Winter Leagues: Jose Osuna is Off to a Solid Start This Off-Season

On Sunday in the Dominican, Gustavo Nunez went 1-for-4 with an RBI, walk and run scored. He was the only position player from the Pirates to get an at-bat, though one other played. Edwin Espinal made his debut as a defensive replacement at first base in the ninth inning. He got into six games last winter, his first season in the Dominican. Josh Wall was the only pitcher from the Pirates to play and he worked a perfect inning, striking out two batters and stranding two inherited runners.

In Mexico, Harold Ramirez went 0-for-3 and Carlos Munoz went 0-for-2, but their team won 5-4 with help from a Pirates’ player(see below). Munoz drew a walk early in the game, then was intentionally walked late in the game to load the bases before the winning run came home. Both Munoz and Ramirez dropped down sacrifice bunts. Neither is hitting for average early, with a .222 mark for Munoz and .188 for Ramirez.

Dan Gamache pinch-ran in the ninth inning and stayed in the game at third base. In the tenth, he made his fourth error in only three games. This one ended up costing his team the game, as the runner made it to third, then after two intentional walks(one to Munoz), a single brought in the winning run. After such a slow start, including 1-for-10 at the plate, he will need to turn things around quick. Players get sent home quick from winter leagues if they aren’t performing well. We saw that last year with Tony Sanchez and Stetson Allie and neither had a rough three-game stretch like Gamache has had on both sides of the ball so far.

Felipe Gonzalez retired the only batter he faced, coming in with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning.

In Venezuela, Bravos de Margarita used three Pirates on Sunday. Jose Osuna started in left field and went 1-for-4 with a single. Francisco Diaz started behind the plate and went 0-for-3 with an RBI. Junior Sosa pinch-ran in the eighth inning and stayed in the game in right field.

Osuna is 8-for-28 in eight games, though it is a rather empty performance so far. He has two doubles, but no walks, no runs scored and he hasn’t driven in a run yet. It is however a big improvement over last year when he went 3-for-26 in 11 games. With a player like Osuna, who spent the second half in AA this year, you hope for improvements in winter ball as he gets older and usually right around the time players reach AA, they start to see more playing time in the winter. So far, he is doing a good job, though it will be interesting to see how he plays later in the year when some of the better/older players show up in the league. Most of his playing time last year was very early in the season, although that might be due to the poor start. With Osuna holding his own so far early, he could be in for a productive winter.

Julio Vivas pitched the bottom of the tenth inning with his team up 8-4. He needed just 11 pitches to seal the win. He has given up one run over four innings in four appearances.

Gorkys Hernandez went 1-for-4 with a walk and run scored. He’s hitting .342 in ten games.

A.J. Morris started and gave up just two runs over four innings, though it came with a lot of base runners. He allowed six hits and three walks, striking out three batters. Morris threw 86 pitches, 53 for strikes.