Not much going on in winter ball on Thursday, but one player is on a significant streak worth mentioning.
In Venezuela, Elias Diaz went 1-for-2 with a walk in his team’s 4-1 loss. He is 3-for-16 through five games, with a .528 OPS. In the ninth inning, Junior Sosa pinch-hit for Diaz and struck out. Sosa is hitting .275/.362/.392 in 18 games.
Deolis Guerra pitched one inning, allowing one run on a solo homer. He walked one and struck out two batters. Guerra had a streak of seven straight scoreless appearances(each one inning long) before allowing three runs in his last appearance, one in which he failed to record an out. Despite those seven straight scoreless outings and a .226 BAA, he has a 7.56 ERA in ten games.
In Mexico, Sebastian Valle homered for the third time in his last four games. He has been on quite the hot streak lately. On Thursday, he went 2-for-4, scoring two runs and he also reached via HBP. In his last eight games, he is hitting .500/.606/.885 in 33 plate appearances, which is easily the best streak we have seen from a Pirates player this off-season. When he signed with the Pirates back on November 20th, Valle had a .534 OPS through his first 20 games. In the ten games since signing, he has posted a 1.349 OPS, raising his season total to .828, which would rank ninth best in Mexico this winter if he had enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaders. That OPS is also the best mark of any Pirates player this off-season(including the AFL) with more than 20 at-bats.
In Puerto Rico, Yhonathan Barrios had another tough outing. He came into the 7th inning of his team’s 17-0 loss and only recorded two outs before being removed. He gave up five earned runs on five hits, one walk and a wild pitch. In four innings over four appearances, Barrios has allowed nine runs on 13 hits. He had a tough winter last year in Colombia, but ended up having a decent regular season in 2014, which looks even better when you consider that he only took up pitching during the middle of the 2013 season.
In a bit of non-news, the Veracruz League started this week and there isn’t a single Pirates player among the eight teams, including the reserve rosters for each club. While the leagues in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican make up the four main Caribbean winter leagues, there are also four other leagues that hold regular seasons, then compete in a tournament just like the Caribbean Series, only on a smaller scale. Three Pirates players are in the Colombian League(Tito Polo, Harold Ramirez and Oderman Rocha), while the leagues in Veracruz and Nicaragua don’t have any players from the Pirates organization.
The final league in Panama plays a shorter season than the rest and their schedule starts on December 15th. There should be at least 2-3 players to watch in that league. Last year, Ulises Montilla and Edgar Munoz took part in the league and a new international signing, Brian Sousa, is one of the best pitching prospects from the country. Montilla missed almost the entire 2014 season with a severe leg injury that happened during an on-field collision, so his health could keep him out of the league.