Monday was an off-day for most of winter ball around the globe, with a total of three games taking place. The Round Robin portion of the playoffs in the Dominican started on Monday, but no Pittsburgh Pirates saw action.
With the end of the regular season in the Dominican, it also meant the end of the season for three Pirates.
One was Lolo Sanchez, who only played three games — two of those as a pinch-runner. The other two players were his teammates on Toros del Este, Rodolfo Castro and Miguel Andujar.
The Dominican league has a draft after the regular season, where the four playoff teams can take players from the two teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Neither Castro nor Andujar were on the draft eligible list, which means that the Pirates shut them down for the winter.
Castro was able to play 29 games this winter in a 50-game regular season. He played 21 games at third base, five at second base and two at shortstop. He was charged with a total of eight errors — six at third base, two at second base, and he handled all 14 plays at shortstop.
At the plate, Castro put up a .225/.348/.276 slash line in 119 plate appearances. He had two doubles, a homer, six steals in eight attempts, and a 14:31 BB/SO ratio. The league had an average OPS of .624, so he was right there in the middle (technically that OBP/Slugging combo rounded down to .623).
Where Castro excelled was in the OBP department, ranking 18th in the league among the 82 qualified hitters.
Andujar got a slightly later start. He began the winter well with some strong early games, then leveled off for the final three weeks. He finished with a .247/.304/.353 slash line in 92 plate appearances over 21 games.
His OPS ended up 33 points above league average. He ranked 29th in the league in OPS, though he was one point away from ranking 26th.
Andujar made 19 of his 21 starts in left field, one at first base and one as the DH. He really saw limited plays in the outfield, with 27 chances (one error) in those 19 games. He also committed an error at first base.
Those slash lines obviously aren’t impressive, but the Dominican was loaded with big league talent this season, so often times they were facing MLB pitchers. More than half of the pitchers used this year had big league experience, and those pitchers were seeing more work on average than the non-MLB pitchers. The league seemed to get stronger as the season went along too, even before the best players from the worst two teams joined the playoff teams.
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.