Winter Leagues: Michael Feliz Debuts in the Dominican; Erik Gonzalez Homers

Two days combined into one in this article because both Monday and Tuesday were relatively slow. We start with news first from the Dominican.

Michael Feliz joined Tigres del Licey on Monday after the Pirates gave him permission to play winter ball this year. The Houston Astros never allowed him to play during the off-season, so this is his debut in the Dominican winter league. He didn’t get into Monday’s game, but on Tuesday, Feliz pitched a scoreless inning. He retired all three batters he faced, one by strikeout.

Feliz is arbitration-eligible this winter and the Pirates have to decide by Friday whether to tender him a contract for 2019. He is projected to make $900,000 next year and the Pirates acquired him as a piece in the Gerrit Cole deal, so it seems likely that he will stick around. Feliz had a 5.66 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 47.2 innings over 47 appearances with the Pirates in 2018. He was sent down to Indianapolis for a brief time, making nine appearances in Triple-A.

In the Dominican on Monday night, Erik Gonzalez went 1-for-4 with a single.

Pablo Reyes started at third base and went 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s hitting .240/.345/.310 in 100 at-bats this winter.

Alfredo Reyes played well off of the bench on Sunday, so that earned him a start at shortstop on Monday. He went 2-for-4 with two singles.

Oddy Nunez retired the only batter he faced, picking up a strikeout, while stranding an inherited runner. This was his first appearance since November 4th. In five outings this winter, he has allowed three runs over 4.2 innings.

Tuesday

On Tuesday night in the Dominican, Erik Gonzalez connected on his first home run of the winter, a 427-foot shot (see video below). He finished the day 1-for-4 with a walk. Gonzalez is hitting .255 with four doubles, a homer and three walks over 23 games and 94 at-bats. He has four steals in five attempts.

Alfredo Reyes went 2-for-3 with his first double of the winter and he scored two runs. He’s now hitting .324 through 25 games and 34 at-bats.

In Colombia, Edgar Barrios went 0-for-4 during a doubleheader. Through 17 games, he has a .216/.302/.216 slash line.

Andres Arrieta made his first start during the second game of a doubleheader and it did not go well. All three batters he faced reached base and came around the score. One of the hits was a home run. He was removed after just 12 pitches. In 4.2 innings over five appearances, he has allowed four runs on seven hits, with two walks and one strikeout.

Our 2019 Prospect Guide is currently available for pre-sales and the top 50 prospects section with expanded scouting reports will be available before Christmas.

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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