In Venezuela on Sunday, Elias Diaz and Jose Osuna both had big games in a 12-0 victory for Bravos de Margarita. Diaz had three hits, including his second homer of the winter. He drove in five runs, including three on a bases loaded double. Osuna had a single and four walks, reaching base in all five plate appearances. He scored three runs and drove in a pair. The impressive part about the four walks is that none of them were intentional walks and the opposing pitchers only walked two other batters all game. Osuna now has a .338/.405/.469 slash line in 37 games. Diaz is hitting .303/.351/.545 in nine games.
Not all of the Bravos had big games on Sunday. Junior Sosa went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. He has a .437 OPS in 24 games
Believe it or not, the best game by a 2015 Pirates’ player on Sunday in Venezuela didn’t come from Osuna or Diaz. Gorkys Hernandez went 3-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, a walk, and he matched Diaz with five RBIs. His team put up 15 runs on 22 hits.
In the Dominican, Alen Hanson went 1-for-3 to raise his average to .301 through 22 games. He committed his third error of the winter, but handled seven other chances cleanly, including three double plays.
Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. He committed his seventh error.
In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout. He is hitting .303 through 35 games.
Felipe Gonzalez had a second straight poor outing, allowing a run on three hits, while retiring just two batters. He did however strand an inherited runner in the sixth inning, before falling apart in the seventh.
In Colombia on Saturday, Harold Ramirez went 1-for-4 with a single and Tito Polo went 0-for-4. Ramirez is hitting .320/.400/.400 in 25 at-bats.
The Dominican and Venezuelan leagues both sent two teams to Marlins Park this weekend, home of the Miami Marlins. On Saturday, two teams from the same league played each other, with the Dominican game counting as an exhibition game, while the Venezuelan game was a regular season game. On Sunday, they played two exhibition games featuring one team from each league. In game one, Deolis Guerra made his first appearance of the winter, though obviously stats won’t count. He threw a scoreless inning for Navegantes del Magallanes, retiring the side in order.
The second game was televised on MLB Network and featured Willy Garcia starting in center field for his Dominican team and Elvis Escobar starting in right field for his Venezuelan squad. The stats won’t count for these games, but since I watched, I’ll cover each at-bat here. Garcia struck out looking in his first at-bat. In the bottom of the first inning, he showed off his arm, making a strong, accurate throw from center field to second base. In the fourth inning, he struck out swinging, looking bad on a check swing. In the sixth, Garcia reached on an infield single, though the ball was hit well and the third baseman made a nice stop, but couldn’t make the play. He was pinch-hit for in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and a 2-2 tie.
Escobar grounded into what looked like a sure double play in his first at-bat, but he showed good speed to beat out the play. That led to a delayed steal with a man on third, who scored on the play before Escobar was tagged out for the third out. It was set up to work out that way, giving up an out to let the run score and Escobar did his job well.
In his next at-bat, Escobar tripled to the right-center gap on the first pitch. Again, he showed off good speed on the play. Escobar also showed off a strong arm on a single to right field in which he kept the runner at first base from advancing to third base. In the eighth, he grounded out to first base off former Pirate Donnie Veal. It was an impressive display of tools by Escobar, especially when you factor in that he’s a Low-A player against advanced opposition.
Jhondaniel Medina pitched the seventh inning for Cardenales de Lara(Venezuela) and allowed an infield single, but had a strong inning, getting three ground balls. He threw 14 pitches, ten for strikes.