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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Winter Leagues: Osuna, Rogers and Perez are Off to Strong Starts in the Playoffs

In Colombia on Thursday, the regular season wrapped up for 16-year-old shortstop Francisco Acuna and center fielder Sandy Santos. Acuna went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt in the last game. He finished his season with a .233/.327/.326 slash line in 15 games. The team put up a .655 OPS, so he was just two points below average, despite being 10+ years younger than many of the players in the league. Acuna held his own defensively with four errors in 64 chances, including eight double plays turned.

Santos finished the season with a 1-for-4 night. The 22-year-old, who spent the 2016 season at Morgantown, hit .200/.256/.275 in 14 games. He had one homer, one stolen base, and fielded all 27 chances cleanly in center field, picking up one assist.

In the Dominican on Friday night, Jason Rogers went 2-for-4 with two singles, a walk, and a run scored. We found out on Friday night that Rogers cleared waivers and the Pirates sent him outright to Indianapolis. He is batting .346 in the playoffs and has drawn six walks in seven games.

Eury Perez went 4-for-5 with four singles and a run scored. He is batting .412 in the playoffs. I mentioned earlier this week that Perez could see a bigger role with the Pirates if Willy Garcia was lost on waivers, and it was announced on Friday afternoon that the Chicago White Sox claimed him. That opens up an outfield spot in Indianapolis for Perez, who should be a nice short-term depth option for the Pirates early in the season.

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo homer. It’s his first home run of the playoffs, after hitting three during the winter season. He had four hits and drove in three runs on Thursday. Osuna is batting .500 through four playoff games.

Elvis Escobar pinch-ran in the eighth inning and scored a run, then stayed in the game in left field. He lined out to center field in the ninth in his only at-bat. It was also his first plate appearance in three playoff games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 0-for-3 with a walk, as his team came back from a late 6-2 deficit for a 7-6 victory. Munoz went 1-for-4 in each of his first three playoff games.

In Australia on Friday, Sam Street made his second appearance of the season and faced five batters. He recorded two outs, one by strikeout, while allowing one hit and two walks. Street threw 28 pitches, with 15 going for strikes. One run scored on an error, while the single was turned into a caught stealing.

If you’ve never seen Street and his sidearm style, you can check out his inning here. He pitches the top of the seventh, so skip to the 1:55:00 mark.

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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.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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I’m going off subject. I have always wondered why pitchers that realize the path to the show is done, why do they not try to be knuckleball pitchers? I can’t remember the last time (maybe never) that it’s been reported a pitcher was working on the pitch. I fiddled with the pitch in high school and thought I could throw it with confidence, my coach didn’t share my enthusiasm. But, if a major league career is on the fringe, tool it up.


As a means to extend the range of speeds a batter has to cover it would be a great addition to any pitcher who can throw it. But the mix of a 95 MPH fastball and a 55 MPH knuckle ball would drive the catchers nuts. Which glove to use?


If it was that easy, you and I might be signing autographs right now rather than participating on P2. A FB and Curve are pretty straightforward, but after that it gets much tougher trying to develop an MLB-workable Slider, Change-up, or Knuckleball. How about a Fork Ball?

I have see knuckle-curves, but RA Dickey may be the last of the true Knuckleball pitchers, and, as you said, when his career was on the line he had to do something different. It only took him 5 or 6 years of failure to throw the pitch well enough to become a Rotation regular with the Mets in 2010, 14 years after being drafted out of Tennessee in 1996.


Yea..I see your point but knuckleballers have a place in baseball history. I can’t imagine when a player sees the lights dimming on a MLB career they would try everything to hang on. I just think you’d see more reports of so and so is working on a knuckleball. A lot of minor league players have a great deal of time when nobody’s looking.


Don’t forget Osuna plays a decent 1B. He can backup Bell as well as be a 4th outfielder. Against LHP he might be giving either Polanco or Bell a rest. So he might see more AB than a typical 4th outfielder. The key for Osuna is whether he hits well in AAA this season.


I would like to see the Pirates trade Jaso and bring Jose Osuna up to back up Bell at 1B and also be available in the OF. Osuna hit very well at AAA in 220 AB in 2016 – .291/.333/.482/.815 OPS. At AA in 253 AB he had a slash of .269/.329/.435/.764 OPS, and in those 473 AB he had 37 doubles, 4 triples, 13 HR, 69 RBI.

No reason for him to be back in AAA while we let Jaso burn another half or more of 2017. Bell turned 24 in Aug and Osuna just turned 24 last month. Time for the Pirates to get serious about transitioning to a younger core group.

Blaine Huff

I agree with the sentiment, but Jaso is untradeable.

Adam Lind
Chris Carter
Logan Morrison
Brandon Moss
Mike Napoli
Pedro Alvarez

All these guys will make, ballpark, what Jaso does. and none of them require giving up anything.


If traded by himself, the Pirates would probably have to take less in value in return. He had a decent year in 2016 and can be a valuable asset to an AL team who could use him as a part-time 1B/DH.

Bruce Humbert

The other option would be to give Osuna a shot at a roster spot by competing in Spring Trading with Jaso. If Osuna “wins” and Jaso is untradable let him join Rodgers as a “Depth option” in Indy – doubt anyone would claim him if he were DFAd. If Jaso has a great spring Jose can start the year at Indy.


Sensible approach, let the best man win, at no additional cost. It is not like Osuna is someone you are worried about starting the six year clock too early. But I actually think Osuna would be well served by an additional half year in AAA or more before joining MLB on a part time basis. September call up for the additional full time AB, then takes Jaso’s spot in 2018.


I still wonder if Osuna has a career in Pittsburgh. You can’t see him supplanting any of the top four in Meadows, Cutch, Marte or Polanco, but if one gets traded or one goes down, I could see him as a #4 outfielder.

Since I saw him at Altoona I was convinced. Had a good day at the plate that day including a home run and also threw a guy out at home from medium deep left field on a throw that was chocolate chip cookies.


Bruce Humbert

John argues for a bigger role for Eury Perez who has never hit more than 4 hrs and has an OPS in the .600 range and nobody calls bullshit. I try and make a fact based argument for Osuna and we get crap like Bill W’s idiotic pierogi comment below.


Sounds like somebody needs his safe place.

Bill W

Yes Jose Osuna does have a career in Pittsburgh. He is currently in discussion with Mrs. T’s for adding a new Pierogi. The photo above gives him a great chance to make it to PNC.


I did not like the Rogers trade when it was made, but it might end up working out reasonably well.

With all of the jokes and not so positive remarks about Rogers, he may end up making the team if Jung is suspended.

Warning! If Rogers does well, and he is traded for two minor league pitchers, there may be an outcry that proclaims that NH is an idiot. Do not let it bother you. It is called Snyder Syndrome.


Rogers had a nice half year with the Brewers in 2015. The Pirates traded for him then took half of his AB away when they signed Jaso, and then the other half of his AB away when they signed Freese.

Those two are still signed with the Pirates.

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