In the Dominican on Saturday night, Estrellas won 2-1 to stay alive in the best-of-nine finals. The Gigantes took a 4-3 advantage in the series. Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, while Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3 after sitting out his first game of the entire playoffs on Friday.
Rafael Perez started the game and had his worst outing, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, picking up four strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Obviously that isn’t a bad outing, but Perez came into the game giving up just one run in his first 26.2 innings of the postseason. Despite this great run when the competition in the Dominican is at its peak, Perez is still a free agent.
The finals began in Venezuela and each team has one Pirates player on their roster. Gorkys Hernandez was on the winning side of the 6-0 opener, going 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored. Deolis Guerra pitched a scoreless eighth inning, retiring the side in order. He got Gorkys Hernandez out on a grounder back to the mound.
In Mexico, Sebastian Valle went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and an error in his team’s 4-2 loss.
In the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. helped his team to a victory in the finals and a spot in the Caribbean Series, which begins on February 2nd. Rojas went 2-for-4 with a two-run double in the third inning. He also singled and scored a run in the 12-5 victory. Gustavo Nunez went 1-for-4 in the game and finished the playoffs with a .263 average in 23 games.
In Venezuela, Gorkys Hernandez hit his third homer of the playoffs in his team’s 8-5 win. The homer was a solo shot in the third inning. Hernandez also drew two walks, stole a base and scored two runs.
In Mexico, Sebastian Valle went 1-for-4 with a double. He is 2-for-13 in four playoff games. Opponents are 1-for-2 in stolen base attempts in the series.
On Sunday in Australia, Sam Kennelly went 0-for-3 with a run scored in his team’s last regular season game. He started at shortstop and committed his first(and only) error of the season. Kennelly finished the year with a .200/.256/.225 slash line in 18 games and he saw playing time at all four infield positions. Beginning on Thursday, the Perth Heat will take on third place Sydney in a best-of-three series, with the winner playing in the league championship series the following weekend.
In Puerto Rico, Robert Andino went 0-for-5, but he is still hitting .302 in the playoffs. Andino is a free agent.
Below are some video highlights from winter ball, showing recent action from two of the above players. The first is Sebastian Valle squaring around to bunt, then deciding to swing away with great results.
The second video is some great defense by Gorkys Hernandez.
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.
Gorkys never had any problems going after it on defense, that’s for sure.
leo: An outstanding catch and the guy has 3 HR’s in the series.
I saw him play some outstanding defense in Altoona emjay. The only problem was he was pretty weak offensively. Guys could knock the bat out of his hands. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but I seem to remember him making an outstanding catch in LF for the Pirates not long before he was sent away.
Love watching him in the field…