Winter Leagues: Young Shortstop Prospect Finishes Up a Solid Season in Colombia

The only action on Sunday in winter ball was in Australia and we had those results in Sunday’s Winter Leagues article. Playoffs continue in the Dominican tonight, while they started in Mexico last night and they begin in both Colombia and Venezuela tonight. Puerto Rico will have a playoff series starting this week to determine their representative in the Caribbean World Series. Their regular season was canceled due to the hurricane damage. As of right now, no rosters have been released, so we don’t know if any Pittsburgh Pirates will be in the league.

From Colombia on Friday and Saturday night, 17-year-old shortstop Francisco Acuna went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt on Friday, and then went 1-for-3 with a single on Saturday. He finished the regular season with a .243/.374/.322 slash line in 38 games (he started 37 of his team’s 42 games). Acuna had five doubles, two triples, 19 walks and five HBP, while going 3-for-4 in steals.  His .696 OPS was five points above the league average in Colombia this winter, which is impressive considering both his age and the fact he hasn’t played above the DSL yet.  His team finished in first place and will play seven playoff games between now and next Saturday as part of a first round, round robin tournament.

In game one of the playoffs in Mexico, Jerrick Suiter went 0-for-3 with a walk in his team’s 2-1 loss. Suiter played seven regular season games in Mexico, posting a .200/.273/.233 slash line in 33 plate appearances.

Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a single. He’s still looking to sign as a minor league free agent this off-season.

  • Off topic, but MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Cubs are interested in Cole.

    • Probably to the point where Arrieta lowers his price tag.

    • I saw that, but then looked at the article and it was a rather vague reference with no follow up. Something like “Cole is a top pitcher on the trade market, along with Chris Archer and teams like the Yankees and Cubs are interested in them”. Doesn’t specifically say Cubs are interested in Cole, but you would assume 29 teams are interested in him if the price is right, so wasn’t worth writing up for me. If something better, more specific shows up, then we would post a rumor article, mostly because nothing else is going on.

  • The highlight of my weekend was watching Zack Von Rosenberg punt 3 times for LSU in the Citrus Bowl. Maybe the Steelers should’ve drafted him instead of us? 🙂

    • Good to see ZVR is still in doing something in sports.

    • Screw ZVR, if he half way applied himself to pitching the way he has to punting he would be in the major leagues right now.

  • jaygray007 • 2 months ago
    “Hold on to your butts. I think this is gonna be a really weird and active offseason.”

    The above was posted by Jaygray007 two months ago.

    Still holding on, nothing of note has happened
    other than the fact that we have give up on Kang.

    I think we have been through two winter meetings
    according to my PP Off Season Primer.

    Were are we at now on the calendar?

    • He way half right, it has been a weird offseason. All of the big spenders are holding out trying to get under the luxury tax for next offseason so they can make a run at Harper/Machado/Kershaw. I don’t see any of them not continuing this strategy.
      That would mean that mid market and small market team would have to increase their spending to meet the current FA’s demands. I am not sure that is something that will happen without big market teams pushing up the price.
      Honestly, there aren’t a bunch of players to get excited about this offseason when you look toward next offseason. It may end up being that some of the big name FA’s this year wind up on one year deals just to hit FA next year and hope they can catch on with teams that miss out on the top 3. This scenario should lay into small market teams hands, since they could sign 2 of them to $20 mil contracts and hope to compete, but if not, dump them at the deadline.

      • The problem is it takes two to tango, and I don’t see the Pirates being a desirable place for this type of player to sign. Nationally, there is nothing but talk of how they should be rebuilding the roster this winter. These type FA’s usually are looking for a place where they can win and/or show how valuable they are to an organization.

    • Whoa I didn’t expect to see some random old quote from me today haha.

      I still think stuff is gonna get weird.

      And it would be insane for them to *not* get weird.

      • I have only tossed this out once or twice – Is there any team in MLB more in need of a 1/2 for the Rotation than the LA Angels of Anaheim? Added Ohtani, Kinsler, Cozart, and signed Upton long term and they still have the money to add Gerrit Cole and more. What in return? Of their Top 30 – Jahmai Jones, 20, OF; #4, Brandon Marsh, 20, OF #7; and RHSP Chris Rodriguez, 19, RHSP #8. The Yankees are not the only team with Prospects.

        • oh yeah we definitely agree on that. Gerrit Cole makes every single team in baseball better and comes at a dollar price that every team can probably still accommodate.

          The Yankees rumors always seemed like they were leaked from the Yankees. Heck… whens the last time the pirates made a move that was actually rumored beforehand haha

          Point being that i cant imagine they have only talked to the Yankees.

          • So we were told, “before Christmas”.
            Well that did not happen.
            So when? Or even who?

            By the way, anyone else like me
            and still have not got over last season?

  • Acuna fielded well in the DSL, with an excellent OBP, but his major area of concern will probably be the lack of power. At the GCL level, Rodolfo Castro, only 7 months older, did not field as well, but has the power stroke finishing with 6 HR and a slugging percentage of .479.

    The Pirates should still have $1.7 mil (?) left in their 2017 International pool – are there any possibles out there who have not signed yet?

    • They have less than 1.7 M at this point, they signed seven players in the last two weeks, five of them were first time eligibles, so their bonuses could have been in the six figures.

      • Sorry, I must have missed them in your column – were there any descriptions of their qualifications, tools, etc. I know the Yankees added a few during the discussions on the Cole trade, and both were pretty strong as I remember – Top 15 guys as rated by BA.

        • No article on them because all of the information we have is on the chart (which obviously isn’t much). That doesn’t mean they are not worth following as it is hard to get info on 95% of the players who sign. It’s a good sign that five of the seven have only been eligible to sign since July 2nd. They probably took step forwards since then, which isn’t unusual, since we are talking about kids who are soph/junior in HS age.

          • I agree it is near impossible to find anything about any of these prospects unless they are Top 50 and Ben Badler of BA does a nice job every year. Which brings another stupid question – Venezuela/Curacao almost always have solid talent, but the Pirates seem to be all but locked out of that country – why?

      • Glad they got Fernando Fernando!