In Venezuela on Saturday night, Gorkys Hernandez had just one hit in five trips to the plate and he made his first error of the playoffs, but he made that one hit count. In the fifth inning, Hernandez cleared the bases with a grand slam over the left field wall, helping Caribes de Anzoategui to a 12-7 victory. His team has the best record(5-3) so far in the round robin tournament. Hernandez is hitting .222 in eight playoff games and has now driven in six runs.
In Colombia, the first round of the playoffs began with two teams facing each other that each have two Pirates players. On Saturday, Leones brought home an 8-4 victory with the help of Andy Vasquez, who hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning. The homer came off Jovany Lopez, who spent five seasons in the Pirates system before they loaned him to a team in the Mexican League back in April(so he may still technically be Pirates property). Vasquez finished 2-for-4 on the night.
Harold Ramirez helped the scoring for the Tigres, hitting an eighth inning triple, then scoring one batter later for his team’s fourth(and final) run. Ramirez finished the season with a .200/.333/.229 slash line in 70 at-bats. He was hit seven times and drew seven walks. Ramirez has above average speed, so his stolen base success rate seems a little shocking. He went 2-for-7 in stolen base attempts, which you hope is due to some strong control of the running game by opposing pitchers/catchers, as opposed to a loss of speed due to his multiple leg(hamstring, shin) injuries during the 2014 season. For comparison sake, Tito Polo went 5-for-7 in steals, but the rest of the team(minus Ramirez as well) went 42-for-79, so they were successful just 53% of the time.
In the Dominican playoffs on Saturday, Alen Hanson went 1-for-5 with a single and run scored. His team dropped to 4-8 in the playoffs after an 8-2 loss. The first round has six games left and only the best two teams advance. Hanson is hitting .195 in 41 playoff at-bats.
Gustavo Nunez went 1-for-4 with a walk and run scored. He is hitting .244 in 12 playoff games.
Josh Wall pitched a scoreless inning of relief, retiring all three batters he faced, one by strikeout.
In Panama, Edgar Munoz went 1-for-3 with a walk, run scored, an RBI and two stolen bases. He has a .658 OPS and 12 runs scored in 21 games. Panama plays the shortest season of any winter league team, 30 game schedule before the playoffs. The regular season there ends next Monday.
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.