Winter Leagues: A.J. Morris Has His Best Winter Outing, Rojas Picks Up Two Hits

From Thursday’s action in Dominican winter ball, Willy Garcia walked as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, then finished the game in center field during his team’s 12-1 win. The walk was his fourth of the season and his only plate appearance of the game.

Rafael Perez was on the other side of the 12-1 loss. He managed to pitch two shutout innings, allowing one walk and no hits. He has given up four runs over 6.1 innings this year.

Catcher Carlos Paulino played his third game, coming off the bench to play defense in the eighth inning. He collected a single in his only at-bat.

In Venezuela, Junior Sosa went 2-for-5 with a double. He batted lead-off and played center field.

Julio Vivas threw two shutout inning, allowing one hit and striking out two batters. He has pitched six times in relief, throwing a total of five shutout innings. Vivas has allowed two hits and hasn’t walked a batter. It’s an impressive showing so far from him, as he spent the majority of this season pitching in the GCL. During the regular season, he had a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings.

Ramon Cabrera singled as a pinch-hitter for the third straight game. Before losing his starting job, he went 7-for-45 and all seven hits were singles.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz pinch-hit for the fourth time and flew out to left field. It was a small victory for Munoz, who struck out in each of his first three at-bats this winter.

Eduardo Vera had a rough inning, giving up four runs on two hits and two walks. As a pitcher that spent the season in the GCL this year, the Mexican winter league is a huge step up in competition.

Friday’s Action

In the Dominican League on Friday, Mel Rojas Jr. went 2-for-4 with his third double of the winter. He is hitting .241 through 15 games.

Willy Garcia went 1-for-4 with a single. He biggest issue popped up for the first time all winter, as he struck out three times. Coming into the game, he had just five strikeouts in 31 at-bats.

Wirfin Obispo pitched a scoreless inning of relief, retiring the side in order. He struck out two batters. In eight appearances, he has throw 6.2 innings without allowing an earned run.

Carlos Paulino went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts before being pinch-hit for in the ninth inning.

In Venezuela, Junior Sosa went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double. He is hitting .325 through 12 games. Sosa played just 12 regular season games for Altoona this year and hit .360, with an .865 OPS.

Jhonathan Ramos threw a scoreless inning. He walked one batter. In eight appearances, Ramos has thrown six shutout innings, giving up just two hits and two walks.

Matt Nevarez had his first tough outing of the winter, giving up four earned runs while recording just one out. He allowed two hits and two walks and picked up the loss. We found out on Friday that Nevarez signed with the Pirates for the 2015 season.

A.J. Morris threw 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing just a walk. It was his longest outing since throwing two innings during his first game on October 9th and just his fourth appearance since his winter debut. Morris has allowed four earned runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings.

In Mexico, Felipe Gonzalez picked up the loss for Mazatlan. He gave up one run on a hit and three walks in 1.2 innings. He has a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings over 11 appearances.

  • John: I am sure you have already explained this many times ,so my apologies. I can see certain differences in the different fall and winter leagues.. How is it decided which players are assigned to which leagues? i.e , Stetsen Allie seems to match more with our personnel in Arizona rather than Mexico.

    • The team he went to in Mexico has numerous Pirates players and they have a working agreement with the team, so I think it was a matter of Josh Bell is already going to the AFL to play first base and the Yankees were sending a first baseman as well, so there wasn’t a lot of room for Allie. Most players in winter ball go to their own home country, but others go where they have offers. The winter ball teams pay more than minor league teams, so some guys are playing winter ball so that they can keep pursuing their dreams in the minors. Occasionally the team will ask players to go and sometimes they are matched up where Pirates coaches are so they know they are in good hands.

      • Man , I think I have smart things to say. Thanks for keeping me humble. That was more info off the top of your head than I could have hoped to get. Very enlightening. I grew up in sight of the AAA field for the Scranton / Wilkes Barre affiliate , then The Red Barons , for the Phillies. My dad owned a used car lot and we had season tickets. We had AAA all-stars working for him as salesmen in the off season. It was like a fantasy for a 12 year old… But I know now , those guys were in their late 20’s and married with children ,and they were broke. Not to mention , tho AAA all- stars , they were what you guys call organizational players and they new it. One left us the following year to return to Reading , the AA affiliate city, and jumped off his used car sales to selling insurance , carving out a successful career . I hadn’t thought of that in over 20 years. Thanks for the memory John.

  • Thanks john.. I don’t know of a forum to ask you questions other then these, so once again I apologize for asking a question out of scope.. with all the discussion on qo and compensatory picks, I was curious on your thoughts on connor joe after his first year? Did you get a chance to see him at all

    • He never played anywhere. Reported to Jamestown, injured his back before he ever played and spent the rest of the time rehabbing his injury down in Bradenton. I followed him during the year because Dan Kirby, who does a great job of covering the draft, was very high on Joe. I thought he was going to go in the third round, older player for his class(he turned 22 during the season), limited upside, but also a higher floor than most players. Basically, if he works out, you have a solid outfielder, if it doesn’t you have a guy that can catch, play 1b/of and be a nice bench player. Not the upside you usually go for with the 39th pick. His missed time and injury obviously set him back a little