Gregory Polanco played center field on Friday night

Winter Leagues: Polanco Extends Hit Streak to Six Games

In the Dominican, Gregory Polanco had a quiet night compared to what he did in his first five games. He went 1-for-4 on Friday night, scoring a run and extending his hit streak to six games. Polanco is 11-for-24 so far.

De Jesus will play in Puerto Rico this Winter

De Jesus will play in Puerto Rico this Winter

In that same game, Matt Hague had his five game hitting streak snapped. He went 0-for-4, dropping his average down to .304 through 23 AB’s.

For the Gigantes del Cibao, Oscar Tejeda and Carlos Paulino both were in the starting lineup. Neither picked up a hit in their team’s 2-1 win, though they each reached base via walk. Tejeda was at second base and he made an error. He first couple starts came in the outfield.

Atahualpa Severino pitched a perfect eighth inning in his team’s loss, getting two ground outs and a strikeout. On Thursday night, he retired the only batter he faced.

In Venezuela, David Bromberg allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in four innings. He hit two batters and picked up two strikeouts. Bromberg threw 80 pitches, 50 for strikes. In his last start, he threw six shutout innings, giving up just one hit and no walks.

In Mexico, Ali Solis went 2-for-4, with a run scored. He is hitting .276 in 29 AB’s.

In the Veracruz League, Carlos Esqueda went 0-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and run scored. In four games, he is 0-for-13 with a walk.

Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican Winter League has announced their roster and two Pirates players are listed. Ivan De Jesus Jr is on the active roster and Benji Gonzalez is on the reserve roster. Last season, De Jesus won the PWL batting title with a .364 average.

There is an interesting name in the Nicaraguan Winter League for the Pirates. Adolfo Flores was signed by the Pirates in 2011, though he has never pitched in a game. He is a 20-year-old righty that can throw mid-90’s, but he has had some personal issues and was suspended for leaving the team. He is from Nicaragua and will play for the Tigres de Chinandega.

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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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  • CalipariFan506

    John, you are the best. I don’t know how the heck you find all of this information every day but I truly appreciate it. Thank you.

    • John Dreker

      Thank you. It’s a combination of knowing where to look, being able to read some Spanish and enjoying the thrill of the hunt. I also hate when the articles are too short that you can’t fit a picture, so if there isn’t enough news at first, I search for it.

      • CalipariFan506

        The Spanish is what always used to run me into the dead ends with this.

        I also enjoy the hunt. I follow local high school sports around Pittsburgh very closely and one of my favorite things is searching the web Sunday mornings to see how they did on their small college teams throughout the week. Track/across Country and baseball are my favorite and aren’t always easy to find.

        • John Dreker

          The other part of looking is knowing all the players and where they are from. I’ll have more players in tomorrow’s article. Been searching around for others today and found a few.

  • Chris

    I was wondering if you could comment on the young pirate arms in the winter league. It seems like many of them are getting hit around. Is this common at that level for most pitchers?

    • John Dreker

      It’s not uncommon for the younger players to get hit around because they are facing better competition than they saw during the regular season. These Winter lineups have guys with major league experience, AAA type players and minor league veterans. There is also an atmosphere during these games that they never see during the regular season. This is the regular season down in the Dominican/Venezuela, etc so these games are nothing like your typical A-ball crowds. I think it is a great learning experience for these players. It is also a good sign just to see them play, because the lesser players will stay on the reserve roster, basically playing in their version of the minor leagues. Last year, Gregory Polanco was seldom used, getting 35 AB’s all season. Alen Hanson played just eight games, all but one off the bench and Willy Garcia got into only two games. The reason for their limited time was the talent level in the league.

      • Chris

        Thanks for the info. I love the updates, but was somewhat concerned with the pitchers since they seem to be getting hit around a lot. Now I’m at rest. I can’t wait to see all of these guys next year.

  • emjayinTN

    They were all very young last Winter, and Gregory Polanco has earned his way into the starting lineup for one of the teams which does mean a lot in the overall development process. He has achieved status in his own country. And, it is always enjoyable to follow these kids who will be the building blocks of the future for the Pirates and your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  • leadoff

    Are players like Meadows and McGuire not eligible to play winter ball?

    • John Dreker

      They are, but it would be unlikely that they do play. They already played a full HS season, followed by the GCL season, followed by the Instructional League, where they play even more. That is a huge step up from their Jr year of HS, so you wouldn’t want to make their step from HS to Pros even more difficult by throwing them in Winter ball in a foreign country. So basically, you won’t see something like that happen until their third season at the earliest. Next year they will be getting used to playing everyday over a longer stretch than they did the previous year.

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