year and perhaps a little bit of struggling isn’t a bad thing. It could confirm what he already knows, there is still a bit of work to do before he can be considered major league ready.
Back to the rest of the action from Tuesday night. Dean Anna went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts. For the second straight game, he was hit by a pitch. Anna has reached base in all 15 starts this winter.
In the Dominican, Wirfin Obispo pitched for the second straight game and faced three batters. He allowed one unearned run on a single, double and he picked up a strikeout.
Rafael Perez made his fourth appearances and struck out the only batter he faced. He has allowed two runs over three innings, though he’s thrown shutout ball in three of his outings.
In Venezuela, Jhonathan Ramos made his fourth appearance and retired the side in order. He has thrown 3.1 shutout innings this winter season.
The winter leagues in Australia and Puerto Rico both start play tomorrow. We will have a complete list of Pirates players when they become available. As of right now, Sam Kennelly and Nick Hutchings will play in Australia and Yhonathan Barrios will play in Puerto Rico, but there should be at least a couple more.
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.