In Australia on Friday, Michael Suchy hit a solo home run to extend his on base streak to 18 games. Suchy left his last game in the first inning after getting hit with a bat while standing in the on deck circle. It was the second time in six days that he left a game early, departing last Sunday’s game in the fifth inning after taking a fastball off the helmet. Suchy’s home run provided the only run for his team and came off of veteran Brian Grening, who has played ten seasons of pro ball and seven years of winter ball. Suchy is hitting .279/.359/.505 in 31 games. The homer was his fifth of the season.

Robbie Glendinning continued to look like an All-Star in Australia, going 4-for-6 with four singles, a run scored and an RBI. Through 15 games, he is hitting .375/.459/.531 with 19 runs scored and 15 RBIs. At shortstop, he has made two errors in 73 chances.

Connor MacDonald is now the strangest person we have covered in winter ball. The Pirates signed the 6’5″ first baseman on Tuesday, and then on Thursday we found out that they signed him as a pitcher. He has pitched one inning combined between winter/pro ball in ten total seasons. The strangest part is that he’s still a hitter in Australia and he reached base all four times on Friday, going 2-for-2 with two singles, a walk and a HBP. He’s hitting .295/.358/.598 with nine homers in 30 games, so if the pitching doesn’t work out, they can try hitting.

In Puerto Rico, Hector Quinones pitched for the third time this winter and had a strong outing. Coming into the game, he had thrown 2.2 innings, allowing three runs. In this game, Quinones threw 2.2 shutout innings on one hit and one walk. The 2017 32nd round pick picked up his first strikeout of the winter against the last batter he faced.

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  1. Tim I just read the SI article that absolutely rips Nutting in a way that so many surely wish they could have their voice heard.
    I wonder the last time an owner was called out publicly like this and as directly?
    Where is the $ going if not to Cutch?
    This isn’t small market crap there is $80 mil in fun money aside from budget that just rolled in. He’ll that can buy a lot and yet only to the pocket of the owner apparently.
    So many here defend this team and with this I find it impossible at this time to find a defense.we should not be ok with this approach. This isn’t no mans land this Bobs discount buccos c’mon in.

    • The story isn’t going away. What I find compelling is that it has mushroomed and now touches on several issues affecting baseball and the Pittsburgh region:
      1. 53,000 individuals sign a hastily prepared petition calling on MLB to compel Nutting to sell the franchise….that has no real impact other than to embarrass Nutting and his staff

      2. Houston and San Francisco team management and fans rejoice over their new talent and the optimism it brings to their teams and their fans.

      3. A number of well written, well researched articles are circulating using the Cole, Cutch trades exhibits to show why the baseball model is broken. A central theme they document…….there is no incentive for owners like Nutting to win or realistically compete. They make more money by stocking the team with minimum salary youngsters and early arbitration year vets.

      4.The free agent market for proven vets is dead because expensive long term contracts come with major risk in the declining years. Over half of the MLB franchises are deciding not to compete for free agents, rake in the cash, and roll with fan discontent. Agents start to consult with lawyers about collusion cases against MLB ownership.

      5. Quality veterans sit by the phone unsigned because of their expectations on compensation and the fact that 2/3 of baseball franchises have decided they would rather cash out than compete. Over the next month we will see this situation break and some good vets will be had on the cheap for teams who want to compete. The Pirates won’t play in this arena in more than a token way…..claiming they are developing their young (inexpensive) core. If you don’t want to come to the games or watch on TV that’s fine with them. The ownership knows that a significant number of our diehard fans will still accept their PR campaign. After all, the choice is stop following the Pirates and baseball. Many just won’t do that.

      6. Nutting’s ownership strategy does in fact have negative implications for the Pittsburgh region. Despite all economic trends, the story out there nationally and in San Francisco and Houston is “poor downtrodden Pittsburgh and their loyal fans, they can’t even keep their popular homegrown stars.”

    • Even if the competition was weaker than the normal level of playing in Australia (which is about equal to Double-A), Glendinning has only played in the NYPL, so that’s three levels lower. It seems like offense is high this year for whatever reason, but his numbers would still be impressive due to his experience and the fact he joined the league mid-season.

  2. Suchy has that tight end look, but has struggled the last 2 years at A+ in 2016, and then even worse at AA in 2017. Don’t know that the pitching in the Australian Winter League will prepare him for a season where he will have to show a lot of improvement.

    • He had a decent April last year, then had his hamate broken and never got going when he returned, until the playoffs where he went 8-for-23 with a homer.

      His winter play is more about making up for seven weeks missed during the season, rather than testing himself against strong pitching. The pitching this winter in Australia seems weaker than normal, but he is still facing some Triple-A guys and plenty of guys who would be in Double-A. There’s even some guys with MLB experience in the league.

      With a player like Suchy, who only has Double-A experience, you want to put him in a league where he can have success. You send him to the Dominican, Venezuela, Mexico and he could be gone after a bad week, then he doesn’t get his at-bats. He plays in Colombia or even Panama or Nicaragua, and then he’s facing pitching that is subpar. Australia is the perfect league for him, plus his manager is Tony Harris, who is a Pirates scout.

  3. Curious questions, the games in Puerto Rico are they day games only? Since there’s no power in most of the island.

    • No, the island had 55% power over three weeks ago (not sure what it is now) and the stadiums have known for a long time that they needed power by the start of the season on January 5th, so they had everything running by then. If they didn’t, the league wouldn’t have started.

      • My family is there, still no power where they live, they used generators during they day and there’s a curfew that prevent the generators from running at night. I guess to conserve gas and noise level. That’s what prompted the question.

        • I’m not sure what is out still, but those stadiums are big businesses in major cities, so they have probably been fine for awhile. They made sure to have them ready for the season and unlike the average resident, they weren’t just relying on others to get the power back. They do play a lot of day games, but not all of them.

          I did notice that they usually have five teams in the league and only four are playing, so it’s possible one team wasn’t able to get up and running. It’s also possible they just condensed the league to make it easier to get all of the playoff games in on time. With five teams, that means one team is off every day, so it would take longer to play the “full” season this winter.

    • Speaking with some friends they say the island is about 60% up – the unique part many rural areas are doing their own “re-string” on a volunteer basis. San Sebastian area is still struggling but the tourist areas are back on. Ponce is back on – most of the outages are North of RT. 2

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