Winter Leagues: Two More Leagues Start With a Handful of Pirates on the Rosters

There are two days of winter ball action summarized below. The Australian Baseball League started on Thursday, but there weren’t any Pittsburgh Pirates players in action. So far, only Sam Kennelly and Nick Hutchings are slated to play in Australia. The league in Puerto Rico started Thursday night as well. The rosters that have been announced so far have three Pirates minor league players, Yhonathan Barrios, Bryton Trepagnier and Robert Andino.

In the Dominican on Wednesday night, catcher Carlos Paulino got his first start and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. His only other appearance was as a late game defensive replacement.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. He had an outfield assist and stole a base against Paulino.

In Venezuela, Junior Sosa went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first start since last week. He is 4-for-18 so far with a .522 OPS(before Thursday’s action, see below).

In Mexico, Dean Anna went 1-for-3 with a walk. He has reached base at least once in all 16 starts. Anna has an .877 OPS.

Thursday’s Action

In the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-5 with a run scored. He is hitting .256 through 39 at-bats.

In Venezuela, Francisco Diaz made his winter debut for Tiburones de la Guaira and went 0-for-3 before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

Junior Sosa pinch-hit in the seventh inning and had himself quite a game as it went into extra-innings. He finished 2-for-2 with two walks and not only scored the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, he drove in the winning run with two outs in the 12th.

Matt Nevarez got the win for Bravos de Margarita despite allowing the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning. He gave up one hit, a solo homer, and struck out two batters in his 1.2 innings.

Ramon Cabrera went 0-for-3 and his average is down to .156 through 13 games, with seven singles in 45 at-bats.

Jhonathan Ramos pitched a scoreless inning, retiring the side in order. In five outings, he has thrown 4.1 scoreless innings.

Reports out of Mexico are that Stetson Allie has missed the last couple days due to a stomach virus.

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.

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Guess nobody told allie not to drink the water, ah well ya live and ya learn. (At least I hope so, I have my doubts anymore.)


I would like to know also, Is Diaz able to handle the rotation with all that it involves going into 2015? Can he frame pitches and call a game? Also who would you prefer behind the opening day plate? Sanchez, Diaz or Stewart?

Patrick Kelly

Didn’t something come out a week or so ago saying that Sanchez wouldn’t be playing winter ball?

I’m a huge Tony supporter, so I would like to see him get a chance to take the starting job in 2015 and beyond. Diaz will probably always have better defense, but when you factor in both sides of the plate, IMO Tony is most likely to succeed as a starter. That could all change if Diaz develops with the bat in AAA this year.


That’s grear to hear.. I personally don’t care if he hits 600 obs.. if he can be close to martin in everything else bring him up.. lol. Thanks for the info on pitcher comments

John Janesko

I highly doubt he will be anything close to martin defensively. But what I do think is he can start more games and his offensive game could very well be better than martin because this year definitely seemed like a borderline fluke, sine his BABIP went up 70 points from last year and 114 points from the year before that. If you take out this year, Sanchez has thrown out 32% of runners. That’s above league average, if hes average at pitch framing he won’t be a huge dropoff.


Just my opinion, but I don’t think there’s any chance Diaz starts the 2015 season in Pittsburgh. MAYBE he’s a mid-season call-up, but I think that’s even unlikely as he’s only had 400 AB’s above high-A.


Thanks john.. sorry if it’s rude to ask a question about diaz when he wasn’t mentioned. . The post Gazette made a comment that some question his defense. . There’s so many aspects of catcher. Blocking/framing/throwing/game calling.. would it be the game management part he struggles with? Much appreciated

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