Winter Leagues: Sam Kennelly Hits First Winter Home Run

For the last four years, Sam Kennelly has been one of the youngest players in the Australian Baseball League, still short of his 20th birthday. He was clearly over-matched at the plate during his first three seasons, but he held his own on defense and was able to play all four infield positions, so he always had a job. This year, he is finally starting to show that he belongs on offense as well, adding some power to his game. He still has some down days as he showed during Friday’s game when he went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, but you can see improvements in his game over previous years and that could carry over into the regular season in the States in 2016.

Kennelly had one extra-base hit during his first three seasons combined, though that was just 139 at-bats total. You could also say that his at-bat total was low each year because he wasn’t hitting enough to play full-time. He had four doubles this season before Thursday, then had his biggest ABL game yet. Kennelly doubled the opposite way in the sixth inning, then hit his first winter home run in the eighth inning. During the regular season in the GCL, he had seven doubles, two triples and a home run, so with 14 more games left this winter, he could match that output against much more experienced competition.

You can see Thursday’s highlights here. The entire game is shown below, but to make things easier, the double by Kennelly happens 1 hour and 55 minutes in, while the home run is two innings later around the 2:34 mark.

Also from Australia on Friday, Sam Street faced four batters, retiring two, while allowing a run on two hits. In 7.1 innings over five appearances this winter, he has allowed two runs on ten hits, with three walks and four strikeouts.

In Venezuela, Elias Diaz received permission to continue playing winter ball, though it sounds like he will leave his team for a short time to attend the Pirates winter mini-camp, which begins on January 11th and usually lasts 3-4 days. If his team is still in the playoffs afterwards, he will be able to return to Venezuela to play according to the reports.

Wilfredo Boscan was taken in the playoff draft by Tiburones de La Guaira on Thursday. Boscan said two weeks ago that he planned to stop pitching once the regular season was over. He wasn’t used by his team in the last couple games, despite being on six and seven days rest. As one of the top starters on his team, you would think that they would have used him in a must win game either day. They lost though, and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Boscan may have been drafted just in case he decided to play, or he may have changed his mind from a couple weeks ago. The winter leagues allow players from teams that didn’t make the playoffs, to continue playing on a playoff team by holding a draft the day after the regular season ends.

Except for Australia, all the other winter leagues are now in the playoffs, trying to figure out who will represent Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican and Venezuela in the Caribbean Series. The playoffs begin in Mexico tonight and start in Puerto Rico and Venezuela tomorrow. The Dominican league started last week, but took off yesterday and today for the holiday.

Expect the winter articles to be spread out a little more from now on, as less players are seeing action, especially with some players shutting down for the winter mini-camp. If anything big happens, we will post an article, otherwise we will cover 2-3 days per article.

  • I still am amazed how much I know about a fringe prospect due simply to the fact that he is the only player we have that plays in Australia- There is no reason why I should know what his batting average was in the Australian league in 2014- yet I do……. I really wish, as good as the coverage on him as its been- that it would stop until this guy shows talent precipitive of the coverage…..As far as I know (and i could be wrong) this guy doesn’t really have any plus tools, isn’t going to hit .300, win a gold glove, steal 40 bases, or hit 20 homers in the year……and probably won’t do the equivalent of any of those things at any level of the minors either……..

    • Sam Street is mentioned above, playing in Australia. Reliever for West Virginia Power this season.

      Just because you’ve been critical two articles in a row that I provide too much information about the only thing going on right now, I’ll pass this along for you and others who might feel the same. You’re not forced to read anything, but the coverage will continue. I refuse to do half-ass work to cut corners and if I can take five extra minutes to tell people, who pay for this website, some extra information on players, then I am going to do that. I don’t expect anyone to remember everything I tell them about certain players, but it is my only job to know as much as possible about these players and if writing it down in these articles helps me remember things and is good for future reference, then I’m going to continue doing that. The winter coverage will not be cut down just to make it quicker for you to read. I won’t take it personal if you skim an article.

      • well you obviously are taking it personal…..which isn’t real professional, but hey….that’s fine.

      • You don’t have to like the feedback, but as the people that are paying for the site, I do have the right to give it. I never said you are bad at your job, but at this point I know as much about Sam as I do about some of our top twenty prospects. If you don’t think that’s a reasonable statement for me to make, then just ignore it. Maybe you should take it as a compliment instead that I know so much about someone so unimportant, because it means you give in depth coverage of players, maybe even moreso than Tim’s in some occasions. Either way, Happy New Years John.

  • May your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny door down Cubbies

  • Relax John and take the day off. I think we can live without new news on New Years Day. If people want something to do I am sure there is a college football game they can watch.

  • I don’t expect there to be any news today, so feel free to use this as a discussion thread. There have been 32 transactions in baseball history made on this date, so there is a great chance(despite me jinxing it) that nothing will happen today. I’ll be here all day though, checking periodically, just in case

  • The winter leagues allow players from teams that didn’t make the playoffs, to continue playing on a playoff team by holding a draft the day after the regular season ends.

    Can you imagine if the MLB did that?