In Japan on Sunday, Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth, finishing off a 6-1 win by the MLB All-Stars. He struck out two batters and all eight pitches he threw went for strikes. Melancon pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday, allowing one hit. The MLB All-Stars are taking on Japan’s national team and not doing well, losing three of the four games played so far in the five-game series. They still have one more regular game on Tuesday and an exhibition game on Thursday.
On Sunday night in the Dominican, Willy Garcia went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He started his winter off strong, but has been in a real slump during the last two weeks. In his last nine games, Garcia is 8-for-40 with no walks and 13 strikeouts.
Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Prior to this game, he had hit a double in five straight games.
Carlos Paulino went 1-for-2 with a run scored. He is hitting .400 in limited time. Paulino reached minor league free agency this off-season and remains unsigned.
In Venezuela, Julio Vivas threw a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, with no walks or strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched in ten days, but continued his shutout streak that spans six innings and seven appearances. The fact that he spent most of the season in the Gulf Coast League, but now he is pitching well in a league much more advanced, makes the shutout streak impressive. During the regular season he had a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings.
Ramon Cabrera went 1-for-4 on Sunday. He is hitting .409 in his last nine games.
In Taiwan, the first ever 21U World Cup of Baseball wrapped up on Sunday with Chinese Taipei winning the tournament. Two Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguers took part in the tournament, Marek Minarik for the Czech Republic and Sam Street for Australia. Minarik was recently re-signed as a minor league free agent, while Street was drafted in the 16th round this year out of the University of Texas-Pan American.
Minarik made two starts and displayed the control issues that have held him back despite having a very good arm. He lost the opener to South Korea, allowing two runs on a hit and three walks in three innings. He then went four innings in the finale against Nicaragua, giving up just one hit again, but he walked five batters and allowed three runs.
Street pitched in relief twice, allowing one unearned run on one hit in 2.1 innings. Unfortunately for him, that unearned run saddled him with a loss. He walked none and struck out two batters.
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.