The Pittsburgh Pirates are sending Altoona outfielder Michael Suchy and West Virginia catcher Arden Pabst to the Australian Baseball League, which begins play on November 16th. Both Suchy and Pabst will play for the Sydney Blue Sox. That team is managed by Tony Harris, who is an international scout for the Pirates.
Suchy missed time with a broken hamate this year, then struggled upon his return. He hit .200/.273/.288 in 78 games with Altoona this year. He did finish strong, with hits in each of his last four regular season games, followed by a .348 average in six playoff games. Suchy’s big issue this season, besides the injury, was 95 strikeouts in 280 plate appearances. He has always had a somewhat high strikeout rate, but that also came with a decent total of walks before this season. Many of those extra walks turned into extra strikeouts as he saw more experienced pitchers in Double-A. Going to Australia this winter will give him a chance to make up for some lost at-bats this season.
Pabst put up better offensive stats this season than last year, but he didn’t set the bar high after being drafted in the 12th round in 2016. He hit .242/.299/.346 this season in 67 games. He showed solid defense behind the plate and threw out 34% of attempted base stealers. The pitching in Australia is a little bit better than he saw this season in Low-A, so this will be a good chance for him to get some extra at-bats. If he can pick up the hitting, then he could turn into future big leaguer because the defense will help carry him.
Bradenton pitcher Sam Street and Morgantown shortstop Robbie Glendinning, a 2017 draft pick, are both expected to play in Australia this winter as well.
There was no action in winter ball on Monday. Just two teams played in Venezuela and no Pirates were on either team. The Dominican and Mexican leagues had off.