Winter League: Willy Garcia Homers, Continues Hot Streak

In the Dominican on Sunday night, Willy Garcia went 3-for-5 with a double, run scored and his first stolen base. The double was his fifth of the season. Garcia is hitting .341 in 44 at-bats.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-5 with an RBI. He has a .258 average in 17 games and has driven in seven runs.

Carlos Paulino went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored. He has started three times in the last four days after playing twice in the first four weeks.

Rafael Perez retired the only batter he faced on Sunday. More on him below.

In Venezuela, Matt Nevarez and Jhonathan Ramos each threw a scoreless inning of relief. They both retired the side in order. Nevarez picked up a strikeout. Ramos has thrown seven scoreless innings in his nine appearances. He has given up just two hits and two walks.

Ramon Cabrera went 0-for-3, starting his second game in a row after not getting a start for nine days. In 18 games, he is hitting .222 and all 12 of his hits have been singles.

A.J. Morris pitched one inning of relief, giving up a run on two hits and a walk.  In six appearances, he has pitched seven innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits and four walks, with six strikeouts.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz started for the second straight day, but he was pinch-hit for in the fourth inning. He flew out to center field in his only at-bat. Munoz is 1-for-8 with four strikeouts.

Monday’s Action

Monday was a slow day in winter ball for Pirates players. All of the action happened in the Dominican.

Willy Garcia had another nice game on Monday, hitting his first homer, plus a double in four at-bats. The better news is that he has just ten strikeouts in 48 at-bats, well below his average during the season.

Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-3 before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.

Rafael Perez retired the last batter in the sixth inning, stranding an inherited runner. In the seventh, he gave up a lead-off double before being replaced. That run came around to score. He has pitched seven innings over eight appearances, posting a 6.43 ERA.

Wirfin Obispo had a rough game, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks in one inning. He had not allowed an earned run in his first eight appearances.

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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R Edwards

Yes, he does wiff a lot and he needs to have better discipline, but I really like Willy Garcia – power, some speed, and a cannon for an arm in the OF.

With guys like Garcia and Rojas close to the majors, what about trading Marte for a starting pitcher (like a #2 or #3 ), a young catcher, or a first baseman?


I don’t know how many, if any, players find plate discipline or a better eye 4 years or more into their professional careers, but it would be a giant step in Willy Garcia’s prospect status if he has. I realize it’s a really small sample. Even if he can get his K rate down into the low 20’s, the rest of his tools, especially the power, can play.

Jean Francisco

Well I’m dominican and Garcia plays for my team, he deff doing better laying off pitches and breaking ball outside the zone. Even though only 4 walk highly due to a lot of swings in 3-1 or 2-0 counts. His hitting coach in DR is Luis Polonia who is the best hitter and all time hits leader in the league besides him playing with Manny Ramirez on the Team. last year Manny said about him : “this kid will be a better hitter than me” maybe he exaggerated a bit but I’m loving what I’ve seen so far.

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