For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day.
Result: Pirates 6, Phillies 2
Starting Pitcher: Ramon Rodriguez, RHP (1-3, 5.30) – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Yunelky Adames, 1B (.259) – 2-for-2, 2B, 3 RBI, HBP
Other Notable Performers:
Julio de la Cruz, 3B (.184) – DNP
Arquimedes Lorenzo, RHP (7.84) – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
Tito Polo, LF (.329) – 1-for-3, SB, HBP
Pablo Reyes, 2B (.276) – 1-for-2, 2 BB
Johan De Jesus, SS (.188) – 1-for-3, 2B, RBI
Game Notes: Starter Ramon Rodriguez won his first game of the season, giving up just one run over five innings to beat the Phillies by a 6-2 score. Jherson Esqueda allowed one run over two innings and Arquimedes Lorenzo threw two shutout innings to close it out. The three pitchers combined didn’t walk a batter. Yunelky Adames drove in three runs, giving him 14 RBI’s on the season, the highest total on either Pirates team. Tito Polo and Pablo Reyes scored two runs apiece and Polo stole his ninth base of the season. Top prospect Julio de la Cruz has missed four straight games since leaving Wednesday’s game after being hit by a pitch. Dennis Hurtarte has been out the last week with a wrist injury that occurred during a swing. He should return to the lineup soon.
Result: Pirates 9, Cardinals 8 in 11 innings
Starting Pitcher: Omar Basulto, LHP (4.41) – 4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HR
Top Hitter: Alexis Bastardo, RF (.213) – 3-for-5, 2 RBI, SB, BB
Other Notable Performers:
Steven De La Mota, LF (.333) – 2-for-5, 2B, BB, 2 RBI
Michael de la Cruz, CF (.274) – 0-for-3, 3 BB
Jhoan Herrera, 3B (.250) – 1-for-5, BB, RBI
Yoel Gonzalez, C (.105) – DNP
Carlos Munoz, DH (.403) – 1-for-4, 2 BB
Luylli Miranda, LHP (1.69) – 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Game Notes: The Pirates moved a game back above .500 in dramatic fashion today, winning in the bottom of the 11th inning after going down a run in the top of the inning. The game saw the Pirates go down 6-2 early, then score in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to take the lead, only to have the Cardinals come back to tie in the ninth. Michael de la Cruz didn’t collect a hit, but he reached base three times via walk. In 18 games, he has 17 hits and 21 walks. The Pirates drew 11 walks in the game. Steven De La Mota has at least two hits in six of his last seven games. He had just two hits in his first seven games. Carlos Munoz has a six game hit streak and leads all Pirates players with his .403 average.
Player Of The Day
A few years ago, the Pirates signed a small infielder named Carlos Esqueda, who tore up the Venezuelan Summer League. The 18-year-old rookie, who was listed at 5’8″, 135 pounds, hit .342 in 50 games. His game had some flaws to it, despite that average. He didn’t draw many walks, didn’t hit for any power and his stolen base ratio was barely above the 50% mark. He returned to the VSL the next season and started off great, hitting .290 through the first 18 games, showing much more power and drawing 20 walks, twelve more than the previous season in 32 less games. Then his season went all downhill. An ankle injury resulting from a home plate collision cost him the rest of the year.
Esqueda made the jump over to the DSL last year when the Pirates closed shop in Venezuela. His stats were decent, but nowhere near the pace he was putting up during the 2011 season. In 2013, he now returns to the DSL for one final season, trying to impress enough to get to the states. He’s hitting .273 and drawing some walks, but his strikeouts are up a lot early on. As a 21-year-old, he is going to need to show some improvements before the Pirates consider bringing him to the Instructional League this Fall. Carlos is the older brother of Jherson Esqueda, a first year pitcher the Pirates signed in March.
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.