The Dominican Winter League held it’s annual draft today and four Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players were taken among the 146 picks. The DWL draft allows teams to reserve players that usually aren’t quite ready for the league yet, so it’s basically players in the low levels of the minors. An example of that was two years ago when Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson and Willy Garcia were all taken within the first 12 picks and it was after their impressive seasons at West Virginia.
The picks this year were first baseman Edwin Espinal, pitcher Isaac Sanchez, infielder Chris Diaz and Maximo Rivera, who was announced as a center fielder, though he plays almost anywhere in the field.
Espinal was the highest pick, going in the ninth round, 53rd overall to the Aguilas Cibaenas. Isaac Sanchez went ten rounds and 60 picks later, also to the Aguilas. They will be teammates with Willy Garcia.
Diaz and Rivera were among the last players picked, going 143rd and 145th respectively. Diaz was taken by the Gigantes Del Cibao, while Rivera was selected by the Toros Del Estes, where he will be teammates with Alen Hanson.
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.