Winter Leagues: Grand Slam From Gorkys Hernandez, Playoffs Begin in Colombia

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.

  • William Wallace
    January 11, 2015 11:22 am

    Well the wind was definitely blowing out to Aruba when Gorkys hit his bomb. Yes I am worried about Ramirez. I wonder how healthy he is? Maybe he is getting in shape for this season and working on some technical issues. I still do not know what to make of Valle. Everyone has the theory of late bloomers as it relates to catchers. Hope it’s not a fluke. Vivas is the guy who seems to be jumping off the radar.

  • I am not just worried about Ramirez, I am worried about the lack of production from virtually every player who is playing or who played winter ball. It seems to me that almost all of our players have underperformed there regular seasons. Some substantially. I have not seen one player I felt was having a breakout of any sort.

    • There hasn’t been much to get excited about, but I think there were a few good stories. The progress Tito Polo made in Colombia compared to last year when he was a bench player that saw more time as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. Julio Vivas pitching great against hitters that were more advanced than anything he’s seen in the minors. He was in the GCL this year and he did great against AA/AAA quality hitters. Edwin Espinal put up huge numbers in his brief playing time and he was in Low-A this year playing in the league with the best quality pitchers in winter ball. Finally, Sebastian Valle was hitting about .180 when the Pirates signed him in November and he finished as one of the top hitters in the league.

  • Just to get the discussions going, is anyone worried about the winter performance of Harold Ramirez or are you just happy to see him out on the field and (presumed)healthy? Last year in Colombia, he hit .323/.426/.425 in 162 plate appearances, so his numbers are well off what he is capable of doing in this league

    • Was his K-rate elevated, John?

      70 AB winter league sample isn’t nearly something that worries me, but the potential impact of leg injuries on speed certainly does. For a kid who doesn’t profile to develop much power and has fringy arm strength, I can’t see much projection above present-day Jose Tabata if he doesn’t carry plus speed into the big leagues.

      • He only struck out 11 times in 84 plate appearances. The league averaged a strikeout every 5.39 plate appearances.

        • Thanks, John.

          Seems safe to say Ramirez wasn’t exactly stinging the ball, but I’ll lean towards a .237 BABIP not being representative of his true skill level against this level of competition. This isn’t by any means full-proof, but I typically only worry when a guy is over matched, as indicated by BB/K rates.

    • I’m with MNR….not worried at this time.

      Plus, it is at a postion where we’re ‘stacked’ so……………

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