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Winter Leagues: Mel Rojas Jr. Homers, Sebastian Valle Gets Drafted For Finals in Mexico


In the championship series in the Dominican on Tuesday night, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the third inning that gave his team a lead they would never relinquish. Rojas scored two runs and stole his first base of the playoffs in the 5-3 victory that evened up the best-of-nine series at two games apiece. The homer was the first of the winter for Rojas, who hasn’t seen much action during the playoffs, but he went 130 at-bats without one during the season.

Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the loss. He is hitting .286 through 20 playoff games.

In Venezuela, Gorkys Hernandez went 1-for-4, with a double, walk and two runs scored in his team’s 16-5 victory. The double was the second of the playoffs for Hernandez, who homered on Monday night. Of note to Pirates fans from this one-sided victory, Exicardo Cayones hit his first homer of the playoffs, doing it as a pinch-hitter for Felix Perez, who had already hit two homers in the game. Cayones was dealt to the New York Yankees back in 2012 for A.J. Burnett.

In Colombia, Andy Vasquez doubled in his team’s first two runs in their 9-1 victory. He helped his Leones team to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series to decide which club goes on to the Latin American Series.

In Mexico, the finals start tonight between Culiacan and Jalisco. The league held a draft before the series started, so the two teams could add reinforcements. Jalisco added Sebastian Valle with the first pick of the draft. His team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and Valle spent last week in Bradenton at Pirate City. As a second interesting Pirates side note, the second pick of Jalisco in the draft was Humberto Cota….yes, that Humberto Cota.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
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.

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