Winter Leagues: Playoffs Begin in the Dominican

In Venezuela on Sunday, Elias Diaz went 3-for-4 with three singles, a run scored and an RBI during his team’s 6-0 win. He is hitting .265/.333/.395 in 29 games. This game marked the return of Jose Osuna from his three-game suspension(reduced from six games) for his part in a brawl two weeks ago. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored. Osuna is hitting .333/.397/.521 in 58 games. His .918 OPS ranks him fifth in the league and that should help him capture the Rookie of the Year award with just two days left in the regular season.

The playoffs started in the Dominican on Sunday. Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-3 in his team’s 4-0 loss. He finished the regular season with a .236/.326/.439 line in 36 games, hitting six homers and stealing six bases.

The only other two Pirates to see action in the Dominican on Sunday are current minor league free agents. Wilkin Castillo went 1-for-4 with a single. He was just 3-for-25 during the regular season, seeing very limited time as the third-string catcher. Gustavo Nunez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He hit .242/.321/.292 during 36 regular season games.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz was back in the lineup and he went 0-for-2 with a walk. He left early yesterday, getting pulled from the game during the middle of an inning while on defense. Whatever the reason for his departure, it was obviously a minor issue. Ortiz is hitting .215/.304/.277 in 40 games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a single. He is hitting .240 now, which ranks him 26th among 32 hitters with enough at-bats to qualify as league leaders.

In Australia, Sam Kennelly went 1-for-4 with a double and run scored. It was his fourth double of the season after collecting just one extra-base hit in his first three seasons in the league.

Some wrap-ups on a couple seasons that are over in the Dominican. Two prospects saw their team’s season end just before Christmas.

Willy Garcia had a horrible time this winter. During the AAA playoffs, Garcia hurt his knee and left the game after trying to make a sliding catch. It happened during game four and then he missed the last game of the playoffs. In his first winter game, Garcia got injured on an awkward slide at home plate, which resulted in him hitting his face on home plate. So while they happened about 40 days apart, he got injured and removed early from two straight games he played. He returned after five days and did nothing, which eventually led to him being benched and ending his winter early. Garcia hit .160/.189/.180 in 18 games and struck out every 3.5 plate appearances.

Edwin Espinal saw limited time for the second straight winter, though that’s not surprising due to his age and experience. Most players don’t see regular playing time before they reach AA. He went 3-for-14 in ten games, connecting on his first winter home run.

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.

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Yep- there is our outfield depth guys. Rojas and Garcia- It’s like opening the cupboard and seeing a can of green beans and a can of Treet. Bon Appetite.

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