On Saturday night in Colombia, Francisco Acuna saw his season end as his team lost 3-1, eliminating them from the round robin playoff tournament. His team finished in first place during the regular season, but managed to win just two games in the round robin tournament, where three teams played eight games each.
Acuna was his team’s starting shortstop all season, then lost the job as the playoffs started, though by game four he was back in the lineup. He went 4-for-14 at the plate in the round robin, with one walk, one run scored and one RBI. He handled all 19 chances in the field without an error. Acuna, who turned 18 years old on Friday, had a .243/.374/.322 slash line in 38 regular season games. He should be the starting shortstop for the GCL Pirates in 2018.
In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar went 0-for-3 with a walk, leaving him 2-for-11 with a walk through three games in the second round of the playoffs. His team is up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series. It was an interesting game for Escobar because all four plate appearances came against former Pirates. He walked and struck out against starter Oscar Verdugo, who joined the Venezuelan playoffs from Mexico after his season ended. Escobar then hit into a double play off of Luis Rico, before grounding out against Jorge Rondon.
On Sunday in Australia, Robbie Glendinning went 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk. He is now hitting .352/.453/.519 through 13 games. Offense seems to be going up in the Australian league this year, but it’s important to remember that Glendinning hasn’t played above short-season ball, debuting with Morgantown after being drafted in the 21st round this year. Combine that with him joining the league mid-season and he’s putting up some very impressive offensive numbers.
Glendinning’s team (Perth Heat) has two more weeks left before the playoffs. His team would need a complete collapse not to make the playoffs, as they just need to win one game or get one loss from Melbourne to qualify. So it looks like Glendinning will be playing into early February, with a minimum of ten games left and a maximum of 14 if his team wins the first round playoffs and both playoff series go the full three games. The ABL finals are usually shown on MLB Network, so you may have a chance to watch him play next month.
Michael Suchy didn’t play on Sunday. He was injured when the batter lost grip on the bat and it hit Suchy in the lower leg full force. I talked to someone with Sydney and they said while it was a painful injury, it wasn’t serious and he should be back on the field when action starts up again on Thursday. As a side note, don’t expect another winter article until Friday due to the limited amount of players still in action, but I’ll include everything that happens during the week in the next article.
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.