Our Pirates Winter Report will highlight one Pittsburgh Pirates prospect each week, then give brief notes from each country playing winter ball. This week, we feature Osvaldo Bido, who is working as a starting pitcher in the Dominican.
One of our roundtable articles early this year asked which pitchers would benefit the most in a long relief role. My answer back then is probably the same as it is now. I picked Osvaldo Bido.
Bido can dominate in spurts, but his starts usually have a point where things fall apart. Sometimes it’s a few batters, sometimes it knocks him out of the game. He has the arsenal of a starter, just not the control to make it work. His stuff also plays up in shorter outings.
Bido had four outings this year in which he allowed 21 earned runs over a total of 13 innings. He also had ten outings, including three long relief outings, in which he gave up no earned runs in a total of 33.2 innings. He had another seven starts in which he gave up one earned run in each game. More than half of his games/innings in 2022 resulted in a 1.02 ERA, yet he finished the season with 4.53 ERA in 111.1 innings. He didn’t have much middle ground this year. He also had 122 strikeouts, so he has the stuff to miss bats.
Bido has remained in the starter role this winter in the Dominican. He has made six starts, one which went poorly, and he has a 2.53 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 21.1 innings. While he’s in the starter role, the Pirates have him on limited pitch counts/innings, so he’s basically working in a long relief role and doing well.
What’s impressive about that performance is that the Dominican league is loaded with talent this year. They only have six teams, but those teams are averaging ten hitters on their roster with MLB experience each game. Throughout the season, there isn’t a team that has used fewer than 13 MLB players on offense. One team has already used 21 MLB players in their lineup. That average is more than some Triple-A teams he pitched against this year. Basically, Bido is facing a strong lineup every game and he’s getting the desired results.
With all of the innings he has pitched this year, he will be stretched out to start full-time all season in 2023. However, that probably isn’t his future role if he makes the majors. He’s already 27 years old (will be that age all of 2023), though he got a late start in pro ball and he was painfully skinny when he signed, so there was very little chance he would move quickly as a starter. This will also be his final season before minor league free agency, so it’s a big season for him. It seems his best chance for success would be leaving him in a 2-3 inning role, and letting his stuff play up in shorter outings, while focusing more on his better pitches.
Around the World
Rodolfo Castro is playing regularly still, but that could change if he doesn’t pick up his game soon. He’s off to a very rough start, with a .595 OPS and five errors in his first 15 games. Miguel Andújar has only played a handful of games, but he’s off to a nice start. More on him once he has a bigger sample size. Yohan Ramirez recently debuted and he’s thrown shutout ball in his five appearances, totaling 5.1 innings. Lolo Sanchez debuted this week, but his only work has come as a pinch-runner.
Diego Castillo was off to a hot start, but he left Thursday’s game after one inning. One report said he was having knee issues (no word on the severity), so it will be interesting to see whether or not he returns. Teams often shut down players over minor issues in winter ball. He’s hitting .339/.427/.518 in 17 games. Ali Sanchez is seeing regular time, though some of his appearances have been off of the bench. He’s having a slow start with the bat. His winter OPS last year was almost identical to his Triple-A OPS this year (.736 vs .743).
Miguel Yajure has a 3.38 ERA in three starts, but that’s hiding some rough overall stats. He’s gone just eight innings, allowing nine hits and five walks. He has give up six unearned runs as well. The Pirates have him on a limit of five innings or 65 pitches, whichever comes first.
Fabrico Macias and Jared Oliva are both playing regularly. Oliva hit well over the final two months of the regular season in Indianapolis, and he had a .300 winter average in 34 games going into last night. He also has 12 stolen bases. Macias has not been as strong. When we checked in last week, he was just below league average as a hitter, but he’s dropped a little more since then. He was even dropped in the lineup for one game, and sat another game, before returning to the top of the lineup.
Puerto Rico is seeing strong pitching from Brad Case, Will Kobos, and Jeffrey Passantino. Case in particular has been the best pitcher for the Pirates so far this winter. The offense in the league this year has been awful, with a league .595 OPS average. That’s a bit surprising because there are many more MLB hitters than pitchers in the league. Hitters with MLB experience are getting 28.9% of the plate appearances, while pitchers with MLB experience are getting 15.5% of the innings.
Tsung-Che Cheng will report in December. Aaron Shackelford hasn’t played since his first game due to a wrist injury and his winter appears to be done.
Sydney has six Pirates players. Sammy Siani has had some big games so far, leading to a .788 OPS in nine games. Ernny Ordonez and Jase Bowen have been steady so far, with no big games, but it always feels like they are getting on base at least once each game. Catcher Dylan Shockley was injured at the end of the 2022 regular season, so his work qualifies as rehab time as well, plus he was a backup during the season, so this league is letting him get regular work for the first time in a long time. Young Solomon Maguire is getting his first chance to play regular in his home country’s top league. He just started last week, so he has seen limited time so far. Jesus Castillo is off to a rough start early, but he also spent the 2022 season in the FCL (as did Maguire), so this is quite a jump in competition.
The league in Colombia is led so far by the hitting of Andres Alvarez and the recent surge from Rodolfo Nolasco. Going into last night’s action, Alvarez was third in the league in slugging, second in homers and RBIs. Nolasco hit his first two homers of the fall, and they both came against Pirates pitchers.
Oliver Mateo is racking up the strikeouts after pitching just 19 innings for Greensboro during the regular season. He had 30 strikeouts during the season and nine more in his first four innings of winter ball. Cristian Charle is off to a rough start with four earned runs in 3.2 innings on six hits and two walks. Diego Chiquillo pitched in the DSL this year, so this league would be a nice step up for him. So far the control has been off, with two runs on three hits and seven walks in 4.2 innings. Adrian Florencio has made three starts and none of them went well. In eight frames, he has allowed eight runs on ten hits, seven walks and eight strikeouts. Francisco Acuna is off to a very rough start, barely hitting over the .100 mark.
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.