Winter Leagues: Elias Diaz Hopes to Continue Playing this Winter

Not much going on in winter ball, but we couldn’t go four days without an update, plus there is some very minor news to report.

Elias Diaz doesn’t know if he will participate in the Venezuelan league playoffs yet. He has said that he would like to, but he is awaiting permission from the Pirates to continue playing. Diaz is hitting .245/.318/.378 through 28 games, which isn’t the type of numbers you’d like to see from someone with his type of experience, both in winter ball and pro ball. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story though, as he has been credited with turning his team’s season around by providing outstanding defense behind the plate.

Bravos de Margarita were 9-23 in last place during the first half of the season. Diaz joined the team right at the end of the first half. In the second half, they are 18-11 and in first place, earning a trip to the playoffs. His work with the pitchers and control of the running game has made the second half run possible according to his team’s manager. Henry Blanco, who caught 16 years in the majors, has been quick to point to the addition of Diaz as the reason his team made the playoffs, so he is hopeful Diaz will be allowed to continue to play.

In action from Venezuela on Saturday, Robert Zarate pitched an outstanding game. He threw seven shutout innings, getting eight strikeouts and six ground ball outs. He has a 2.12 ERA in 51 innings this winter, showing improved command after a couple shaky outings in which he walked a combined nine batters in eight innings. Since then, he has issued six walks in 30 innings. Zarate ranks third in Venezuela in ERA, and his WHIP(1.20) is fifth best among qualified pitchers.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz may have possibly been injured. According to the play-by-play, he left the game after an infield fly to first base while on defense. That seems odd since he was in left field, but it may have been an injury that occurred on a foul ball from the next hitter. Nothing has been reported yet, but if any news pops up, I’ll update this post. Ortiz walked in his only plate appearance.

In Australia, Sam Kennelly started at third base in game one of a doubleheader and went 0-for-4 in his team’s 6-5 loss, which included them leading 5-0 going into the seventh inning. He did not play in the second game. Kennelly is hitting .203/.250/.241 in 22 games.

MLB Network is going to give you some baseball to watch soon and it could include Sam Kennelly and Sam Street. They are going to show Sunday baseball in January, starting on the 10th and running through the 24th. Kennelly’s team plays on the 10th and 17th, while Street’s team plays on the 24th. The only catch of course is that the games will be shown live, so set those DVR’s because that means 3am Sunday morning for the first two games and midnight for the third game.

  • Michael Sanders
    December 27, 2015 9:20 am

    Sounds like Ortiz has some crazy range. No doubt he wants to be considered for the first base job by putting in some extra effort to cover first while playing left.