Winter Leagues: Sebastian Valle Returns From Injury, Harold Ramirez Struggles in Colombia

On Christmas night, Sebastian Valle returned from a finger injury suffered on December 14th and went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

On Friday night, Valle went 0-for-4 at the plate, but did throw out both runners that attempted to steal. Through 41 games, he is hitting .299/.371/.470, with five doubles and five homers. While he falls short of having enough plate appearances to qualify for league leaders, his .841 OPS falls fifth among those that do qualify.

In Venezuela on Friday, Junior Sosa went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

Matt Nevarez threw a scoreless inning, striking out one, while walking two batters. He has had control issues lately, walking 19 batters this winter, though the walks come with a .157 BAA and 26 strikeouts in 25 innings. Nevarez has a 3.96 ERA.

Jhonathan Ramos gave up one run on two hits in his inning of work. It was just the second run he has allowed this winter. He is still a free agent.

In Panama on Friday, Edgar Munoz went 0-for-4. He is hitting .316 through ten games, with eight runs scored.

Ashley Ponce went 0-for-2 with a walk. He has a .208/.345/.208 line through eight games.

In Australia on Saturday, Sam Kennelly started at third base and went 1-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI and he was hit by a pitch. In the field, the 18-year-old handled all three grounders hit his way. He is hitting .300 through five games.

The Colombian League posted their first stats update in three weeks. Harold Ramirez has a .205/.380/.230 slash line through 39 at-bats. A lot of that OBP comes from being hit six times. He is only 1-for-5 in stolen base attempts. Ramirez missed the beginning of the winter season recovering from the shin injury he suffered during the regular season. He also missed some time after his return, possibly due to the Pirates putting him on a limited schedule, although the time missed occurred right after he was hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance back in a late November game.

Tito Polo has a .235/.288/.368 slash line in 68 at-bats. He is tied for the league lead with three triples. The numbers aren’t exactly impressive, but you have to remember that he played in the GCL this year, so he is facing much tougher competition in winter ball.

Andy Vasquez, who just re-signed with the Pirates, is hitting .321/.367/.482 through 56 at-bats.

Oderman Rocha hasn’t allowed an earned run in 5.2 innings this winter. He has given up four hits, one walk and has five strikeouts.

The playoffs begin tonight in the Dominican. Four teams play a round robin style tournament, 18 games each, with the two best teams then playing in the finals.

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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Lee Foo Young

Tim, John and WTM….just another fantastic job on the P2 Prospect Book. I just finished it and as always, you guys are spot on. I especially like going back and looking at years’ past and seeing guys progress (or when I am feeling masochistic…regress).

I still get BA’s Prospect Book, but I consider P2’s Prospect book much more accurate when it comes to the Bucs. I mainly use BA’s book for other teams now.

Again, thx for turning a passion into a must-read!!!


Valle is an interesting player. Not exactly David Ross , but sort of the new Jaramillo.

Lee Foo Young

Just two years ago he was the #3 prospect in the Phils org. He has some skills but the bat has never come around.


Two years ago he was the number 15 prospect in that organization.


Lee: At that time he was also projected as the starting Catcher for the Phillies in 2015. He is a good addition with potential, but will present a major question for management about where to play him. For my money, I will be watching Elias Diaz as the starting Catcher at AAA, a defensive oriented backstop with improving skills at the plate, especially in the batting average and W/K Ratio. His offensive work at Hi A in 2013 and then AA in 2014 followed by success in the Arizona Fall League make this guy the Catcher of the not-too-distant future. Love to see him get a lot of work with Kingham, Taillon, Sampson, Sadler, and possibly, Tyler Glasnow.


Now you are talking emjay !


I have a feeling by the end of the year Valle will be on the 25 man roster and Cervelli will not be with the Bucs in any way. Valle was highly regarded and looked the part st one time. Cervelli never performed well in the minors and only performed well in the Majors the last two years on two very small PED influences sample sizes. The only positive thing Cervelli has is pitching framing ability.

I read these and weep because it appears this guy is going to be given the starting job.


Then you are about as dumb as they come if you believe that. What are you , his agent ? Or his Mom ?


It is more about no faith in Cervelli than it is about faith in Valle.

Lee Foo Young

I like the addition of Valle, but I like the Cervelli addition much, much better.


The Bucs value pitch framing, and Cervelli is among the most highly acclaimed pitch framers in the MLB… even better than Russell Martin by some accounts. I suspect Cervelli will get a LOT of leeway with his bat, and that he will be a irate in 2016.




Wait a minute: how is Cervelli’s pitch framing a small sample size? He’s been playing professional baseball for like 10 years now.


Produce minor league scouting reports and I will be convinced. As far as I am aware all that is published MLB scouting reports on framing.


You are acting pretty ….uninformed.


Well, here’s what I could find:

Not scouting reports, so I’m not sure how authoritative any of it is, but everything written about the guy back to 2009 says he’s got great defensive skills. I doubt anybody woulda written that if he was a bad pitch framer. It’s not one of those skills that just pops up overnight; it’s a function of the way a catcher receives the ball, which is something he develops over the course of his career and perfects probably long before he gets called up.


All those sound like what he is, a backup catcher. Very similar to Chris Stewart, only Cervelli is slightly better offensively and Stewart is better defensively according to measurable minor league stats. Hopefully the pitch framing turns out to be true over a larger sample size. Getting that larger sample size may be difficult since Cervelli cannot stay healthy.

In any event, if Valle has found his game again his ceiling is much higher. Better yet, if Diaz’s offensive production was indeed a breakout and not an aberration the huge question mark at catcher may be answered by mid season.


I never said Cervelli is anything great; I just said that his pitch-framing isn’t a small sample size.


You might wanna double-check your facts. For starters: Cervelli had some very good minor league seasons in 2006, 2007, and 2008– although 2008 he was in-and-out with injuries.


His lifetime minor league OPS mark is .703 hardly impressive. That includes a .689 in AA and .659 in AAA, even less impressive, Cervelli is entering his age 29 season so there is little hope for improvement. Valle is entering his age 24 and has shown more power so there is at least hope for him.


You didn’t write that his lifetime minor league performance was unimpressive. You wrote Cervelli never performed well in the minors. Never. That was inaccurate, as he had 3 pretty good seasons.


Speaking of unimpressive Minor League stats, try checking Valle’s out. Inconsistent defensively, with weak blocking and footwork skills, along with poor strike zone discipline offensively, doesn’t indicate to many that he will force Cervelli off the roster.


Yea with 157, 348, 107 plate appearance respectively. The only year he had over 400 PA his OPS was .657. Not playing much in the minor leagues for whatever reason cannot and should not be regarded as playing well.


I guess the word never means something different to you than it does to me.


If Valle has a good spring, he will put himself into a very good position because he is the only offensive catcher the Pirates have coming through the system that actually can play defense also. He could move up to 3 on the depth chart behind Stewart.
Also I wonder why the delay in signing Ramos? someone is going to grab that guy.


Uhhh….check his career numbers


John: I think the Pirates would re-sign him for a AAA possibility if nobody else claims him, but with Clayton Richard onboard at AAA, and excellent lefties like Nate Baker, Zack Dodson, and Orlando Castro at AA, he may be very much unnecessary.


John: Valle is making the Pirates look very good in claiming him for nothing more than a minor league contract and an invite to Spring Training. I know this is not any indication of his ability to handle AAA and/or MLB pitching, but I think he realizes he has an excellent opportunity with the Pirates. If he can return to his hitting numbers from early in his career, the Pirates have a real steal.

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