Monday night was a slow night in winter ball, with just one game scheduled in each active league. In the Dominican, Wirfin Obispo retired all three batters he faced. He has thrown 4.1 innings, allowing just one unearned run. In Venezuela, Julio Vivas threw a scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit. He has thrown 2.2 scoreless innings over four appearances, giving up one hit and no walks. In Mexico, Dean Anna went 0-for-3 with an RBI. He was also hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.

On Tuesday in Mexico, Stetson Allie went 0-for-3 with a walk. He has reached base at least once in all 14 games this season. Allie has a .291/.391/.345 slash line in 64 plate appearances. He has an 8:18 BB/SO ratio, but hasn’t shown any power yet in a league known for offense. Allie has just three extra-base hits, all doubles. His .736 OPS ranks 26th in the league, while his slugging has him ranked 37th overall and it’s 14 points below his team’s average. His OBP is in line with what we have seen from him during the last two regular seasons, in which he led all Pirates minor league players with walks each year. So he is getting on base, just not getting past first base often.

Just like with Josh Bell’s lack of power recently, there is little reason to worry about Allie yet. The overall talent in Mexico this time of year is better than what Allie saw in AA. There is also the matter of 14 games being a small sample size. Unlike Bell, who went 200 plate appearances during the regular season without a homer, Allie was hitting them at a nice clip at the end of the year for Altoona.

The pitcher Allie faced yesterday is typical of the opposition he has seen this off-season. Tommy Solis is a 32-year-old that has been pitching in the Mexican Pacific League since 2002 and that league is AAA equivalent, the highest level of play in Mexico. The pitcher for Allie’s team was Jose Contreras, yes that Jose Contreras. On Sunday, Allie faced Alejandro Armenta, a 36-year-old lefty that began his baseball career back in 1997. Basically, these aren’t the type of pitchers that Allie was seeing in AA this year.

During the regular season, he had a stretch of 16 games and another one that lasted 14 games, in which he didn’t hit a home run(or hit much at all for that matter). The important thing is that he is keeping his approach at the plate the same. He is getting on base at a strong clip and the strikeout rate is about the same as he has during the regular season. That obviously isn’t a good strikeout rate, but it’s good to see that it isn’t getting worse. Allie is getting a taste of the type of competition he will see next year and perhaps a little bit of struggling isn’t a bad thing. It could confirm what he already knows, there is still a bit of work to do before he can be considered major league ready.

Back to the rest of the action from Tuesday night. Dean Anna went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts. For the second straight game, he was hit by a pitch. Anna has reached base in all 15 starts this winter.

In the Dominican, Wirfin Obispo pitched for the second straight game and faced three batters. He allowed one unearned run on a single, double and he picked up a strikeout.

Rafael Perez made his fourth appearances and struck out the only batter he faced. He has allowed two runs over three innings, though he’s thrown shutout ball in three of his outings.

In Venezuela, Jhonathan Ramos made his fourth appearance and retired the side in order. He has thrown 3.1 shutout innings this winter season.

The winter leagues in Australia and Puerto Rico both start play tomorrow. We will have a complete list of Pirates players when they become available. As of right now, Sam Kennelly and Nick Hutchings will play in Australia and Yhonathan Barrios will play in Puerto Rico, but there should be at least a couple more.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. If Allie continues to hit, and reaches the majors a year before Bell and produces relatively well there, would there be a potential for a position change for one of them, possibly Allie to 3rd? He obviously has an extremely strong arm and I seem to recall him playing there in either highschool or college when he wasn’t pitching. May have to get both of them on the field.

    • They tried him at third before the move to first. It was a very short experiment. I don’t think he has the feet. Bell might have a better shot at 3rd down the road.

      • Well I did further research, and found an article from april 2013 in reference to his arm at 3rd base

        “I asked Stark about negating what was Allie’s best tool, and he seemed open to letting the bat guide defensive decisions in the future. “If the bat gets to where it needs to be, we can revisit in instructs,”

  2. John – What’s the status of Obispo? I know we DFA’d him off the 40 man, but do we still have control?

  3. Hopefully these guys were told to stop hitting homeruns for a a few months and work on getting on base and hitting the other way

  4. I’m encouraged by what Allie’s doing this fall. He’s facing a bunch of experienced guys who throw everything except fastballs. Isn’t the pitching in the Mexican League noted for that? The fact that he’s not flailing at all the off-speed pitches and striking out more than normal is a positive. The great OBP is very encouraging.
    Could that be the reason the Bucs sent him there — to learn how to recognize and hit the soft stuff?
    What’s your prediction where Allie starts next year — Altoona or Indy?

    • Allie did enough to get called up to Indy, so I fully expect him to be starting at first base in AAA and Bell starting at first base at Altoona

    • Anyone maing a comment that contains a phrase like this : ” these two gibronis “, doesn’t deserve any answer at all.

  5. I think a Neil Walker extension for an additional two years would be a great way to give Allie and Bell another couple years to figure it out and man 1B. I don’t think either are ready to contribute until 2017 but we’ll need a 1B in 2016.

    • Walker has 2 years of team control left, so he is already “signed” through 2016. I think an extension makes sense though to get a couple more years of control. Something in the 4 years $50 million range would work,.

      • No thanks. Walker should get roughly $19-$20 mil in arbitration through 2016, meaning those additional two years would effectively cost $15 million each. This for 31/32 year old second basemen who probably won’t be able to stick at second (his advanced defensive rankings already put him near dead last in the league – the sabr portion of the gold glove award had him at very dead last.) Not to mention his ongoing back problems. That would be a massive overpay.

        • That is hyperbole, Walker has been a steady 3 win player, with inflation and more media money driving payroll, he will command $15-18 million a year on the open market. Moving to 3B in a few years would likely increase or at least maintain his value as his range limitation would not be dragging him down. We are only talking about extending through his 31 and 32 year old seasons. You may get a hometown discount to 4 year $45 million, anything less would be stupid on his part.

          • With his current health, 15 million a year is a tremendous risk. Walker isnt a guy you count on to stay healthy and is pretty average on defense with a move to 3B. Never pay market price for a players over 30 years unless he is a clear stud.

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