Winter Leagues: Valle Returns to Action, Kennelly Helps Perth Clinch Playoff Spot

On Wednesday night in Mexico, catcher Sebastian Valle returned to action with his new team. He was drafted by Jalisco for the finals on Tuesday. In his first game back, he went 1-for-4 with a single and run scored, as his team lost by an 11-8 score.

In the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-3 with a run scored in his team’s 5-1 win. The Gigantes took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-nine series. On the other side of the field, Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He reached base once on a hit-by-pitch.

In Venezuela, Julio Vivas had a tough inning, but limited the damage. He gave up one run on two hits and two walks, while picking up one strikeout. His team lost 6-1 and they are in danger of missing the playoffs with three games left in the round robin tournament.

In Colombia, Andy Vasquez drove in two runs in his team’s 6-4 win, moving them within one victory of the Colombian League title and a trip to the Latin American series.

Thursday’s Action

In Mexico, Sebastian Valle went 0-for-2 with a walk and sacrifice bunt in his team’s 5-0 victory. Valle threw out the only base runner that attempted to steal.

In Venezuela on Thursday, Wilfredo Boscan threw a scoreless inning, allowing one hit, with no walks or strikeouts. He has a 1.93 ERA in the playoffs.

In Colombia, Andy Vasquez and Leones took home the league title with a 13-1 win. They will now move on to the Latin American Series, which starts January 27th in Panama. In the eighth inning, Vasquez drove in two runs, then scored a run, putting the game well out of reach.

Friday’s Action

In the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-2 with a walk in his team’s 1-0 win. The victory pushed the Gigantes within one win of the league title and a trip to the Caribbean Series. Gustavo Nunez, who has been in a recent slump, sat for the first time in the playoffs.

In Australia on Friday, Sam Kennelly started at second base and went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt and run scored. Kennelly reached base on the bunt attempt, then scored a run on an error, giving his team a 4-2 lead and eventual victory. With the win, Kennelly’s team(Perth Heat) clinched a playoff spot for the fifth straight season.

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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Valle should be on the top 20 prospects list. He has had a great year. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him move ahead of Diaz in ST and be the first guy called up. And for sure they ought to shop Tony Sanchez to Arizona or Texas.

Brian Bernard

rburgh, I don’t agree with you on Tony. Although he struggled last year, the one thing he did show early on was a clutch bat and power. Granted he didn’t maintain it – perhaps due to the fact he was demoted and he doesn’t seem to take that kind of thing very well.
His potential as I see it is as another swing type bench player who can fill in as catcher, 1b, and possibly other positions as well because he is a pretty athletic guy. With some maturity I could see him with a bat and player profile similar to Ryan Doumit. Maybe that isn’t the kind of player you want starting but he would make a nice bench piece with versatility. It’s just too soon to know, and if he could develop into that type of role then maybe your selling low on a bat. Take a look at what some average to even poor defensive catchers are bringing on the market – like Derek Norris for example. Some patience is warranted here IMO.


rburgh: Valle has been impressive this Winter and a real eye opener was his SB/CS percentage which increased from high average around 30% for years to outstanding around 50% in 2014 in AA/AAA. But, very few position players hit better as they climb through the levels, and that is exactly what Elias Diaz has accomplished the last 2 years, in addition to being selected as the best defensive Catcher by Baseball America for Hi A in 2013 and AA in 2014. I also liked that he did well in the Arizona Fall League. He will play 2015 as his age 24 season, and I would not be surprised if he got a bump to the big team early in 2015.


Valle doesn’t have a spring invite yet right?

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