Pirates Winter Leagues: Six Pirates See Playoff Action on Wednesday

Wednesday night saw four Pittsburgh Pirates play in the playoffs in Puerto Rico, and two others take part in the playoffs in Colombia. Here’s a recap of the action.

Puerto Rico

Duane Underwood Jr. made his second playoff appearance. He retired the side on four batters, with one runner reaching base on an error. He has thrown a scoreless inning in all five of his winter appearances.

Josh Palacios went 2-for-4 with two singles, two RBIs and a stolen base in his team’s 4-2 win. He is 5-for-16 in the playoffs, with a double, homer and walk.

Chavez Young went 1-for-5 with a single, run scored and an RBI. He is 3-for-14 with a double and four walks in four playoff games. Palacios and Young are teammates, and their team is up 3-1 in the series over Underwood’s team. We took a look at Young’s full winter season yesterday.

Tsung-Che Cheng played in his team’s win yesterday, but he only served as a defensive replacement, putting in two innings at second base without getting a plate appearance.


Andres Alvarez went 2-for-4 with two singles. His team lost for the second straight night, putting them one game away from being eliminated in the five-game playoff series. He went 1-for-3 with a single, walk and stolen base in the first game.

Francisco Acuna went 0-for-3, as his team moved within one game of advancing. He went 1-for-4 with a single in the opener.

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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For those with ESPN+, there is an interesting column on winners and losers of the offseason by Kiley McDaniel today. What makes it interesting to us? Key passage here in the section with small market owners as losers:

With revenues exploding, free agency as healthy as it’s ever been, and people like me taking teams to task for not spending into the CBT, it really makes you wonder what in the world the owners of the Tampa Bay RaysPittsburgh PiratesCleveland Guardians and Oakland Athletics are thinking.

After decades of essentially saying, “We can’t afford to spend that much, but we also won’t show you our books, just trust us,” owners in this post-Cohen world now look either like 1) they don’t actually care about winning or 2) they can’t afford to compete financially. It’s infinitely more likely that it’s reason one rather than two.

Wilbur Miller

Yeah, it’s 1).

I think Manfred has finally established the regime he always wanted. The lower revenue teams won’t get in the way of the Yankees, Dodgers and other high-revenue teams making the playoffs every year. Manfred has convinced them that there’s more money in sitting back and raking in revenue sharing and central revenues than there is in trying to pack their own ballparks. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s actively using discretionary funds to bribe them into not trying to compete.

It’s bad enough with the Pirates, who needed to do some form of rebuilding. Now we’re seeing teams do teardowns for no apparent reason, like the Reds. And the Brewers, who used to show a commitment to trying to win, just aren’t any more. Something has fundamentally changed, and searching for any explanation other than money is foolish in the extreme.

Last edited 14 days ago by Wilbur Miller

And for those ready to cite the Rays or Brewers, the next paragraph is:

There literally isn’t another explanation for a team not being competitive, because you can always fire a GM and bring in another one until you get what you’re paying for. The problem is not paying enough to expect results. The Rays are the outlier, continually getting results from less, and some others like the A’s, Guardians and Milwaukee Brewers will pretty consistently get solid results from less, but how do they justify only offering their front offices “less” to deal with?


Extremely well written.

Even more egregious to me are the growing number of formerly-tanking teams who just don’t seem care. What in the hell are the Marlins and Reds and Tigers and Orioles and Royals doing right now?

No team in the sport had more helium at the end of the year than the Orioles and they’ve flat-out refuse to spend a dime to support their young core after years of tanking.

There’s like three clubs in the league who can genuinely claim to be at a substantial economic disadvantage, and another 10-12 who revel in playing victim of the system all the way to the bank.

Wilbur Miller

It’s all changed. I just don’t think people understand how big business works any more. The old formula was good products/service and happy customers. Businesses don’t see it that way now. If they can make $1 more profit today, they’ll happily piss off half their customers. They just figure they’ll find more customers tomorrow. MLB is run by Wall St. types now. They see it exactly that way.

Last edited 14 days ago by Wilbur Miller

The O’s have ongoing family litigation, and have hired Goldman Sachs to assist with prospects for selling the team. Kim Ng seems very conservative, probably they are still paying off debt from Jeff Loria’s tenure. WTH is BN’s excuse???


Goldman Sachs is so small market

No FAs for them this winter


Scam likely

What happen to the weekly dumps?


Off topic, but are we glad we have BC rather than Chaim Bloom? Man are they screwed and unprepared for losing their middle IF Bogaerts and now Story. Maybe Ben can fleece Bloom with a middle IF trade (excluding Cruz of course). Oh that’s right, he already let Newman get away…..

Last edited 15 days ago by 1979andCounting

Bloom was hired for the same reason Huntington was a hot name for a few years: they can print money for an owner.


Bloom is getting a ton of heat, much deserved I believe. Obvious difference is the rabid fan base in Beantown who expect nothing less than a winner to contend and beat the Yankees versus absolutely no freaking expectations here for BC.

Wilbur Miller

Your second sentence is the reason BC came to Pgh.


I don’t know if Kevin would have fetched much more from Bloom


Timing is everything, you know the Red Sox are scrambling now as the Story injury came out of nowhere. It’ll be interesting how they fill both SS and 2nd base. Newman “might” have been in play because it’s Jan. 12 and there’s not many names left on the board.


Unless Underwood is specifically working on a new pitch or mechanics, I’d rather him not pitch in Winter ball. He has arm history from Derrick’s overuse……I’m not sure what there is to be gained by pitching in Dec/Jan with an entire ST and 162 ahead of him.


MLB pitchers pretty much have to throw year round to maintain their gains. Especially relief pitchers, not like these guy’s guys eat nachos all winter, then wait until Spring Training to get back into shape. They gotta keep throwing or they’ll lose their velo


There’s a difference between light throwing from flat ground and ongoing workouts in a gym vs competition in Winter Ball. I have the same feeling about Bednar pitching in the WBC this spring…….fresh off what, 2 months of injury? Bookmark this page and we’ll see where we are in August!


Good point, I know what you’re saying. lol.

Here’s a recent video of what a minor league pitchers session looks like:

granted that’s at the Tread Athletics Pitching Lab – he might not be doing that several times per week, but i’d imagine alot of the pros are doing the same type of programs with the Rapsodo


maybe he gets 10 innings? Maybe he just wanted to throw a few innings of lower stress ball just for a bit of work I dunno but does not seem like a big deal. If he pitched the whole season and playoff I would prob agree with you.


Led all relievers in IP in 2021, and had the hamstring injury in ’22. I just don’t see the point for a 28 year old in first year arb.


Like John D said, he would be throwing somewhere and might as well be in PR


Especially in a league around AA in competition

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