On Saturday night in the Dominican, Edwin Espinal had a huge game. Two days earlier, the 20-year-old first baseman started for the first time this winter and collected three hits. He did himself one better in his second start, collecting four hits, scoring twice and he drove in a run. Espinal is 7-for-14 in five games. What he has done the last two starts is fairly impressive considering his age and the fact he spent the season in Low-A ball. For comparison sake, Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco, coming off their strong seasons in Low-A in 2012, went a combined 7-for-42 that winter in the Dominican.
The starter for Espinal’s team was Wandy Rodriguez, who threw four shutout innings. In the seventh inning, Nate Baker came in and threw a scoreless frame. He gave up a single, with no walks or strikeouts. Baker has given up one run in 3.2 innings over six appearances. He’s seeing limited work, but has five straight scoreless outings.
Espinal wasn’t the only one getting on base on Saturday. Mel Rojas Jr. walked twice and singled in three plate appearances. He also drove in his 11th run of the year. Rojas is hitting .246 in 40 games, with nine doubles, a triple and 16 walks.
Carlos Paulino went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He is hitting .133 in his last nine games. He is still a free agent.
In Venezuela, Elias Diaz went 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. We mentioned the other day that Diaz had three walks in his first 11 games. He has five now in his last two games. On defense, he made his second error of the year, this time on a bad throw to second base during the only stolen base attempt of the game.
Junior Sosa went 1-for-3 with a walk, RBI and run scored. He also picked up an outfield assist.
In Puerto Rico, Yhonathan Barrios was coming off two straight solid outings, but he ran into trouble on Saturday. He faced three batters, giving up one run on a single and two walks. He has ten strikeouts in 7.1 innings this winter, though that doesn’t tell the whole story. He has a 12.27 ERA and has allowed 19 base runners.
In Australia on Sunday afternoon, Sam Kennelly started his second game and went 0-for-3. He played second base on Sunday and has also seen time at shortstop and third base in the four games he’s played this off-season. He is 2-for-7 with two singles.
In Panama, Edgar Munoz went 1-for-3 with a walk, RBI and run scored. He has a 1.091 OPS through six games.
Ashley Ponce went 3-for-5 with a run scored. He came into the game with two hits in his first five games.
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.