After everyone was off on New Year’s eve, action picked back up slowly on Thursday with the first day of playoffs in Mexico. While the Venados de Mazatlan roster has five Pirates players listed, it looks like Felipe Gonzalez is the only one that is still active and with the team. On Thursday, he struck out the only batter he faced in his team’s 4-1 loss.
Sebastian Valle went 1-for-3 with a double, as his team also lost on day one. He finished the season with an .893 OPS that would have ranked him third in the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
In Australia on Friday, Sam Kennelly went 1-for-5 with a single and a strikeout. The 18-year-old played third base and handled all three plays in the field cleanly. On Saturday during a doubleheader, he played an inning of defense at first base in the first game and didn’t play in game two. He has played all four infield positions this season.
In the playoffs in the Dominican, Alen Hanson went 2-for-5, driving in three runs and scoring once. Hanson hit a double in the fifth inning, then came up with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning and hit a triple off Toronto Blue Jays reliever Bobby Korecky(playing for Aguilas Cibaenas) that brought his team within one run. He scored the tying run, but his team ended up losing in the tenth inning. Hanson started the game at shortstop, but quickly moved over to second base when the starting second baseman injured his shoulder in the second inning. He handled all four plays in the field cleanly. The opposing starting pitcher was Wandy Rodriguez, who gave up one run over five innings, with eight strikeouts.
Gustavo Nunez went 1-for-4 with a run scored. He is hitting .316 in five playoff games.
In Mexico, Sebastian Valle had an unusually quiet game as his team was busy putting ten runs on the board. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Valle threw out the only runner that attempted to steal.
Felipe Gonzalez faced three batters and all three reached base. He gave up a double and two walks, but the reliever that followed him stranded all three runners. He has pitched in five straight 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.