Two days worth of action in winter ball, with interesting pitcher/batter match-ups each day.
Colombia was busy on Sunday, as all four Pittsburgh Pirates saw action on the same day for the first time. Three of them were in the same game and it was an interesting match-up for those who follow prospects in the system closely. Former Pirate pitchers Julio Vivas and Porfirio Lopez were the starters, with Vivas pitching against Francisco Acuna and Edgar Barrios, while Lopez got to face Carlos Arroyo. The 17-18 year old hitters versus the old pitching prospects (they’re only mid-20’s actually).
Barrios had two hits off of Vivas, finishing with a 3-for-4 night. He’s hitting .241/.318/.241 in 22 games.
Acuna didn’t have any success versus Vivas, but he drove in three runs later with a bases loaded triple. He’s hitting .245/.302/.347 in 15 games.
Arroyo singled off of Lopez, and later drew a walk, finishing 1-for-3 on the day. He’s hitting .129/.206/.161 in 12 games.
Andres Arrieta has been a bit over-matched in the league and that continued on Sunday. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed three runs on two hits and a walk, while recording just one out. In seven innings over seven appearances, he has allowed eight runs on ten hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
In Australia on Sunday, Robbie Glendinning went 1-for-4 with a walk and run scored to wrap up his first week of action. In the four-game series, he played third base every game and went 4-for-14 with two doubles and a walk.
In Puerto Rico on Sunday, Bret Helton was one of seven pitchers his team used in a 19-5 loss. He went 1.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks. In three appearances, he has served up eight runs on eight hits and six walks in 3.1 innings. Batters are hitting .533 against him and he’s still looking for his first strikeout.
All of the action on Monday was in Venezuela, where two current Pirates got to face each other twice, with both taking a victory. In game two of a doubleheader, Luis Escobar took on Jose Osuna and the Bravos de Margarita. Osuna won the battle in the first inning by hitting an RBI double, which extended his winter hit streak to 21 games. Escobar won the second time, getting Osuna to fly out to center field with a runner on second base to end the second inning.
Escobar was making his fourth start and it did not go well. After the first two batters in the fourth inning reached base, he was removed from the game. In three innings, he allowed five runs on five hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. This was his shortest outing of the winter. He now has a 4.70 ERA in 15.1 innings.
Osuna went 1-for-3 with his second double of the winter and an RBI in the first game. In game two, he went 2-for-3 with his third double, an RBI and a walk. He is hitting .600 in four games.
Elvis Escobar struck out the only batter he faced on Monday. It was switch-hitter Hector Sanchez, who has played 347 games in the majors since 2011. Escobar now has allowed one run over 7.2 innings in 12 appearances. He hasn’t allowed a hit in his last nine appearances.
Our 2019 Prospect Guide is currently available for pre-sales. The top 50 prospects section of the book will be available before Christmas. It comes with free updates when the entire book is finished around the beginning of Spring Training, as well as any possible updates to the top 50 due to trades, signings, etc.
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.