Winter Leagues: Andrew Lambo Starts at First Base

In Venezuela, Andrew Lambo went 0-for-3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly and a run scored. He also struck out two times. The opposing starting pitcher was Carlos Zambrano, who went 6.1 innings. The big news from the game was that Lambo started the game at first base. Late in the game with the score out of hand, he switched to right field, where he played the first two games of his Winter season.

Andrew Lambo has started off slow at the plate in Venezuela

Andrew Lambo has started off slow at the plate in Venezuela

Lambo is expected to compete for a spot in right field in 2014, but having him play first base will give him a spot to move to if he’s playing well when Gregory Polanco arrives in Pittsburgh. There is also the possibility that Lambo could start 2014 as a platoon at first base with the right-handed hitting Gaby Sanchez. Getting him time at first base would at least give the Pirates more options when looking at the free agent market this off-season. Lambo has played 41 games at first base in the minors.

In Puerto Rico, Jerry Sands went 2-for-5 with a double and run scored. Sands is hitting .295 in 13 games, with a .938 OPS.

Ivan De Jesus Jr went 1-for-5 with a run scored, triple and two RBIs in his team’s 6-5 win in ten innings. De Jesus is batting .304 in 16 games.

From Australia today, Sam Kennelly went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Signed as a shortstop, he has been playing second base this season in the ABL and has played third base in the past, but on Friday, he started at first base for the first time. Kennelly is 5-for-17 through five games.

In Colombia from Wednesday night, three Pirates players got into action. Harold Ramirez went 0-for-3, but he reached base twice with a walk and hit-by-pitch. He is hitting .290 in 31 at-bats. Tito Polo pinch-ran in the eighth inning and scored a run. Their team won 7-6 in 10 innings over the Leones club, which has two Pirates players on their pitching staff.

Yhonathan Barrios pitched on Tuesday against the Tigres, while Oderman Rocha took his turn Wednesday night. Rocha recorded just two outs in his rough outing. He gave up a run on a hit, walk and two hit batters. Rocha has pitched three times this year, giving up three runs(two earned) on four hits, three walks and two hit batters in 2.2 innings.

The Dominican and Colombian Leagues had off on Thursday.

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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  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    Good to see Lambo at 1b. The real question is how well does he play it?

    John….I thought I read where De Jesus declared free agency?

    • John Dreker

      De Jesus did, but until he signs with someone else, he will be mentioned in the Winter recaps along with anyone else who is unsigned and was with the Pirates organization through the end of the 2013 season.

  • IC Bob

    Looks like Zambrano got the best of Lambo. There is something about him that my guy says he is not going to make it. I just get the feeling that the Pirate brass knows he is not the answer. Its early in winter ball so hopefully he changes my mind. Winter ball is the league to change minds and perceptions. That said I just don’t have any real hopes for him.

    • John Dreker

      It’s a little early in his Winter season to worry about the hitting. He only arrived in Venezuela last Friday and has already played three games after not playing at all since Sept 29th and his last start was on August 27th, so you’re talking almost three months in between each full game he played. Then factor in the guys he is facing have been going since Oct 11th in Venezuela and it’s no surprise he could get off to a slow start there.

      • IC Bob

        My opinion on him was formed back when he got called up. I just didn’t see any trust in him from the management. It would be great for the Pirates if he rips it up down in winter ball but I get the feeling there is something missing here. Maybe its his complete turnaround from years of mediocrity to sudden prospect seems a little much to me.

        • John Dreker

          His use with the Pirates was a bit frustrating. If it wasn’t for the last game of the season becoming a non-factor in the playoffs, Lambo would have gone over a month without getting more than one plate appearance in a game. Even then, he didn’t get the start. I’m sure he realizes that he isn’t guaranteed a spot in 2014 in the majors and he is getting in the extra at-bats to help his case.

        • Mr. Goodkat

          My gut says the same thing.

          Having said that, I hope the Pirates give him a fair shake through ST and possibly into the season if they can’t find an external upgrade to platoon at 1B. And I hope he proves me wrong and tears the cover off the ball.

          I just see more Steve Pearce than I do Chris Davis in him.

  • CalipariFan506

    I actually liked what I saw from Lambo’s approach in his limited at bats. IMO he is already better than Jones is. Jones was totally solved by scouts and pitchers around baseball this season.

    • John Dreker

      I really liked the time I saw Lambo hit a line drive to right-center that cleared a 25-30 foot scoreboard and it still had some distance to it afterwards. That was in Trenton in 2011. His power would probably surprise some people and playing at PNC he has a chance to put up decent numbers…here is the recap from that game http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/07/altoona-curve-game-recap-7111.html

  • http://www.finner.smugmug.com finner68

    Lambo looked really uncomfortable at first when I saw him this summer with Altoona (in Binghamton). Which position is he less of a liability?

    • John Dreker

      I’ve seen him play right field numerous times and he looked fine. Has a strong arm and decent range