It has been confirmed that Jose Tabata will play Winter ball this season for Caribes de Anzoategui of the Venezuelan Winter League. He will join the team in mid-November. Last year, Tabata wanted to go to Winter ball but the Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn't allow him to play, which got a negative response from Tabata and his agent, who felt he needed to play so he could mature as a player.
Tabata will play Winter ball for the first time in three years (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Major League Baseball and the Winter Leagues have an agreement in place called the "Extreme Fatigue" rule, which limits the playing time of players who surpassed 500 AB's during the regular season. Last year, Tabata wouldn't have been allowed to play until December 1st, but this season, due to his low AB total, he was eligible to play Opening Day. This will be the first season of Winter ball for Tabata since 2010, when he .317 over 14 games in the Venezuelan Winter League.
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.