Pittsburgh Pirates Winter League Report

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Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; World outfielder Gregory Polanco throws the ball back to the infield during the second inning of the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates had three players playing Down Under in the Australian Baseball League. The youngest of four Kennelly brothers from Perth, Sam hit .104/.211/.104 in 67 plate appearances despite being just 17 years old. He has not played affiliated ball since signing a contract in 2012.

Miami native Daniel Arribas played in 34 ABL games hitting .194/.254/.218 after a solid season in the Gulf Coast League as a 20 year old hitting .397/.399/.380.

Finally (in the ABL), 17-year-old Aussie pitcher Nick Hutchings threw one perfect inning, notching a strikeout. Like Kennelly, Hutchings has not played affiliated ball yet.

In the Venezuelan Winter League, 23-year-old backup catcher Elias Diaz followed up a solid season in High-A Bradenton with 43 at bats for Margarita, hitting .256/.373/.326.

Andrew Lambo, who made his major league debut in 2013, played in 27 games in Venezuela, hitting just .228/.311/.337 in 92 at bats with six doubles and two triples. Lambo split the season almost evenly between Triple-A Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona, hitting .282/.347/.574 with 32 minor league home runs before an August cup of coffee and a September call up.

23-year-old outfielder Junior Sosa, who split the season between Class-A West Virginia and High-A Bradenton, had a tremendous season at home in Venezuela, hitting .338/.413/.508 with three doubles and four triples in 65 at bats.

Heading to the Puerto Rican Winter League was just one hitter, Benji Gonzalez, a versatile 24-year-old utility man who has spent three seasons in High-A Bradenton. This past season, he hit .232/.314/.294 in 442 plate appearances but he hit .317/.358/.429 in 63 at bats in Puerto Rico.

Several players went to the Dominican Republic to play this offseason. One of the club’s top prospects, Alen Hanson went to the Dominican and had 17 at bats there after 79 in the Arizona Fall League.

Matt Hague, 28, made his big league debut in 2012 but spent all of 2013 with Triple-A Indianapolis hitting a very solid .285/.378/.407 with 37 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. He hit .313/.362/.469 in 64 Dominican at bats with four doubles and two home runs.

Michael Martinez, a 31-year-old second baseman crossed Pennsylvania this offseason, signing a minor league deal with the Pirates after playing mostly in Triple-A for the Phillies. Martinez posted solid Triple-A numbers but has yet to hit over .200 in parts of three seasons in the major leagues. Martinez hit .217/.254/.367 in 60 Dominican league at bats.

Carlos Paulino, a 24-year-old catcher, reached Triple-A for the first time in his career but hit just .220/.290/.272 for most of the season in Double-A Altoona. He didn’t do any better in 68 Dominican at bats, hitting just 206 with one double.

Top prospect Gregory Polanco played a lot back home in the Dominican Republic, logging 166 at bats for Leones del Escogido with an outstanding .331/.428/.494 slash line that included ten doubles, a triple, five home runs and seven stolen bases. The 21-year-old outfielder had a big season, hitting .285/.345/.434 with 44 extra-base hits and 38 stolen bases at three levels in the minors.

Catcher Omir Santos signed a minor league deal with the Pirates this offseason and has played in five major league seasons with four different teams since 2008. Santos hit .217/.250/.272 in 92 winter league at bats with five doubles.

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