Winter Leagues: A Look at the Pirates in the Dominican at the All-Star Break

Only three Pittsburgh Pirates saw action in winter ball and nothing of note happened, so I took a look at the results from the Pirates in the Dominican, where they held their All-Star game over the weekend.

In Colombia, Francisco Acuna batted lead-off and played shortstop, going 1-for-5 with a single. He’s hitting .333/.440/.367 in 20 games.

Edgar Barrios started at third base and went 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s batting .167/.237/.167 in 20 games.

In Puerto Rico, Yacksel Rios threw a scoreless inning on one hit and one strikeout. He has allowed one run over three appearances, all of them one inning each.

The Dominican league held their All-Star game on Sunday, so now seems like a good time to go over the league results for players of note. The regular season is nearly over for the league, but the postseason consists of a round robin tournament that goes on for a month, followed by a championship series, and the Caribbean Series for the league winner. The best team still has nearly two full months left in their schedule.

The most notable player for the Pirates in the league was Oneil Cruz, who was shut down by the Pirates last week. He hit .185/.267/.259 in eight games. Cruz also played this off-season in the Arizona Fall League, so he made up for some of those lost games during the season when he was injured. He didn’t hit much in the AFL either, and finished his fall/winter action with a .523 OPS and a 39.2% strikeout rate.

Erik Gonzalez was in the league early on until a foot injury/surgery ended his season early. He hit .250/.326/.425, which is an above average OPS in a league where pitchers usually rule the land. This year so far, batters have a combined .648 OPS.

Pablo Reyes will be competing for a roster spot in spring, but he hasn’t done himself any favors in winter ball. He’s missed time twice with an ankle injury, and has a .172/.206/.344 slash line in 17 games.

Two other batters have seen limited time. Adrian Valerio is a depth option for his team, which has resulted in an 0-for-3 over two games. Christian Kelley just recently joined the league, and he is 1-for-8 in three games.

On the pitching side, Pedro Vasquez is the most noteworthy prospect. He has been pitching sporadically since October, making six appearances, while throwing nine innings. He has a 4.00 ERA, six strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP.

Richard Rodriguez recently joined the league and has made two shutout appearances so far. He pitched 72 times for the Pirates this season, but he has always played winter ball, so this is his way of getting ready for the season.

Williams Jerez has been the busiest pitcher for the Pirates (not including Jesus Liranzo, who we follow still in case he re-signs). He has made 13 appearances, posting a 3.48 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 10.1 innings.

Joel Cesar gave up two runs over five innings in six appearances. He hasn’t pitched in the last four weeks, so his winter season could be done.

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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