Winter Leagues: Espinal Starts Off Strong; Santana has Second Straight Tough Outing

On Tuesday in the Dominican, Jung-Ho Kang couldn’t build off his first home run from the day before. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, giving him a .107 average through his first eight games of the winter. He has struck out 13 times in 28 at-bats. Two of his strikeouts on Tuesday came against Onelki Garcia, a 28-year-old lefty who appeared briefly in the majors in 2013 and 2017. The other came against Tyler Jones, who has yet to make his debut in the majors, reaching Triple-A for the first time this season.

Edwin Espinal went 2-for-3 with a walk, before leaving for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning. This is an important time for Espinal, who will reach minor league free agency soon if he isn’t re-signed by the Pirates or added to the 40-man roster. He is hitting .400 so far this winter, going 4-for-10 with three walks in four games.

Pablo Reyes went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Uncharacteristically, he committed two errors at second base on this night, his first two of the winter. Reyes is hitting .167 through his first 18 at-bats.

Edgar Santana made his second appearance of the winter and it was barely better than his first outing when he allowed two runs and picked up the loss. He recorded two outs this time, while giving up one run on a hit and a walk, with one strikeout. The strikeout came against Pablo Reyes.

Anderson Feliz played his third game and all three have been as a pinch-runner. He stole his first base on this night, but has yet to score a run.

In Mexico, Yoandy Fernandez made his third start and went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk, with three strikeouts. He had a 7:4 GO/AO ratio and threw 56 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

Carlos Munoz went 0-for-2 with a walk, before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.

  • John, I was not all that impressed with Osuna…Might be worth keeping Edwin
    since he has a better glove (at 1st) than Osuna. Bats being equal that is.

  • justinblain1996
    October 25, 2017 1:37 pm

    I know he isn’t anything more than organizational depth, but how much can Anderson Feliz be learning by just being a pinch runner? The main purpose of winter ball is to get players better and get them more game playing experience. Can’t imagine he is gaining much down there by being a pinch runner. He should be getting pinch hitting chances or defensive innings as well

  • what has happened to Edgar Santana? At one time he was unhittable now he seems less then average. I was expecting him to be a major bullpen piece this year, now I doubt he can even make the team.

  • From reading all the information on Pirate Prospects Espinal is a similar talent as Osuna. Good defense at first base and has a steady bat. Possibly the Bucs could use Osuna in a multi player trade to bring in bullpen help or a decent fourth outfielder.

    • There are a lot of similarities between them. Both play solid defense at first base and below avg at their backup positions. Neither can run well. Both have power, hit for a decent average and don’t walk or strike out much.

      Biggest difference at this point really is that Osuna has more MLB experience than Espinal and he’s shown the ability to hit for some power for a longer time. Espinal really just translated his raw power into homers this season for the first time. He always hit the ball hard, but he was a line drive hitter and didn’t always swing at the best pitches.

      • Typical pirate international signing. Pay little and get little value. I wish both players future success but this has to say something about whom the pirates target with their international bonus money.

        • Disagree Joe. Osuna was given a $250,000 Bonus and in 2017 he had the third highest number of EBH per AB for the Pirates at age 24 – just a little behind ‘Cutch and Josh Bell.

          $250,000 is chump change these days for an International signee when teams are spending $10 mil to $30 mil a year to sign 16 year olds, most of whom will never get higher than AA. The Pirates have not been able to compete with other teams spending money like that, but they have developed as much or more talent off the International Draft as any other team, and have plenty left in the pipeline..