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Winter Leagues: Harold Ramirez is Off to a Strong Start in Colombia

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In the Dominican on Saturday night, Alen Hanson went 2-for-3 with a walk and his third stolen base. It sounds like a good game, but he had an unusual amount of trouble on the bases. He was picked off after his first single. Hanson was caught stealing after the walk. After he singled in the tenth, he stole second base, then got tagged out going third base on a grounder to third when there wasn’t a force play. Despite the base running, Hanson has now got his average up to .300 through 21 games after a slow start. He is 9-for-21 in his last seven games.

Pedro Florimon started at shortstop and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the eight inning. Gustavo Nunez took over defensively at shortstop and ended up driving in the winning run in the tenth with a walk-off single. For Nunez, it was just his second hit this month. Florimon is hitting .174 through 12 games and has 20 strikeouts in 46 at-bats.

There was an interesting event in winter ball yesterday, as two Dominican league teams and two Venezuelan league teams played at Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins. The odd part was that the Dominican game was an exhibition, while the Venezuelan game was a regular season game. Mel Rojas Jr. went 0-for-4 and made the final out of the 4-2 loss. Willy Garcia was a defensive replacement in center field in the ninth inning and didn’t get to bat. Those stats don’t count towards the regular season totals. No Pirates saw action in the Venezuelan league game. On Sunday, they will play two exhibition games at Marlins Park, splitting up the teams so they play two games that involve a Dominican league team against a team from Venezuela.

In other action in Venezuela on Saturday night, Elias Diaz went 1-for-4 with his first double of the winter. He is hitting .250/.313/.393 through eight games.

Jose Osuna started in left field and went 1-for-5 with an RBI. He is starting to come back to Earth after a strong start, hitting .229 in his last ten games. Osuna is batting .333/.385/.465 in 36 games.

Junior Sosa went to right field as a defensive replacement in the fifth inning and went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.

Gorkys Hernandez went 0-for-3 with a walk. He is 2-for-22 in his last six games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. He has a .305/.416/.514 slash line. As mentioned, the league in Mexico is high offense, but those numbers are still very strong, especially due to his age. He is fourth in on base percentage, seventh in slugging and fifth in OPS.

Felipe Gonzalez faced three batters and all three reached base. He gave up a hit, a walk and hit a batter. Two of the runners scored in a crazy inning. The two teams combined for 13 runs in the sixth inning and they used a total of eight pitchers.

In Australia, Sam Kennelly made his fourth start in a row at shortstop on Sunday and went 2-for-5 with a double. This is his fourth season in the ABL, but at 19 years old, he is still one of the youngest players in the league. Kennelly is hitting .194/.237/.222 in ten games.

The league in Colombia hasn’t been providing daily boxscores like they have in the past, so we have gone a few days since the last update. Harold Ramirez is hitting .333/.429/.423 in 21 at-bats. He has two doubles, three walks and five runs scored. In Mexico this winter, he hit .245/.268/.321 in 15 games before he was sent home due to poor performance. Ramirez was just added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster on Friday.

Tito Polo is 3-for-11 with two doubles and four runs scored. He led all Pirates’ minor leaguers with 46 steals during the regular season, but he is 0-for-2 in steals so far in Colombia.

UPDATE 11:15 AM: The exhibition game between Aguilas Cibaenas(Dominican) and Cardenales de Lara(Venezuela) will be televised live on MLB Network tonight at 7:30 pm. Willy Garcia, Jhondaniel Medina and Elvis Escobar could possibly play. Edwin Espinal is also on the Aguilas, but he wasn’t on the travel roster posted.

John Dreker
John Dreker
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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