In Dominican League playoff action from last night, Kris Johnson regained his form, rebounding from a poor start earlier in the week, to allow just one run over seven innings in his team’s 3-2 win. Johnson gave up five hits, one walk and he struck out six, with the only run he allowed coming in the seventh inning on a walk and a triple. In seven of his eight Winter League starts, he has given up a combined three earned runs over 34 innings of work. He took the loss in his last start, one where he gave up two earned runs on nine hits over 6.1 innings, the only start in which he allowed more than one earned run.
One day after drawing two walks and hitting a homer in his first game back in the DWL, Starling Marte had a little trouble in game two. He went 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. Marte did contribute to the win with a stolen base, an outfield assist and he scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
In the same game on the other side of the field, Felix Pie and Alex Valdez again found themselves on the bench as their team continue to struggle through the playoffs. Pie came on as a defensive replacement in center field in the eighth inning and never got a chance to bat, while Valdez came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and remained in the game at second base. He ended up striking out in both of his at-bats.
In Venezuela, Darren Ford went 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. He is now 0-for-11 in three playoff games. Ford’s team ended up losing 8-1, but it could’ve been much worse. They were down 7-0 after four innings. Luis Sanz came in during the fourth inning after starter Les Walrond allowed the first four batters to all reach base. Sanz allowed both inherited runs to score, making it 7-0, though he was credited with two scoreless innings of his own. He gave up just one baserunner, a double to Gorkys Hernandez, while striking out two batters.
In Australian League action from today, Adelaide won 7-6 in ten innings. Stefan Welch went 2-for-6, with two RBI’s including the game winner. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth and no outs, Welch singled to left field to end the game. Quincy Latimore had a rough night, going 0-for-5, with two strikeouts and six runners left on base. He went 3-for-16, with a home run, in his first week back in the ABL.
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.
Where will Kris Johnson being the season? Does he slot into the Indy starting rotation? DOes he have MLB stuff?
I think he will be at Indy and there is a good chance he could be in the rotation with Cole, Irwin and Wilson. That is a lot of talent ahead of him so for Johnson to make the majors, he needs to keep up his strong performances. Even then, it would be as a relief option due to six starters in the majors ahead of him as well. He may have trouble getting a starting spot at Indy if the Locke/McPherson loser for fifth spot returns to Indy.
As for having major league stuff, it is fringe, but serviceable in a lefty relief role. Decent fastball, good changeup