The Venezuelan Winter League started their season on Thursday night with six current Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players on the Opening Day rosters. On Friday night, four of those players made their season debut. The number of Pirates players in the league will fluctuate as players are signed as minor league free agents or are released, plus some players only play partial season, so they may leave the team early or start their season later.
The top prospect playing in the VWL is Jose Osuna. His debut Friday night was a brief one, coming on as a defensive replacement at first base in the ninth inning. As a 20-year-old this season, Osuna hit .244 in 123 games with Bradenton. He had 25 doubles, eight homers and stole 18 bases.
Catcher Elias Diaz actually made his debut on Thursday ...
John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.