Winter Leagues: A Total of 16 Pirates See Winter Ball Action

Saturday was very busy around winter ball, led by six Pittsburgh Pirates playing both games of a doubleheader in Australia. In fact, one of the games had the six Pirates batting 1-6 in the lineup. Here’s the full recap from around the globe. If you missed it from yesterday, our weekly Winter Report article focused on the struggles of Rodolfo Castro, while also mentioning a total of 32 players.

In Australia, Jase Bowen (pictured) went 0-for-3 in the opening game. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in game two. He’s hitting .286 with a .667 OPS in 11 games. 

Jesus Castillo went 1-for-3 in the opening game. That hit was a lead-off single in the bottom of the first, and it ended up being the only hit for Sydney. They didn’t do much better in the second game, dropping the pair of contests by 4-0 and 9-0 scores. He went 0-for-4 in game two, leaving him with a .114 average and a .339 OPS in ten games.

Sammy Siani went 0-for-2 with a walk in the first game. His walk followed the previously mentioned Castillo single, so it looked like this was going to be a good game for Sydney, but it went downhill quickly from there. He was 0-for-2 with a HBP in the second game. He’s hitting .239 with a .670 OPS in 14 games.

Ernny Ordonez went 0-for-2 with a walk in the first game. He played third base in game two and went 0-for-4. He is hitting .229 with a .573 OPS in 14 games.

Dylan Shockley went 0-for-2 with a walk in the first game. He went 2-for-4 with two singles in the second game. He’s hitting .231 with a .656 OPS in 13 games. There is a video below that includes defensive highlights from Bowen and Shockley

Solomon Maguire went 0-for-3 in the opener. He was 1-for-3 in the second game. He’s hitting .194 with a .413 OPS in 11 games.

In Venezuela, Diego Castillo went 1-for-5 with a two-run triple, his first triple of the winter. He has a .361 average and a 1.053 OPS in 21 games.

In Colombia, Andres Alvarez went 1-for-4 with a double and a HBP. He has a .349 average and a 1.083 OPS in 16 games.

Rodolfo Nolasco went 1-for-3 with a single. He has a .264 average and an .885 OPS in 17 games.

Oliver Mateo threw a scoreless frame on no hits, no walks and two strikeouts. He has given up one run on two hits in eight innings, with nine walks and 16 strikeouts.

Francisco Acuna went 0-for-2 with a walk. He has a .192 average and a .572 OPS in 17 games.

In Puerto Rico, Jeffrey Passantino went 1.1 scoreless, retiring all four batters he faced. He has allowed one run in 9.2 innings.

Brad Case went one inning, allowing one run on two hits, with no walks or strikeouts. He has allowed two runs in ten innings of work.

Newly-signed Shawn Ross went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He has a .103 average and a .414 OPS in 19 games.

In Mexico, Jared Oliva went 0-for-4. He has a .277 average and a .733 OPS in 43 games.

Fabricio Macias went 1-for-2 with a single, walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases, giving him six steals on the season. He has a .259 average and a .677 OPS in 42 games.

Bowen/Shockley defense

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.

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I think the Venezuelan League has dropped a bit in quality due to risks there but is it still the second best winter league? Would it be comparable to AA+? AAA-?

Just trying to put into context what Castillo is doing. He could be a valuable RH bat to complement Choi or platoon with someone like Mitchell in the OF (speaking of which, is Castillo playing much OF this winter?).


Not trying to be a dick, but wouldn’t his actual MLB stats be a better rubric? Castillo’s numbers were absolute garbage last year, and he’s pretty much a defensive liability anywhere you play him. I do like Mitchell’s bat though. He finished the year strong and doesn’t have splits; he’s actually deserved of more opportunities. I only wish he could play “average” defense in RF.


I’m hoping that his struggles were due to making a big jump (he only had 70 PAs at AAA going into last season) and that as he was making the jump he was being moved around the field (2B, SS, RF) which included learning a position that he had never played (RF).

Even with his overall struggles, he put up a .788 OPS against lefties. With the way he’s performing this winter, he’s back on my radar as being a potentially valuable asset, likely as part of a platoon which works because we’re so lefty-dominated right now–I can see him splitting time with Choi or, as suggested, Mitchell _if_ his struggles in RF were due to having to learn it on the fly (which is an example of why I don’t trust Shelton to put players in the best position to succeed).


That makes what he’s doing pretty impressive!


Feels like Bae and Marcano are his competition for a spot on the 26-man, with Bae having the inside track. It would be really nice if there were enough acquisitions to push Castillo, Marcano, and Mitchell all to aaa to start the year.

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