In Australia on Saturday night, Sam Street made his winter debut. The 24-year-old pitched for Bradenton in 2016, where he posted a 2.26 ERA in 55.2 innings, with a .225 BAA and a 1.88 GO/AO ratio. For the Melbourne Aces, he gave up two runs on two hits, retiring one batter. Both runs scored after he left, as Major League veteran Peter Moylan allowed a two-run single following Street. While most of the other leagues are into their playoffs already, Australia still has four weeks left in their regular season.
Street was the only player from the Pirates to see action over the weekend, as all of the other winter leagues were off. On Monday, Venezuela began their playoffs and Jose Osuna went 2-for-5 with two singles and a run scored in his team’s 6-4 victory. He finished the regular season with a .279/.361/.387 slash line in 60 games. That’s well off the stats he put up last winter when he finished fifth in the league with a .914 OPS. This season he ranked 26th in OPS among the 40 batters with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.
Elias Diaz remains out since December 9th. He is still listed as being out due to an oblique strain, which he injured on December 6th and then played two more games before being shutdown. His Venezuelan team originally said on December 10th that he would be out at least ten days and they removed him from the active roster. At this point, the Pirates may have something to do with him not playing, since he tried to play through the injury last time. We should be able to get an update on him at the winter mini-camp next week if he still hasn’t returned to action.
In the Dominican, Eury Perez went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. He threw out a runner at third base to end the first inning. He has gone hitless in two of his playoff games and combined to go 5-for-8 with two walks in the other two games. The Pirates recently designated Willy Garcia for assignment, which could open up an early season spot for Perez if Garcia gets picked up by another team.
Perez is 26 years old and has already seen action in parts of four Major League seasons. The lack of offense has held him back from a bigger role, but he would be a serviceable short-term outfielder due to his speed and defense if the need should arise before Austin Meadows is ready. Ideally, the Pirates would keep Garcia and there would be no need for either player in Pittsburgh during the season, but we have seen recently that depth can quickly turn into an everyday player.
Jason Rogers played left field and went 0-for-2 with two walks. He came up with a big play on defense, throwing out a runner at home to end the seventh inning and keep it a 1-1 score. His team still ended up losing 2-1. Rogers is 2-for-10 in the playoffs, with a double, a home run and five walks. We are still waiting to hear whether or not he clears waivers.
In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a single, walk, run scored and two strikeouts, as his team lost 2-1 in 11 innings. The ending had a former Pirates connection, with Sebastian Valle hitting a walk-off homer off of Roberto Espinosa.
In Colombia, Francisco Acuna went 1-for-5 with a single. In 11 games, the 16-year-old shortstop is hitting .276/.345/.400, with five walks and four strikeouts. In the field, he has committed two errors in 40 total chances.
Sandy Santos went 0-for-4 with a run scored. He is hitting .222/.276/.222 through ten games and has not committed an error in 19 chances in center field.
Henrry Rosario hasn’t been playing much recently so he hasn’t been mentioned in a couple weeks. He’s hitting .232/.371/.295 in 34 games.
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.