Winter Leagues: Gregory Polanco’s Grand Slam Helps Team to Victory

In the Dominican on Wednesday night, Gregory Polanco extended his hitting streak to 11 games, then made his night one to remember. Polanco walked his first time up, then lined a single to right field in the third inning. In the fifth inning, he came up with the bases loaded and his team down by three runs. Polanco put his team ahead with a grand slam, his fourth homer of the DWL season. The game ended up going 13 innings and he finished 2-for-4 with three walks and five RBI’s. Polanco has 13 RBI’s and a .378 average this year.

Gregory Polanco

Gregory Polanco hit his fourth homer in the Dominican

Mel Rojas Jr made his first start this season for Estrellas de Oriente. In his only other appearance, he came in during the ninth inning as a pinch hitter. Rojas batted ninth and played right field, going 1-for-5 with an RBI.

Felix Pie has been added to the Estrellas de Oriente roster. He played 42 games for them last year, hitting .253 with nine stolen bases and a .702 OPS. He has been playing for Estrellas since 2010.

Carlos Paulino went 1-for-3 with a run scored. He had a little trouble on the defensive side, allowing runners to go 4-for-4 in stolen bases. Paulino is hitting .222 in 18 AB’s.

Atahualpa Severino pitched a perfect fifth inning after coming out of the bullpen in relief of Jose Contreras. Severino, in his sixth appearance, got two flyballs and a strikeout in his one inning of work.

Andy Vasquez got into his first game for Toros del Este. He came on as a pinch runner in the ninth inning.

In Venezuela, Jhonathan Ramos retired the only batter he faced on Wednesday night. He struck out Joc Pederson in the eighth inning with a man on base. It was the second time that Ramos has been used in a big spot to retire Pederson, who is a lefty that hit 22 homers in AA this season.

In Mexico, Ali Solis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He is hitting .270 through 37 AB’s.

In the Veracruz League, Carlos Esqueda got hits in both ends of a doubleheader. He came into the day with no hits in his first five games. Esqueda went 1-for-3 with a walk and double in game one and he went 1-for-4 in game two.

The Puerto Rican Winter League begins play tomorrow. Ivan De Jesus Jr is on the active roster of Leones de Ponce and Benji Gonzalez is on their reserve roster.

The Australian Baseball League started today, but no Pirates players were in action. Due to the time difference, night games in the ABL end in the morning(same day) in the Eastern time zone.

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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  • leefoo

    Just pre-ordered my P2 2014 Prospect book. Can’t wait for Christmas now!!!!


  • piraddict

    When you look at Clemente’s lifetime OPS and what Cutch and Marte have done to date, and what Polanco can be projected to do, it’s not difficult to visualize and outfield of three Cllementes over the next sevral years! How does it get any better than that?

    • buster09

      pira : ” How does it get any better than that? ” It doesn’t ! I am afraid to even think about it myself,I don’t want to have a letdown if anything goes wrong.

  • csnumber23

    John, a couple questions. How do you rate this winter league as far as talent A – AA or AAA? Also, do you think it’s possible the Pirates go with Polanco if he has a big spring? I know they will wait the necessary 2 to 3 weeks to get the 7th year but do you think it’s possible with the way he is looking that they not even look at RF this off season? I mean as far as FA or trade. Obviously they will have to start the year with Lambo/Tabata but I am hoping for Polonco in mid to late April. I do not think he needs a full year in AAA.

    • John Dreker

      I’m going to have something special for tomorrow about the talent level in the Dominican, but for now I will say that Polanco is facing pitchers that would fall anywhere from low-A, to guys with major league experience. I think the overall talent level in the league is a strong AA right now and it gets better as the season goes along and more players show up