Winter Leagues: Big Hits From Edwin Espinal, Jose Osuna and Elvis Escobar

Three days worth of action from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, as well as the start of the season in Puerto Rico, and the U23 World Cup tournament.


In the Dominican, Edwin Espinal connected on his first home run of the winter. He went 1-for-4 and the homer was a solo shot in the sixth inning.

Willy Garcia struck out as a pinch-hitter, then played center field in the ninth inning.

In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar played the last two innings on defense in center field. He did not get a chance to bat.

After making three starts, John Kuchno pitched in relief for the first time. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and no walks, striking out two batters. He needed just 25 pitches to get through his outing.

Julio Vivas threw a scoreless inning, walking one batter.

Elias Diaz told the local newspapers in Venezuela that he hopes to join his winter team on November 18th. He is still recovering from his leg infection that put him on the disabled list in early September.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth, a man on first, and his team trailing 6-5. He grounded out to shortstop to end the game on a play that went to instant replay to confirm the call.


Just one game in the Dominican, but two Pirates saw action. Edwin Espinal went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Julio Eusebio made his second appearance and did not do well. He gave up three runs on three hits and the only out he recorded was a ground out to first base by Espinal.

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna had a big game, as did the rest of his team. Bravos de Margarita put up 14 runs on 17 hits in this game. Osuna went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs. The double was his fifth of the season.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz walked as a pinch-hitter.

The winter league in Puerto Rico started on Thursday night. Danny Ortiz is currently the only Pirate in the league and he will become a free agent shortly after the World Series if he isn’t re-signed. Ortiz’s team didn’t play on Opening Day.


The U23 World Cup tournament began in Mexico on Friday morning and three Pirates are taking part in the festivities. Nick Hutchings and Sam Kennelly are on Team Australia, while Victor Ngoepe is on South Africa. Pitcher Vince Deyzel (South Africa) couldn’t participate because he had a UCL strain at the end of the GCL season, and he hasn’t thrown since late August. He went through rehab, which included the Fall Instructional League, and he has just begun to lift weights as part of his off-season training program.

Hutchings started the opener for Australia and allowed a first inning homer, then shutdown team Austria. He threw six innings, giving up one run on three hits, two walks and he had three strikeouts. The strikeout total is low, but he actually had a large amount of swinging strikes. The 20-year-old Hutchings pitched for Bristol this season and his longest outing was four innings. Sam Kennelly started at second base and went 0-for-3, with a HBP and a stolen base. He also committed an error.

Victor Ngoepe went 1-for-3 with a triple in his team’s loss to Venezuela. Ngoepe started at shortstop and moved over to second base later in the game. He committed an error.

In the Dominican, Willy Garcia made his second start and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. He was pinch-hit for in the eighth inning. Garcia played center field in this game.

Miguel Rosario threw 1.2 innings, allowing one run on one hit and one walk. He has allowed two runs over 4.1 innings in three appearances.

Edwin Espinal went 0-for-3 with a walk, and he committed a throwing error. He is hitting .120 through seven games, with a double, a home run and three walks.

In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar singled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, starting a three-run rally that gave his team a 7-6 walk-off victory. Escobar is hitting .365/.377/.538 through 18 games.

Jose Osuna went 1-for-3 with a single, a walk and a sacrifice fly, driving in all three of his team’s runs in a 3-2 victory. He is hitting .305/.403/.441 through 17 games.

Julio Vivas faced two batters and struck them both out, but he also allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-3 with a single, a walk and a strikeout. After walking in the bottom of the ninth inning, he was pinch-run for with the score tied 4-4. That runner eventually came around to score on a walk-off single by former Pirate prospect Tito Polo.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz went 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in his team’s 7-6 win. He also picked up an outfield assist on a force out play that was scored 3-7-5. I’ll let you figure that out.

The winter league in Nicaragua began on Friday. Anderson Feliz is the only player from the Pirates in the league. He will need to be re-signed by the Pirates in the next couple weeks, otherwise he will become a free agent. Feliz went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the opener.




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Bobby L

Best of luck to Diaz. He must have had a serious infection.

Bobby L

Thanks, John. That’s a little better outlook.

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