Three days worth of action in winter ball, including a game in Mexico on Christmas day. We also have some news from the Dominican, as teams in the playoffs stocked up for a run at the league title.
In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with his fifth double in his team’s 2-1 loss.
In the Dominican, the playoffs were set, as four teams will compete in a round robin tournament consisting of 18 games for each team. Two teams were eliminated from the playoffs, which means that the season is done for Alen Hanson and Willy Garcia. The four playoff clubs hold a draft, in which they select players from the two teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Not every player chooses to continue their season, so it’s unknown whether Hanson and Garcia were passed up, unavailable, or didn’t have intentions of continuing.
Between the draft and two eliminated teams, that left Nefi Ogando, Edwin Espinal, Jason Rogers, Lisalverto Bonilla, Yunior Montero, Miguel Rosario, Jason Stoffel, Eury Perez, Pablo Reyes and Eric Wood as eligible Pirates for the playoffs. Obviously, not all of these players will see playoff time, either because they aren’t active right now, or because the playoff rosters are tougher to crack than the regular season roster. Eric Wood isn’t on the weekly roster submitted for his team, though that doesn’t necessarily mean his season is over.
In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 2-for-4 with his 14th double, a walk and an RBI.
In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 2-for-5, with a single and a two-run homer, as his team lost 5-4 in 13 innings. After an extremely slow start that got him benched, Munoz is now hitting .216/.304/.309 through 50 games.
In Colombia, Sandy Santos went 0-for-4, with a walk and a run scored. He is 6-for-21, with one walk and one stolen base in six games.
Francisco Acuna went 0-for-1. He is 3-for-13, with three walks and two stolen bases in seven games. At 16 years old, Acuna is one of the youngest players in any of the winter ball leagues. He was signed on July 2nd and will make his pro debut in the DSL in 2017.
The playoffs opened up in the Dominican, though one of the two games was rained out. Jason Rogers went 0-for-4 in his team’s 4-1 victory. While his team won, he missed out on some big chances. Rogers had a runner on second base in all four at-bats, and three times there was also a runner on first base. During the regular season, he batted .194/.390/.355 in ten games, posting an OPS that was 126 points over league average. We should find out soon about Roger’s status after he was designated for assignment on Friday.
Nefi Ogando made his first appearance since being picked up off waivers by the Pirates. He was on the opposing side of Rogers, the player who the Pirates dropped from the 40-man roster to add Ogando. The two did not face each other in this game. Ogando pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing a single, while another batter (Mel Rojas Jr) reached on an error. He also picked up a strikeout.
In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, an RBI and a walk, as his team exploded for 15 runs on 14 hits and 11 walks. He is hitting .276 through 58 games, with 15 doubles, three homers and 25 walks.
Elvis Escobar went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s hitting .266 through 46 games, with nine doubles, three triples and one homer.
In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz extended his hit streak to 12 games, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. His .364 average leads the league. Ortiz is still a free agent.+ posts
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.