For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day.
Result: Mets2 4, Pirates 3 in 10 innings
Starting Pitcher: Jandy Vasquez, RHP (0-1, 7.45) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Pablo Reyes, DH (.385) – 2-for-5, 3B
Other Notable Performers:
Julio de la Cruz, 3B (.205) – 1-for-1, RBI
Gerardo Navarro, RHP (3.24) – 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Tito Polo, LF (.378) – 0-for-4
Johan De Jesus, SS (.222) – 0-for-3, 3 K
Game Notes: Starter Jandy Vasquez went five solid innings today, but the Pirates dropped the game 4-3 to the Mets2 in 10 innings. Vasquez had a horrible first outing, allowing five runs on five hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. In his two starts since, he has looked much better, giving up a combined three runs over nine innings. Marcus Beltrez allowed the winning run to score. He started the season with 8.1 scoreless innings. Tito Polo had a nine game hitting streak snapped. The Pirates batters struck out 13 times, including three times from shortstop prospect Johan De Jesus in his only three plate appearances. There are no DSL games on Sunday. Both teams resume play on Monday.
Result: Pirates 13, Reds 3
Starting Pitcher: Eduardo Vera, RHP (0-0, 4.82) – 4.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Jhoan Herrera, 3B (.256) – 3-for-4, RBI, BB
Other Notable Performers:
Michael de la Cruz, CF (.308) – 3-for-5, BB, RBI
Carlos Munoz, 1B (.405) – 2-for-4, 2B, BB
Yoel Gonzalez, C (.083) – 0-for-1, RBI, 2 BB
Horelbin Ramos, LHP (0.00) – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Game Notes: The Pirates have now won seven of their last eight games, after opening the season with four straight losses. Eduardo Vera went four innings, allowing seven hits, but he limited the damage to two runs(one earned) and he left with a 12-2 lead. The Pirates followed him with five pitchers, who all threw one inning apiece. Horelbin Ramos made his fourth straight scoreless appearance of the season. Luylli Miranda made his first appearance of the year, after making 18 appearances during his rookie season last year. Jhoan Herrera, featured here yesterday, collected three hits and scored three runs. The Pirates drew 15 walks just one day after receiving 14 free passes against the Cubs. Fredis Padilla had three walks, while four players drew two walks apiece. Top prospect Michael de la Cruz had his first three hit game of his career.
Player Of The Day
The Dominican Summer League is full of mysteries, one of them being why a good pitcher lasts four years in the league and never makes it to the states. Usually the answer we never get is that they don’t throw hard, but get by on advanced breaking balls that eat up inexperienced hitters. When you’re topping out around mid-80’s, you usually won’t get far when you’re starting at the bottom rung. When you look at fourth year pitcher Christopher De Leon, the stats say he should have been in the Gulf Coast League two years ago. When he didn’t get promoted after that 2011 season, then he put up even better numbers in 2012 and still returned, the writing seems to be on the wall.
De Leon is a smallish, skinny righty, six weeks short of his 21st birthday. In his first year, he made six starts and had some decent results, but a poor BB/K ratio and gave up a lot of fly balls. He also needed to add size once he signed, so it was a given he would be back for a second year. In 2011, he went 4-4, 2.44 in 48 innings, with 38 strikeouts and a .205 BAA. Those are fairly impressive numbers, plus he didn’t allow a single homer in his first two seasons. In 2012, it looked like a mistake to send him back. He went 1-1, 2.74 in 46 innings, improved his groundball rate and picked up 51 strikeouts. Now he is back for his fourth(and final) season in the DSL. He is being used in relief only, pitching six innings over four appearances. De Leon had a rough first outing, but has since thrown five scoreless innings, giving up two hits, a walk and striking out six batters. At this point, this looks like it could be his last year in pro ball, especially because of the middle innings role he has now been given.