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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Winter Leagues: Starling Marte is Starting to Heat Up at the Plate

It was a slow Tuesday night in the winter leagues for Pittsburgh Pirates, but there were a couple of noteworthy performances.

Starling Marte has been on a hot streak recently in the Dominican, getting his numbers up to respectable levels after a slow start. On Tuesday, he went 2-for-4 with his third triple, his sixth stolen base in six attempts, and a run scored. Marte has reached base safely ten times in his last four games and he has a .325 average in his last ten games. On the winter, he is hitting .245/.301/.404 in 25 games.

Anderson Feliz went 1-for-4 with an RBI. He is hitting .267/.337/.384 through 30 games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a solo homer, his second of the winter. He is hitting .259/.355/.371 through 44 games. Both Feliz and Munoz are still on the free agent market.

The Venezuelan league held their All-Star game on Tuesday night, so there was no action to report from the league. However, Jose Osuna was one of ten participants in the home run derby on Monday night. He didn’t fare well, hitting five homers, which tied him for 7th with two other players, ahead of one lonely player who put up a zero.

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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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Informal survey. Do you think that we will sign ANY of the Braves’ prospects that are available. Apparently, the Top 3 are already gone.

I think NO!

Bill W

Yes I agree. I assume that the money they have been allocated will be used in the upcoming international draft and therefore they want to keep their powder dry. I believe they want the new guy to add his draft or recruiting prowess to the process.


I vote yes. In typical Pirates fashion they are simply waiting for the top talents to go to the rest of the league, then they will spread their risk out by signing four or five of the prospects who won’t command much money and on paper appear to be marginal talents 🙂


No, I think outside of offering a huge bonus, most will go to the second or third team that was pursuing them when they initially signed.

I am also beginning to think that the FO will just squander the extra $2.225 million that they have in the international signing fund as well. There are still some top 30 “prospects” left unsigned, but there are also a lot of teams with enough money to sign them, most with a better record of signing International prospects.

Blaine Huff

If trading money is in reference to the Ohtani sweepstakes, I’m starting to wonder…

From the beginning the narrative was that his coming over had nothing to do with money, and I think most jaded folks (me, included) rolled their eyes and said, “yeah, right”.

With the list of teams he’s excluded and that he’s coming over a year or two sooner than he could have…I’m really starting to think an extra million or so in the signing bonus really isn’t that important to him.

I’ve gotta wonder if the Pirates…and every other team who didn’t ship money off before Ohtani shrunk his list to seven…missed the boat.


Bingo. No team is giving up prospects of value for IFA cap money. The most notable transaction involving IFA cap money to date has been in exchange for Thyago Vieira, who’s a lesser version of Arquimedes Caminero.

Believing this money is better used as trade bait than to actually sign prospects requires either the belief that Huntington can pull off a heist, or an abdication of everything we’ve ever said about the value of amateur talent.

They’re not going to spend the money, because they don’t want to spend the money.


Trading it away would be the only way I could see them getting through everything they have left. $2 million is a lot of money to spend when you are spending it at $80K per player. Unless they are planning on running out a third DSL team, they really don’t even have any place to have many more players.
I do realize it would be a waste of an asset, but spending it just to spend it would be an even bigger waste IMO. Me, I would call up every team still in contention for Ohtani and see who the best player I could get would be. I would only trade for 1 player, not a bundle, just a single prospect.


The Pirates biggest signing was in February, not the biggest signing on the International market. If the Pirates have the money to sign an international kid in Feb, there are other teams that can as well, so it’s not like there won’t be competition.

I would just trade it all and be done with it.


Do we have any top/good prospects left for this signing period? I was under the assumption that there aren’t any left and that these ex-Braves prospects would be those top prospects?

I guess I’m still confused about these international signing system — any articles describing the system (and how it actually operates ex. like the teams knowing who to sign ahead of the signing period) ??


According to mlb.com’s top 30 international prospects list, 8 of their top 30 are still available with 5 of their top 11 still unsigned. Though Ohtani is #1 on the list and he ruled out the Pirates. Hope this link works http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017/?list=int


Thanks!!! Didn’t even know they had international prospect ranking. Since the Pirates weren’t aware of their pool money, I thought they had no chance of signing top prospects for this season and so thought ex-Braves were our only chance. Hopefully we get one of those 8s…

Robert J

Generally speaking, do they spend the entire amount?

What’s the general hit rate of getting a true prospect out of these funds, not just for the Pirates but baseball in general?

In other words, how do the Pirates do in Latin America relative to other teams?

joe s

John, I am sorry but what about the other teams that had no idea how much money they would have in their bonus pool. They were able to sign players without that advanced knowledge. I think you are making excuses for the Pirates not spending their full pool allotment. The Pirate motto is going to be a penny not spent is a penny earned. I would be surprised if they signed anyone else and if they do it will not be for a large amount and forget about the freed Atlanta players. Why those players should get additional bonus money is just down right crazy. All that does is inflate an over inflated market. At first I thought it was Gayo and now I think its the Pirates that are engaged in quantity over quality. The pool might be 5+ million but their budget is probably 3 million and they will spend no more than that. Now you can understand why they lost out on Sano and why Heredia was an outlier.


One thing to note is that the majority of the big bonus players end up as failures. Look back at the players who received the top 20 bonuses and few became good MLB players.


Fun Quiz time. NONE of these are Pirate prospects, so it’ll be tough for you?

Quiz: Can You Tell Real MLB Draft Prospect Names From Fake Ones?

22 prospects. I got 4 right.





The number of correct answers directly correlates with the need for one to find more productive hobbies.

I got 13. 😉

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