Winter Leagues: Elias Diaz Starts in Venezuela, Joely Rodriguez Will Play Winter Ball

In Venezuela tonight, Elias Diaz made his winter debut for Bravos de Margarita. He caught and had a tough night at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Diaz hit .260/.383/.380 in 50 at-bats in the Arizona Fall League this year.

Matt Nevarez threw a scoreless inning, giving up one intentional walk and striking out two batters. In 18.1 innings, he has 19 strikeouts and he’s allowed just nine hits.

Deolis Guerra pitched his first game since signing with the Pirates. He threw a scoreless eighth inning, retiring all three batters he faced, one by strikeout.

After pitching in the Arizona Fall League and doing well, Joely Rodriguez will continue his off-season in the Dominican. Right now, he is scheduled to start Tuesday night for Gigantes del Cibao. He pitched one game last year for Cibao before being shutdown for the winter. In the AFL, Rodriguez had a 2.38 ERA in 22.2 innings, with 22 strikeouts.

Tony Sanchez went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a sacrifice bunt. He is 1-for-8 in three games. Carlos Paulino was the opposing catcher in the same game. He went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Wirfin Obispo threw one inning, allowing one run on a solo homer. He struck out one and walked none. In 15 appearances, he has throwing 13.1 innings and has a 2.70 ERA, with 17 strikeouts.

Mel Rojas Jr. struck out as a pinch-hitter. He is hitting .237 through 93 at-bats.

Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-3, with a walk, sacrifice bunt and two stolen bases. He has five steals this winter.

In Mexico on Friday night, Sebastian Valle went 0-for-3 with a walk. He just signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent.

Carlos Munoz pinch-hit and flew out to center field to end the game in his team’s 10-4 loss. Munoz is 1-for-13 this year.

Felipe Gonzalez came on in the seventh inning with two men on and two outs and picked up a strikeout. In the eighth, he gave up a single, then a sacrifice bunt, followed by an intentional walk. A fielding error loaded the bases and that was the end for Gonzalez. All three runners eventually scored, though all three runs were unearned.

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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the pirates were 15th in the mlb in attendance. 27th in payroll. if the pirates signed scherzer and lester, they would be in the middle of the pack in payroll. stop drinking the coolaid people.


Don’t feed the trolls.

John Janesko

The Pirates generated about 45 million in ticket sales with their $18.32 average ticket cost. The yankees generated about 178 million with their $52.32 average ticket cost. Yea the Pirates were middle of the pack in attendance, but unless they raise ticket prices they won’t make enough money to compete with big markets. Even the Houston Astros who finished 26th in attendance made 4 million more dollars than the Pirates with their $27.98 average ticket cost.


I honestly dont think it is a value to give $250+mill to two 30 something work horses who best innings are almost certainly behind them… When we have gotten 70 to 80% of the same production for under $10 mill over the last few seasons… You’d be leading the mob next fall when those 2 guys underachieved

Lee Foo Young

Really anxious to see how Diaz performs in winter ball this year. Hopefully, his bat will continue to improve.


Not hard to figure guys – after his numbers at AA this year, and then in the AFL, this kid wants to do everything he can to impress before getting to ST. And, since the DR and Venezuela are the best Winter Leagues, he is seeing legitimate pitching and playing in his own backyard. I doubt the Pirates pushed him to play; instead they probably hoped he would rest for a few months.


I’d be mildly concerned about burnout, especially from catching. He’s had more games this year in AA/AAA than he’s had at any level, then AFL, now winter ball… that’s a lot of wear regardless of him only being 24. I could definitely see that affecting his bat.


bucs: Good point, but he is only around 120 games so far. He played again last night and went 1 for 4 with one K, and had a throwing error.

Lukas Sutton

Actually, i would hope PIT asked him to go play. His really only question mark at this point is if that solid year hitting was legit. Id say the more at bats he gets against quality pitching the better.

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