Winter Leagues: Rodriguez Dominates in Dominican Finals; Playoffs End in Australia

Only three Pittsburgh Pirates are still in action at this point, so this is a quick recap of the last week in winter baseball. We will have a full winter recap next weekend as the final article.

In the Dominican, Richard Rodriguez and his team won the league title and moved on to the Caribbean Series. Rodriguez started this week off by throwing a shutout inning on Tuesday, striking out the side in his team’s 5-2 win. In game seven on Wednesday, he threw two shutout innings, with one hit and three strikeouts, as his team won 11-5 to advance to the Caribbean Series. Rodriguez also pitched in game one of the Dominican series last weekend. Between all three appearances, he allowed two hits over four shutout innings, with no walks and nine strikeouts.

It will be interesting to see if Rodriguez is given a legit shot to make the big league club this year. He made his big league debut this past September with the Baltimore Orioles after putting up strong numbers in Triple-A. Since November, he has thrown shutout ball in 21 of his 23 appearances, with this last week being the most impressive due to the level of competition in the Dominican. It’s already the best winter league to begin with, but as the playoffs go along, teams are able to upgrade by drafting the best players from other teams that got eliminated. The lineup he faced on Wednesday had six players who have combined for 43 partial/full seasons in the majors, so that’s a fairly impressive winter lineup to shut down.

In Australia, two Pittsburgh Pirates were in the first round of the playoffs, which wrapped up today. Due to rain, the series between Melbourne and Canberra went from a best-of-three series to one game decides it all. Sam Street pitched on Sunday and recorded one out, while giving up one hit and one walk, allowing an inherited runner to score. Street’s team lost 9-8 on a walk-off homer in the ninth.

Robbie Glendinning and Perth played all three games in the first round of their series. Glendinning went 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored in his team’s 6-3 win on Friday. His team lost game two on Saturday by a 6-3 score, as he went 2-for-4 with a single, an RBI double and a run scored. Glendinning went 0-for-4 in the finale, as his team was eliminated with a 3-1 loss. Perth struck out 40 times in the series, accounting for more than half of their 78 outs.

Those losses in Australia today left Richard Rodriguez as the last Pirate standing this winter. His team lost on Saturday to Venezuela in the Caribbean Series opener. They play Puerto Rico today, Cuba tomorrow and Mexico on Tuesday. Once Tuesday’s games are over, then the records will decide which teams play on Wednesday (one team will be eliminated), followed by the title game on Thursday. Any results from Rodriguez will be in next Sunday’s final winter recap. He didn’t pitch in last night’s game.

  • So, is this Glendinning kid legit? Seems like there were a few extra base hits in every writeup on him this winter.

  • OK, I’ll bite, who is Richard Rodriguez??

    • He was picked up this off-season as a minor league free agent or waiver pickup I think. I’d have absolutely no idea who he is if not for these winter league recaps from Pirates Prospects but he seems like a potentially solid arm for the bullpen to be stashed in AAA. If nothing else this off-season I think Neal Huntington is firmly reestablishing his ability to put together a solid bullpen for a fraction of the cost of most other bullpens across MLB.

      • If you look at the link to the left of the article it will take you to everything P2 has written by clicking on his name. If you go to the 2nd page of results you will see the original artical. We claimed him earlier in the winter. I was unable to post the link from my phone. My apologies.

  • I would be more interested in the recovery of Shawn Rodriguez.

    Any idea about his progress.

    Is it possible we can put him on DL
    if not fully recovered?

    • Sean Rodriguez was off the DL for the last 77 days of last season (plus he rehabbed in the minors before that). The season ended four months ago and we have nearly two months until the regular season starts. If he goes on the DL, it will be something unrelated to his spring injury, which was a possible six month rehab they said. That accident happened over a year ago.

      • Many, including me, thought that was a really bad trade – NH trying to get somebody cheap and hope that he could get hot in Pittsburgh. Instead, Rodriguez posted a slash of .168/.255/.274/.528 OPS, and struck out 38 times in 100 PA. $7 mil?

  • Another intriguing bullpen arm. It seems like the Bucs have acquired a bunch of guys like Rodriguez – high upside, high K arms. If just a few of them pan out, the big league bullpen will be excellent. Given that the offense will likely be a weak spot again in 2018, they’ll need strong pitching in the late innings.