Winter League Recap: Gregory Polanco Will Play Winter Ball in Dominican

In Winter League action from Saturday night, three Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguers got into action, two in the Venezuelan League and one in Mexico. We also have news of two other players that will be playing Winter ball in the Dominican.

Gregory Polanco was the number four prospect in Baseball America's FSL top 20.

Gregory Polanco was the number four prospect in Baseball America’s FSL top 20.

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna got his first AB last night after appearing as a defensive replacement in his first game. Osuna grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth, then finished the game on defense at first base.

Pitcher Jhondaniel Medina had a strong debut on Friday night, striking out three of the four batters he faced. On Saturday, he faced just one batter, threw a wild pitch and issued a walk before being pulled. The runner did not score.

In Mexico, catcher Ali Solis got the Opening Day start for Tomateros de Culiacan. He went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Solis missed most of the 2013 season with back issues. He split the year between Altoona and Indianapolis, hitting .179 in 29 games, while posting a .445 OPS.

Polanco Will See Playing Time In Dominican

Last year, Gregory Polanco played Winter ball in the Dominican and didn’t see much playing time. For part of the year, he was the backup to Starling Marte, who did not play the entire season. Polanco got a total of just 35 AB’s last year and did not do well, hitting .171 with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

This season, he will be back with the Leones del Escogido team and his coach has said that he will get more playing time, while also praising his skills. Polanco is the top hitting prospect in the Pirates system and he received a late season promotion to AAA to finish the 2013 season. Between Indianapolis, Altoona and Bradenton, the 22-year-old outfielder hit .285/.356/.434 in 127 games, with 30 doubles, 12 homers and 38 stolen bases. He was also around for the playoffs in Indianapolis, going 1-for-12 in the three game series.

Also confirmed for Winter ball in the Dominican is Matt Hague. He will play for Toros del Este. Hague spent the entire 2013 with Indianapolis, where he led the International League with 153 base hits. He batted .285 with 37 doubles, 69 RBI’s and 71 walks. Hague played for Toros del Este in 2011, then made his major league debut with the Pirates the following season. He played Winter ball in the Mexican League in 2010 as well. Hague did not play off-season ball last year.

John Dreker

Author: 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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