Winter Leagues: Joely Rodriguez Outpitches Stolmy Pimentel

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced they signed Gorkys Hernandez and Deibinson Romero on Monday. Both players are taking part in winter ball, with Hernandez playing in Venezuela and Romero seeing time in the Dominican. Neither player is hitting well so far. Hernandez plays for Caribes de Anzoategui and he is hitting .242/.326/.282 in 36 games. Romero is on Leones del Escogido, where he is hitting .222/.243/.278 in 14 games. Fangraphs named him the top minor league free agent.

The only player with ties to the Pittsburgh Pirates to see action on Monday was Carlos Paulino, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Paulino is currently a free agent.

Tuesday’s Action

In the Dominican, the big news was the showdown between Stolmy Pimentel and Joely Rodriguez. They both went five innings and pitched well, but Rodriguez outpitched Pimentel and picked up the win. Pimentel allowed two runs on five hits, two walks and he has two strikeouts. Rodriguez threw five shutout innings, giving up three hits, with no walks and five strikeouts. Pimentel did do better in one regard, posting a 9:1 GO/AO ratio in the game. He has given up three runs over his last 15 innings. Rodriguez threw three shutout innings in his debut last week.

Carlos Paulino caught Joely Rodriguez and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.

Willy Garcia went 1-for-3, with an RBI single and a run scored.

Mel Rojas Jr. pinch-hit in the fifth inning and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. He stayed in the game in left field.

Tony Sanchez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He allowed three stolen bases in three attempts and he’s 2-for-8 in throwing out runners.

The Venezuelan League held their All-Star game and Junior Sosa had an RBI single and a run scored. He also drove in another run with a sacrifice fly. He was the only Pirates player in the game.

In Mexico,  Sebastian Valle went 1-for-2 with a walk. He is 11-for-28 with six walks in his last ten games.

Felipe Gonzalez threw 3.1 shutout innings, allowing one hits and one walk. He struck out three batters. It was an impressive outing considering his team’s starter allowed six runs in 1.2 innings. Gonzalez followed him, taking his team through the first five innings. The pitcher that followed him gave up three runs and recorded just one out.

  • John, what the heck is the real book on Joely Rodriguez ? I have seen such varying reports… Is this winter indicative of a guy turning a corner, finding consistency , ready to be a #4 or 5 starter ?

    • I was talking to Tim about him yesterday and I said that if I could fast forward five years down the line, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rodriguez was a solid #3 starter or he never made the majors and anything in between is possible too. He can throw mid-90’s and has displayed strong control, plus he has flashed strong secondary stuff. At times he’s looked like that #3 possibility is there and other times he gets hit around like a career minor leaguer. If someone could put their finger on what is wrong with him and his consistency, I’m sure he would like to know. The easy thing to say is that he will be a #5 starter because that is the middle ground, but for a guy with a full season of AA, he has an unusually big difference between his floor and ceiling.

      You probably want to check this article out for more info

      • This past summer I saw Rodriguez pitch three times … as you might guess from my handle all were against (and at) Bowie. He started twice and relieved once. Unfortunately, none of the appearances were all that impressive. In the starts he’d have a good inning or two, but couldn’t keep it together the whole game. It was discouraging to see from a guy who’s supposed to be a good prospect. Hopefully he can pull it together.

      • Thanks John… Nice try , but you know I already read that So , my apologies for bringing back a puzzle missing a few pieces .. Let me ask you it this way… Does Rodriguez remind you of any one or two guys ? Maybe one that 5 years down the line made it , and another that may come to mind that showed similar flashes but didn’t ever mange to put it together.

        • There aren’t too many lefties that hit mid-90’s and no one really similar I can think of off-hand because of that. You might say Bryan Morris is a good comp because he had that #3 upside, yet didn’t always show it and he’s a reliever now, but it was different circumstances that led to his move to the bullpen. That is the best I can say about him, he looks like a #3 at times and a career minor leaguer at other times and everything in between. You usually see that disparity in the lower levels, not AA, where you usually have a good idea of a player’s potential

          • That’s a fairly positive comparison… Considering the alternative could be washing out… It seems almost a waste to see him topping out 86-92 as a #5 starter hopeful , when he becomes , maybe not as highly touted but still a rare species , as a lefty bullpen option throwing mid 90’s . Meanwhile, I can hold out hope this off-season is significant of a guy ‘finally’ putting it all together at 23.

            P.S. – If you want , John, I can send you any mid- term papers before I hand them in and you can challenge me to elaborate…. It would only seem fair. I appreciate , again , all the analysis , and the extra you always offer when requested.

      • Although he struggled with the move to the bullpen, it does feel like a logical path to Pittsburgh , when you consider the added velocity the switch can allow. It is also easy to lose sight of him being only 23 years old , as you suggested in the Nov. 1 piece .
        – This fall and winter showing does give me that warm fuzzy feeling … Lefties being sparse , as they are organizationally , I want to attach significance to Joely showing this off-season … Fingers crossed.

  • John do you have anything on how Valle is doing defensively?

    • Not much. He hasn’t made an error in 28 games, most as a starter although he did DH once and came off the bench a couple times. The team website doesn’t have fielding stats except errors. Valle is very athletic behind the plate and he threw out 48% of runners this regular season, so there is a lot to like defensively, he just hasn’t hit enough to make the majors yet

  • Is there a good place to go to get winterleague stats. I have used in the past but you always have to dig around to find stuff.

  • I don’t like Pimentel as a pen pitcher, I like him much more as a starter, having said that I like the upside of Rodriguez as a starter or a good option out of the pen.

    • I agree, but doubt Pimentel will get a chance to be a starter out of Spring training. His best chance is to take off after getting a couple of spot starts. My perception is that Pimentel is injury prone.

    • I think the explanation for his missed time and limited use the last 18 months is the same for the end of any hopes for starting… A reoccurring dead arm. Hopefully he will be able to regain and maintain his plus stuff that gained him praise, in the pen.

  • Good to see what Rodriguez has done this winter. He definitely appears to be figuring it all out. Looks like he could be at Indy at some point in 2015 as a 23 yr old. One more decent guy to add to hopefully the best pitching staff in AAA.

  • Joely looked like the much better pitcher last night. He had much better fastball command than Stolmy, and Joely’s slider was the better swing and miss pitch. However, Joely does need to work on his change-up.

  • Not a lot of exciting news in the winter leagues for the Prates, but at least not a lot of injuries