Not a lot going on in winter ball over the weekend, but there might not be anymore news today, so this at least gives you a chance to discuss any topic in the comments. Before I get into the recap, I’ll mention that the MVP voting will be announced today in Venezuela. Jose Osuna won the Rookie of the Year award earlier this week. He isn’t expected to win, but Osuna is expected to receive some support. I’ll update this post after the votes are announced later this morning. Update 12:55pm: Osuna finished fourth in the voting, receiving six first place votes, four second place and four third place out of 50 ballots.
On Saturday in the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-1 off the bench, leaving him 2-for-25 in the playoffs.
Wilkin Castillo had an RBI single and a run scored in his only at-bat. He’s hitting .310 in the playoffs. Castillo was the starting catcher for the early part of the playoffs, but he’s been backing up Sebastian Valle, who moved over from the league in Mexico. Castillo is still a free agent, while Valle signed with the Yankees about a month ago.
Gustavo Nunez has signed with the Detroit Tigers, ending his run in our winter updates. It looked like he still had a chance to return until the Pirates signed infielder Juan Diaz a couple weeks ago. This will be Nunez’s third stint with the Tigers, meaning his third stint with the Pirates will probably happen sometime in 2017-18.
In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz went 1-for-4 with a run scored, as his team won 7-1. He is hitting .231 in ten playoff games, after batting .217 in 42 regular season games. It’s been a disappointing winter for Ortiz, who has put up big numbers in the past during the winter in his home country of Puerto Rico.
In Australia on Sunday, Sam Street threw a scoreless inning, but it wasn’t easy. He gave up a hit, a walk and threw a wild pitch. Street has allowed eight runs over 14.2 innings this winter, though six of those runs came during one outing in which he went just 1.1 innings.
Sam Kennelly had a strong game, going 2-for-2 with a single, double, HBP and a walk. Both times he got the swing the bat, he came up with nice line drives. He started his day with the two hits, then the hit-by-pitch came on the first pitch of his next plate appearance, though it was just a slow breaking ball he may have been able to get out of the way of if he tried. The walk came on four pitches, so he didn’t have a chance to swing the bat after his double.
Kennelly is hitting .203/.275/.297 through 35 games, with eight doubles and a home run. While those numbers aren’t impressive, he is still one of the youngest players in the league, they are a big improvement over his previous numbers and his team OPS is only .648 this season. So with some context, they look a little better.
I was able to talk to him earlier this week about the improved play and added power. Kennelly said “Being on the team a few years now, this year I felt like I wanted to do more. Drive in runs and be an important player for the team’s success. More playing and more AB’s are a huge plus, and more opportunities to push the team to where we want to be at the end of the season.” He added “I’m looking to do some damage every pitch thrown to me. Still working in the cages everyday and trying to get better, but definitely feeling more comfortable this year.”