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DSL Prospect Watch: Pirates Beat Yankees, Lose Tough One Against Angels

For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here.  For a recap of the DSL All-Star game, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day. Pittsburgh_Pirates10

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Box Score

Result: Angels 3, Pirates 2

Starting Pitcher: Christian Henriquez, LHP (2.00) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Rodney Polonia, 3B (.254) – 1-for-4, 3B, RBI

Other Notable Performers:

Julio de la Cruz, DH (.203) – 0-for-4

Brayan Almonte, RHP (7.62) – 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Johan De Jesus, SS (.164) – DNP

Dennis Hurtarte, 1B (.157) – 0-for-2, 2 BB

Game Notes: The Pirates took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but the Angels rallied for three runs to get the walk-off win. Starter Christian Henriquez was strong, throwing five shutout innings by scattering four hits and two walks. He gave way to Brayan Almonte, who has struggled this season. Almonte threw two scoreless innings and then Adderly Ceballo came in for the eighth. He retired the side in order in his first inning, then ran into trouble in the ninth. He gave up a walk and three straight singles to open up the inning. After a failed bunt attempt, the winning run was driven home by the fourth hit of the inning. Rodney Polonia had the only RBI and only extra base hit for the Pirates, collecting his third triple of the season. Henriquez has allowed one earned run in his last 20 innings(four starts).

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Box Score(has not been uploaded)

Result:  Pirates 7, Yankees1  4

Starting Pitcher: Dario Agrazal Jr, RHP (2.80) – 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Steven De La Mota, DH (.308) – 3-for-5, 2 Runs, SB

Other Notable Performers:

Jhoan Herrera, 3B (.243) – 1-for-4, RBI, BB

Michael de la Cruz, CF (.318) – 0-for-4, BB

Luylli Miranda, LHP (2.89) – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Yoel Gonzalez, C (.164) – DNP

Game Notes: The Pirates dropped a doubleheader to the Yankees on Wednesday, then had All-Star pitcher Dario Agrazal Jr knocked out early in game three of the series. Despite that, they were able to pick up the win to salvage the series, scoring three first inning runs and two runs in the third. Steven De La Mota had three hits and scored two runs, while Yomifer Polanco drove home two runs. De La Mota raised his average over the .300 mark and now has eight hits in his last three games. Michael de la Cruz had his ten game hitting streak snapped, though he did reach base with a walk.

Player Of The Day

Last year, the Pirates made five high profile signings of players that are now in the Dominican. The DSL teams have now played 50 games, so it is time to look at the progress of these five players, two of whom celebrated birthdays on Thursday.

Michael de la Cruz, CF- He has been by far the best of the group and at $700,000, his bonus was tied for the highest. De la Cruz is batting .318 and he leads the entire DSL with 44 walks. He hasn’t hit for much power(no homers) and his stolen base % isn’t so great, but that is just nitpicking considering how well he is doing daily in center field and batting lead-off as someone who just turned 17-years-old last month.

Julio de la Cruz, 3B – He also got a $700,000 bonus and was the higher rated of the two players. He has struggled with his average and his 11/37 BB/K ratio needs some work, but this de la Cruz has shown power recently, hitting four homers in the month of July. He also had ten doubles. De la Cruz has had trouble against lefties(he is a righty) batting just .103 in 29 AB’s, all three hits are singles. He has made his hits count, driving home 29 runs.

Yoel Gonzalez, C – Gonzalez turned 17 on Thursday and was signed as a strong defensive catcher, with a bat that should develop. That has held true so far and that bat might be coming around now. He signed for $350,000 on his 16th birthday and has been seeing regular playing time this year. Gonzalez is batting just .163 in 104 AB’s, hitting at the bottom of the order. Despite that low average, he has a modest five game hitting streak and recently hit his first triple and home run. The defense, which was called advanced for his age, has been as advertised.

Jhoan Herrera, 3B – Herrera is a little bit older than the others, turning 18 in June. The third baseman has been strong with runners on base this year, driving home 30 runs already, which puts him tops among all Pirates players in the DSL. He bats lefty and has had a lot of trouble against southpaws, hitting .125 with no extra base hits. He signed for a $225,000 bonus.

Johan De Jesus, SS – Just like Gonzalez, this switch-hitting shortstop turned 17 on Thursday. He has had trouble at the plate and in the field. De Jesus signed for a $200,000 bonus and has yet to live up to the hype, but it is still a good sign that he is playing everyday at shortstop. He is batting .164, though he is hitting .259 since the All-Star break. His defense has been bad, with 20 errors already, which leads all Pirates players.

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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