Winter Leagues Recap: Marte Homers Again
In Dominican League playoff action from last night, Starling Marte went deep for the second time in three games, as his team won 6-4. Marte was the big bat of the game, going 3-for-4, with four RBI’s. He started the night off with a two-run home run in the first. Marte also added RBI singles in both the seventh and ninth innings. Besides picking up right where he left off at the plate during the DWL regular season, another good sign from Marte this Winter has been his stolen bases. He stole his second base of the playoffs last night and including the regular season, he is 10-for-11 in stolen base attempts.
The only other Pirates player to see action last night was Felix Pie, and he couldn’t break out of his playoff slump. After batting lead-off all season, Pie was dropped down to eighth in the lineup. He went 0-for-1, with a hit-by-pitch, before being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. Pie is batting just .130 in the playoffs and with the loss last night, his team dropped to 2-7 in the 16-game round-robin tournament.
Some news out of Mexico from the Yucatecan Interstate Baseball League. It is a newly-formed league this season, that is basically one of two minor league versions of the Mexican Pacific League, the top Winter league in the country. Pirates pitching prospect Roberto Espinosa led the league with 67 strikeouts. The twenty-year-old RHP went 5-0, 3.65 in 16 relief appearances in the Gulf Coast League this season. Prior to that, he spent three years as a starter in the Venezuelan Summer League. According to the scouting report out of the league, Espinosa has one of the best sliders in the league and “great speed on his fastball”.
Two other Pirates players of note took part in the league. First baseman Julio Perez, who spent the season in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .244 with a .766 OPS in 44 games. Perez finished second in the league with six homers and led the league with 17 RBI’s. The other was 19-year-old 6’3″ LHP Omar Basulto, who had a strong season in the DSL this year. Basulto went 5-1, 1.74 in 17 relief appearances in the DSL, striking out nearly a batter per inning, while holding opponents to a .199 BAA. Basulto pitched perhaps the best game during the inaugural season of the Interstate League. On December 9th, he threw six no-hit innings, striking out 13 batters.