With no Winter League action on the schedule for yesterday or today, it’s time to switch to postseason coverage for four of the five leagues still playing. The lone exception is the Australian Baseball League, which still has four weeks left to it’s schedule.
The League in Puerto Rico wrapped up on Sunday, with Ivan DeJesus taking home the league’s batting crown with his .364 average. He also led the league with 52 hits. The league’s playoff series begins on Wednesday, though no Pirates are on the roster of any team that advanced to the playoffs.
It has been announced that DeJesus(and his teammates) have been suspended for the rest of the off-season for refusing to play Monday night. The players claimed their team was behind on payments and they protested by forfeiting the last day of the season. League rules allow for players from teams that didn’t make the playoffs, to continue on with a new team if they’re wanted. The suspension rules out that possibility for DeJesus, who is also banned from the Caribbean Series in February.
In Mexico, the playoffs also begin on Wednesday. Two Pirates players were on the roster of teams that made the playoffs, though neither has played for awhile. Catcher Ali Solis played for Culiacan, while Jovany Lopez pitched for Mazatlan. Neither player is currently on the active playoff roster.
In Venezuela, playoffs begin on Wednesday as well. That league has a five team playoff system, with one team off each night. As for the Pirates players still on active rosters:
Zulia: Ryan Reid
Anzoategui*: Nate Baker
Caracas: Luis Sanz, Darren Ford
* The Anzoategui roster also has four Pirates players that never appeared in a game. Three were players from the Dominican Summer League, catcher Carlos Marquez and pitchers Carlos Ruiz and Jesus Paredes. The other was Jose Tabata, who the Pirates wouldn’t allow to play Winter League ball.
In the Dominican, the playoffs have already gone on for four days. The league is currently on break due to New Years. Like the other three leagues, they will begin to play again on Wednesday. The Pirates players from the teams still active include:
Escogido: Kris Johnson, Gregory Polanco
Aguilas: Willy Garcia
Toros: Alen Hanson, Andy Vasquez
Estrellas: Alex Valdez, Felix Pie, Stolmy Pimentel
As noted in the recap from two days ago, Anderson Hernandez planned to play for Aguilas after his team was eliminated, but he backed out due to death threats from fans of his own team.
Finally, the Australian League will resume play on Thursday. Zac Fuesser will be on the mound for Adelaide as Quincy Latimore makes his return to the ABL. Latimore hit .313 with five homers and 25 RBI’s during the 2010-11 ABL season for Adelaide.
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.
“Anderson Hernandez planned to play for Aguilas after his team was eliminated, but he backed out due to death threats from fans of his own team.”
Death threats?! What’s that about, John? And I thought American sports had over zealous fans!
There is more info in the link at the beginning of that sentence, but basically, the harsh details are that his team was eliminated from the playoffs, so he signed to play with another team, which just happened to be the biggest rival of his team. It’s a common practice during Winter ball, but one his fans couldn’t accept.. He’s played six years in the majors and always plays winter ball, so he is a very popular player down there. Fans of his team, according to Hernandez, threatened to burn him alive, if he dared to put on the Aguilas(Eagles) uniform.
So he backed out, citing concerns about himself, his family and friends…apparently some of the other threats involved his loved ones