As you will see with the bigger names listed below, there isn’t much offense going on among Pittsburgh Pirates players in winter ball. It’s still early for some of them, but no one has impressed this year like Gregory Polanco did last season, or taken a leap forward like Elias Diaz did by holding his own against better competition than he faced during the regular season last year.
Alen Hanson was hitting the ball well before his hand injury, but that was only in six games. Sebastian Valle seems to have a new life since signing with the Pirates last week, though he was one of the worst hitters in the Mexican League before he signed. Jose Osuna and Stetson Allie both lost playing time due to their performance at the plate. Allie was getting on base, but he wasn’t hitting for power or coming through in big spots. Osuna wasn’t doing much at all and hasn’t played since November 2nd. Two new players, Pedro Florimon and Gustavo Nunez aren’t known for their offense, though they aren’t facing Major League pitching either. Florimon has a .525 OPS and Nunez is showing a little bit of unexpected power with nine doubles and two homers, but his .279 OBP is just two points ahead of Willy Garcia(more on him below) for the worst in the league among qualified hitters.
So far it’s been a disappointing winter to follow. There are still 3-4 weeks left in the regular season(more for some leagues), plus playoffs, so there is time for some players to end the off-season on a strong note. Gregory Polanco should be around soon, though an exact date has yet to be announced. Some speculation had him joining his team earlier this week, which obviously didn’t happen. Below is the action from Friday night around winter ball.
In the Dominican on Friday night, Tony Sanchez went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored. In six games, he is 2-for-17, with two singles, three walks and three strikeouts. He is 1-for-4 in throwing out runners.
Willy Garcia went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and GIDP, but he helped his team to a 2-1 win. With the score 1-0 in the third inning, Garcia recorded the third out at home plate, gunning down Carlos Paulino, who tried to scored from second base on a single. Paulino finished the game 2-for-4 with two singles. Garcia has a .244/.278/.407 slash line in 25 games, giving him a .685 OPS that ranks among the lowest in the league for players with enough at-bats to qualify for league leaders. His OBP is the worst in the league among qualified players. The OPS is still slightly better than the next guy…
Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-3 with a single. He was thrown out trying to steal after the single. In 100 at-bats, he is batting .240 with eight doubles, one triple, no homers and a 11:22 BB/SO ratio. Rojas has a .665 OPS, which is just two spots from the bottom of the league rankings. His batting average is also two spots from the worst in the league among qualified players.
Wirfin Obispo threw a scoreless inning, giving up two hits. He has a 2.35 ERA in 15.1 innings, with 17 strikeouts. Obispo is still a free agent.
In Venezuela, Elias Diaz went 0-for-3 at the plate, but he threw out both runners that attempted to steal against him. Diaz was pinch-hit for in the ninth. He is 2-for-14 with no walks since starting winter ball .
Junior Sosa came in as a pinch-hitter and ended up going 0-for-4 during his team’s 4-3 win in 13 innings. He is 0-for-8 since returning to action after not playing for 19 days.
Matt Nevarez pitched the 13th inning of that same game and picked up the win, throwing a shutout frame. He walked one and struck out two batters. Nevarez has a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings over 20 appearances. He has 22 strikeouts and a .155 BAA.
Elvis Escobar was used as a pinch-runner and didn’t get a chance to bat. He is 1-for-2 in four games. Escobar spent most of the season in Low-A, finishing the year with Jamestown, so the Venezuelan League is a big step up in competition. As a 19-year-old last year in winter ball, he was one of the youngest players in Venezuela and was seeing the same sporadic playing time, going 3-for-16 in ten games.
Jhonathan Ramos threw a scoreless inning, retiring the side in order. In 15 appearances, he has allowed one run over 11.2 innings. Ramos is still a free agent.
In Mexico, Sebastian Valle went 1-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and a walk. He is hitting .391 in his last eight games. Due to a very slow start, his OPS is still among the lowest in the league at .668 through 70 at-bats.
Felipe Gonzalez had a rough outing, allowing both inherited runners to score in a 3-1 loss. He recorded two outs, but not before giving up a hit and two walks(one was intentional). Despite the poor showing on Friday, Gonzalez has a 2.61 ERA in 19 relief appearances, with a 1.32 GO/AO ratio and a .227 BAA. He has a 12:17 BB/SO ratio in 20.2 innings.