Winter Leagues: Pirates are Seeing Poor Results Recently From Their Top Hitters

Three days of winter league action covering games in five countries, plus the wrap-up of the U23 World Cup tournament. You’ll notice that except for Pablo Reyes, who just started playing, the better hitting prospects for the Pirates in winter ball have all slowed down recently. For Elvis Escobar and Jose Osuna, the slumps are recent and their stats have fallen off. For Edwin Espinal and Carlos Munoz, they haven’t got things going yet this winter. Willy Garcia isn’t even getting playing time recently, which is why he isn’t mentioned below.

Saturday

In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout. He was thrown out stealing for the second time this winter season.

Jose Osuna, who was added to the 40-man roster earlier this day, went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and an RBI to break a 1-for-15 slump.

In the Dominican, two Pirates combined for a nice pitching line in a 3-1 win for Escogido. Kelvin Marte started and allowed one run over 5.1 innings. He gave up four hits, two walks and picked up one strikeout, while posting a 9:2 GO/AO ratio. He has a 1.65 ERA in three starts.

Marte was followed by Miguel Rosario, who picked up the win with 1.2 scoreless innings. He had one walk, one strikeouts and didn’t allow any hits.

Edwin Espinal went 0-for-1 with a walk, before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He is hitting .147/.256/.382 through ten games.

In the U23 tournament, Victor Ngoepe went 1-for-4 with two walks. He showed good patience at the plate each time up. Ngoepe struck out once looking on a big breaking curveball, then grounded out twice. His lone hit was a single through the left side. He was facing Austria in this game and seeing a lot of breaking balls because their pitchers don’t have strong velocity.

Sam Kennelly went 1-for-4 in Australia’s win.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz went 3-for-4 with three singles and a run scored.

Some of the winter leagues have minor leagues, but we usually don’t mention those here because it’s almost impossible to get stats. There was one performance of note from Saturday though. Eumir Sepulveda, who pitched for the DSL Pirates this season, threw six shutout innings in Mexico. Since he’s a DSL pitcher, he’s at an appropriate level this winter. Sepulveda retired the side in order in four of the six innings.

Sunday

In the Dominican, Pablo Reyes got his first career start in winter ball and went 1-for-4 with a single. He played second base. He played one other game off the bench this winter, collecting a single and finishing the game at shortstop.

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and an RBI. He is batting .267/.361/.367 through 25 games.

Elvis Escobar went 1-for-4 with a single.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 0-for-2 before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. He is hitting .140/.246/.158 through 20 games.

In the U23 World Cup tournament, Australia lost the championship game 10-3 to Japan. Sam Kennelly went 1-for-4 with a run scored. He had two strikeouts and committed an error. He had a tough eight games, going 4-for-32 with four singles and 12 strikeouts.

Victor Ngoepe went 3-for-5, with two singles and a two-run double. He went 6-for-21 in the tournament, drawing five walks and getting hit twice, giving him a .464 OBP. I wrote about him after the tournament, which can be read here.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, two singles and two runs scored. It was his first home run of the winter.

In Nicaragua, Anderson Feliz is hitting .452/.553/.645 through his first seven games, while driving in 12 runs.

Monday

In Venezuela, three Pirates saw action for Cardenales de Lara. John Kuchno started the game and took the loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and no walks in three innings. He had one strikeout and a 6:1 GO/AO ratio. Kuchno had a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings this winter season.

Elvis Escobar went 0-for-4. He is now hitting .310/.326/.452 in 26 games this winter.

Jhondaniel Medina had a strong relief appearance, throwing two shutout innings on one hit, no walks and four strikeouts. In seven appearances, he has allowed two earned runs over 8.2 innings. He has an 8:9 BB/SO ratio.

In the Dominican, Pablo Reyes played his third game and at his third different position. He started at third base and went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in his team’s 3-2 loss.

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