On Saturday night in Mexico, Harold Ramirez made his off-season debut. The last two winters, he has played in Colombia, but this year he is taking a step up in the competition. Early in the winter, the level of play in Mexico is approximately the same as AA. It gets better later in the year and is closer to what you would see in AAA. You’ll find some former and current Major League players and plenty of older veterans, who spend their summer playing ball in Mexico or AAA. There will be younger players mixed in, but they usually don’t see much playing time.
Ramirez batted third and started in left field. He moved to center field in the sixth. He went 1-for-5 with a run scored in his team’s 6-5 win.
Carlos Munoz also made his debut. He had a tough winter last year in Mexico, going 1-for-15 with six strikeouts, being used almost exclusively off the bench. On Saturday, Munoz was the DH and batted sixth. He walked, struck out, then got pinch-hit for in the sixth inning.
Felipe Gonzalez faced two batters, picking up one out and allowing a double, which came around to score after he left the game.
Sebastian Valle caught for the opposition and went 1-for-4 with a single. He was 1-for-2 throwing out base stealers.
In Venezuela on Saturday night, Jose Osuna made his first start, playing first base. He went 2-for-4 with two singles. On Friday, he made his debut as a pinch-hitter, collecting a single in his only at-bat and staying in the game in left field. He has three hits in five at-bats after collecting three hits total in 26 at-bats last winter.
Gorkys Hernandez was the only other Pirate who saw action. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, getting picked-off at first base a couple pitches later.
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.
anyone else ready for the AFL to start
AFL starts on Tuesday and more winter leagues start later this month, including the Dominican League on Thursday.