Winter Leagues: Gage Hinsz Continues His Impressive Return

In Puerto Rico on Friday night, Gage Hinsz made his second start and it was just as impressive as his first game. After throwing four shutout innings over the weekend on one hit, one walk and five strikeouts, he followed that up with five shutout innings last night. Hinsz allowed two singles, with one walk and four strikeouts.

Hinsz is returning from open heart surgery in May. That happened as he was attempting to return from a scapular fracture on his right side, which ended his 2016 season early. The Pirates initially said back in May that he should be ready to go for Spring Training (2019), so this early return is quite the story this winter.

He’s a pitcher who has only made it to High-A ball, but he was taking on a lineup on Friday night that had six players with Major League experience over the last two seasons. Hinsz was basically facing the equivalent of a strong Triple-A team and they only really squared up two pitches. He was going with a fastball heavy approach and got his share of swinging strikes.

Also in Puerto Rico, Jerrick Suiter played first base and had an 0-for-4 night. We have often mentioned that he is the best defensive first baseman in the system, though he rarely plays there. In the fourth inning behind Hinsz, he made two impressive scoops and handled a hard grounder to his left, making all three plays look easy. Suiter is hitting .238/.333/.286 through six games.

In the Dominican on Friday night, Erik Gonzalez went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored. He committed his seventh error of the winter, but just two of those have come in his eight games at shortstop. The others were at third base. Gonzalez is hitting .260/.275/.299 in 19 games this winter.

Pablo Reyes was only used late as a defensive replacement, but he ended up playing his sixth different position this winter. He played right field for the first time, giving him everything except first base, pitcher and catcher. He’s hitting .245/.343/.319 in 28 games.

Alfredo Reyes was in the opposite dugout of Pablo Reyes for most of Friday night, as he was used just as a pinch-runner for his team. Alfredo scored his fourth run of the season. He’s hitting .231/.300/.231 in 30 plate appearances over 22 games.

In Colombia, Edgar Barrios went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. He has a .250 average through 13 games, with four walks and no extra-base hits.

Carlos Arroyo, who spent the 2018 season with the DSL Pirates, made his winter debut and went 0-for-4, while playing second base. He hit .294/.416/.322 in 58 games this summer, while stealing 15 bases in 19 attempts. At 17 years old (July 11th birthday), he is the youngest winter ball player for the Pirates.

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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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