Winter Leagues: Polanco Reaches Base Three Times, Drives In Two Runs

In the Dominican on Friday night, Gregory Polanco went 2-for-3 with a walk, two stolen bases and two RBIs. Polanco is batting .333 in 26 games, with 20 walks and 24 RBIs. He has reached base via hit or walk in all but one game this season. Polanco has a .979 OPS, second best in the DWL.

Gregory Polanco
Gregory Polanco reached base three times Friday

Mel Rojas Jr. struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.  It was just his third appearances this season and his first game in three weeks.

Oscar Tejeda had an 0-for-4 night in the designated hitter role during his team’s 3-2 win. He is hitting .265 in 15 games.

From Colombia on Friday, Harold Ramirez went 4-for-5, with a triple, three runs scored and three RBIs. For reference, the starting pitcher facing Ramirez was Osvaldo Rodriguez, a 29-year-old, who has pitched pro ball in the minors and Independent ball since 2003. Ramirez is hitting .361 through ten games and leading the league with five stolen bases.

In Venezuela, Andrew Lambo went 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout.He has got off to a slow start in his first four games, going 1-for-12 with six strikeouts. Lambo was back in right field, one day after getting a start at first base.

Jhondaniel Medina faced four batters, giving up a hit, two walks and he picked up a strikeout. Medina got just one out, but didn’t allow any runs. In seven appearances, he has given up two runs on five hits and six walks in 5.1 innings. Prior to Friday, he had not pitched since November 2nd.

Jhonathan Ramos had an impressive one inning outing for two reasons. The first is that he retired the side in order on three straight ground balls. The second reason was that he was facing a team that had already scored 15 runs in the game. Ramos has pitched 12 times this Winter without allowing a walk.

From Thursday night, Junior Sosa played his second game of the Winter season, going 0-for-2 after coming into the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. Sosa last played on October 13th.

In Puerto Rico, Jerry Sands played in a doubleheader on Friday. In game one, he went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. In the second game, Sands had an 0-for-1 game, drawing a walk and scoring a run in his second plate appearance. The run he scored was the only run of the game and due to the seven inning rule for doubleheaders(plus his team was at home), Sands came to the plate just two times in the second game.

In Australia, Sam Kennelly had a rough day at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The young shortstop was back at first base for a second straight game. His team still won 4-2 behind the starting pitching of Anthony Claggett, who pitched for the 2009 Pirates.

In Mexico, Ali Solis went 2-for-4 with a double, run scored and RBI in his team’s 15-5 win. The double came off former Pirates farmhard, Oscar Verdugo. Solis also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning. In the ninth inning, Solis switched from catcher to third base on defense.

  • So we have two CFs in Pittsburgh for the next 5 years. We have Polanco in route. We have Hanson, who might end up in CF. We have Meadows who was #1 in the GCL and could be a CF. We have Ramirez who was #1 in the NYPL who is a CF. Finally we have Michael De La Cruz who just had the most successful DSL of any Pirate I remember and did it as a 16 year old; also a CF.

    I think CFs are getting less valuable

    • Hanson is a 2B if he doesn’t make it at SS, Meadows will be a corner OF by the time he arrives.

      Cutch will either play out his current contract and then get his one big contract which the Pirates won’t (and shouldn’t match) since it will be big $ for his early-late 30’s.

      This will be seen as blasphemy but the best case with all of these OF’s on the come will be a hard decision whether or not to deal Cutch a year before his deal expires (for a big return) with Marte moving to center and Polanco/Meadows as the other 2 OF’s.

      Also, don’t underestimate the extra value a CF prospect brings in a trade vs a corner OF

    • I don’t think there is any chance of hanson ending up in center, and there’s really no guarantee that any of the guys in the lower levels will pan out. Plus, someone who can play defense in center is more than qualified to play the corners. I’d say a surplus of center fielders is a great problem to have. haha

    • Best case scenario, Pirates have a plethora of OF prospects knocking on the door to be in the show at the time Alvarez trade value peaks. Given the dearth of talent at 3B in the system, heaven knows having some depth in the OF will help in acquiring some one to replace Alvarez via trade.

      In the short-term, an OF w/ Cutch, Marte and Polanco promises to be epic! A true 15-tool outfield!

  • Hey Tim,

    What makes us think that Polanco won’t make the roster out of Spring Training??? This dude is beating up AAA Pitching!! Does it deal with his Major League Clock starting?? Because he can come right in and be the everyday starter in Right Field!! He can’t be any worse than the platoon we will have there now until he gets there!! I like the Lambo/Sanchez Platoon at First!!

    • Even if Polanco was the best option in right field, which he very well could be by April, you would want to at least start him in AAA for the first two weeks. By doing that, you get seven years out of him before free agency instead of six years. For two weeks without him this year, that is quite a pay-off. If they wait until July, then they will get 6 1/2 years out of him, but at a discounted price due to arbitration years. Personally, if he is ready for the big leagues in mid-April, I’d call him up and get an extra 70+ games out of him and pay the extra down the line. That is unless they sign a better short-term option. Someone like Polanco will sell tickets and merchandise, so even though he will cost more over his time there by calling him up in April, it will be in the latter stages and the extra money he brings in will be immediate.

      They are going to have an interesting time with the decision on him. If he wasn’t doing anything specia in Winter ball, getting him a half year at AAA would make sense, but he is tearing up AAA quality pitching. Yesterday’s starter was Esmerling Vasquez, who has pitched 147 games in the majors.

      • Sorry John for calling you Tim!!! But thanks for the insight!! That makes sense!! This dude seems like the real deal. We could have the best outfield in the Majors for years to come and I want to squeeze every game we can out of them to have 21 years of good fortune for us!!! LOL!!!

  • given the patience he’s showing at the plate, they should slot him into the #2 spot in the lineup when it’s time to bring him up

    • With that logic, why not lead off? Drop Marte to #2, and let him see more pitches in front of McCutchen. I’m personally a fan of that idea. I don’t have a problem with Marte leading off, I just think Polanco leading off is a better scenario.