Winter Leagues: Strong Hitting from Elvis Escobar; Yoandy Fernandez Gets Start in Mexico

Winter League baseball began Tuesday night in Venezuela and Mexico, and it starts tonight in the Dominican. We posted our winter league preview here on Wednesday morning. Here’s a recap of the action from the first three days of winter ball. More players will start to see action as the season progresses and the articles should appear almost daily throughout the off-season.

In Venezuela on Tuesday, Elvis Escobar was the only Pirate player to see action. As I mentioned in the preview, the Pirates want him to work on stealing bases this winter. He went 2-for-4 with two singles in the opening game and was thrown out stealing in his only attempt. Expect him to run a lot this winter.

On Wednesday, Escobar went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and a run scored. He followed that up on Thursday with a 3-for-5 game. Escobar had three singles, a run scored, an RBI and his first stolen base. He has batted lead-off and played center field in each game so far.

In Mexico on Wednesday night, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his team’s 5-4 loss. He will become a minor league free agent next month unless he is re-signed by the Pirates.

On Thursday night, Yoandy Fernandez got the start for Mazatlan. The right-handed pitcher from Cuba was signed by the Pirates back in April and pitched in long relief out of the Morgantown bullpen this season. Fernandez had a rough debut, albeit under extreme circumstances. He gave up six runs on five hits and two walks in 4.2 innings, striking out four batters. During the season, his highest pitch total was 64, which he did twice in July. He never surpassed 45 pitches in any other outing for Morgantown. In his winter debut, Fernandez went 101 pitches, which is a lot under normal circumstances, but he hasn’t pitched in five weeks.

Carlos Munoz went 3-for-4 on Thursday night, with three singles, a run scored and an RBI. Mazatlan lost 7-6.