Winter Leagues: Kang Showing Some Rust; Hellweg Makes His Debut in Mexico

In the Dominican on Sunday night, Jung-Ho Kang made his third start and he is still showing some rust. He went 0-for-4 with two fly outs, a grounder to shortstop and a strikeout. He is now 1-for-11 at the plate, although he drove in three runs during his season debut. Kang committed his second fielding error, this one leading to the first run in a 3-0 loss. He handled all five chances cleanly after that second inning miscue.

Pablo Reyes batted lead-off in his second start and went 1-for-3 with a single, walk and a sacrifice bunt. He went 1-for-5 in the season opener.

Montana DuRapau had a tough debut on Saturday night, lacking control in his brief outing. So it probably wasn’t a good idea to go back to him on Sunday. He took the loss, throwing 1.1 innings, while giving up four runs (three earned) on two hits, one walk and one hit batter.

Anderson Feliz made his second appearance this season and he’s still looking for his first at-bat. He has been used as a pinch-runner both times.

In Mexico, Johnny Hellweg debuted for Yaquis de Obregon. In case you missed his brief time with the Pirates this year, he was signed out of independent ball and assigned to Altoona with two weeks left in the season. He pitched four regular season games and one playoff contest. Hellweg had a tough winter debut, allowing three runs on one hit and two walks, while recording just two outs. He threw 27 pitches, with 11 going for strikes.

Carlos Munoz went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk. For some reason he attempted a stolen base and predictably, he was thrown out. Munoz is 7-for-16 with two doubles and two walks through five games.

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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Low blow comment about Carlos Muñoz.


If we weren’t all Pirate fans, how many of us would feel he deserved to get the visa? My guess is not many.

Time to move on. If it happens, it happens. There are other players far more deserving of attention than him.


That is a great take. I am a Pirates fan and I still don’t think he deserves a visa to play baseball in America.

Blaine Huff

With an average of 4.2 WAR/162 ML games, I can’t think of a single guy in the winter leagues more deserving of attention than Kang. Yes, he’s an idiot…but he’s an idiot who can be an impact player on this team on Opening Day 2018.

Marty W

Kang is a line drive machine, plain and simple. A stud hitter who we need badly. Give him 500 PAs and we’ll see 30 bombs.

joe s

Kang equals tease. NO way of knowing if he will be with the team or not next year. I hope so, but that won’t get him a visa.


Any clues on what we would view as a ‘success’ for Kang? Is just getting ABs and hitting some balls with authority enough to placate the masses, or has everyone just written him off entirely and anything we may get from him upside?


Also they’ll keep trotting him out if he’s slumping 10 games from now?

dr dng

John, I posted this the other day and did not get a response.
What is his physical condition? Is he in shape?
Is he overweight?

dr dng

I have to give him credit for that.

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