Winter Leagues: Ramirez and Polo Come Up Big in Win

In the Dominican, Gregory Polanco went 1-for-4 with a single and run scored. He has reached base 43 times this year, picking up at least one hit or walk in 21 of his 22 games.

Going into Friday, Tito Polo had not had a hit since Opening Day

Going into Friday, Tito Polo had not had a hit since Opening Day

Matt Hague went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk in his team’s 3-0 loss. He is hitting .313 in 17 games.

Oscar Tejeda hit a pinch-hit double and scored a run in the eighth inning of his team’s 13-11 loss. Tejeda stayed in the game and played left field.

In Puerto Rico, Jerry Sands reached base twice, going 1-for-4 with a single and a walk, though he also struck out twice. Sands is hitting .290 with two homers, so the results look good, but he has struck out 13 times in 31 at-bats.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. went 2-for-4 with two singles. He is hitting .341 in 12 games with an .850 OPS.

In Venezuela, Elias Diaz went 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored. This was just the second time he played in back-to-back games all season. In nine games, he is 3-for-20 with six walks.

Luis Sanz pitched for the second straight day and third time in four days. He got out of a jam on Friday, but on Saturday he didn’t fare so well. He faced two batters in the eighth inning, giving up a single and a walk. One of the runners scored, leaving him with a 4.05 ERA through seven appearances.

In Mexico, Ali Solis went 1-for-3 with an RBI double that accounted for his team’s only run in the first game of a doubleheader. It was his fifth double and 11th RBI. In game two, he went 0-for-2 as his team was on the other side of a 1-0 score.

In the Colombian League on Saturday night, Harold Ramirez and Tito Polo had big nights for their Tigres team. Polo batted lead-off and played center field, while Ramirez batted second and he was in left field. Polo went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs, a double, a walk and a stolen base. Ramirez went 3-for-5 with three RBI’s, a run scored and two stolen bases. He is batting .360 in the first seven games.

Yhonathan Barrios pitched well in his first outing, retiring all three batters he faced, two by strikeout. In his second appearance on Saturday, he ran into a lot of trouble. He recorded one out while allowing three runs on four hits. His team was winning 6-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but they ended up losing 7-6 on a two out walk-off hit.

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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  • deacs

    What kind of speed does Ramirez have? Is it comparable to Hanson/Marte speed?

    • John Dreker

      He has above average speed, though I’m not sure he will be a huge base stealer in the future. He has a thick body type and just turned 19, so he obviously hasn’t filled out yet. When Jose Tabata was coming up, we heard he had above average speed, but when he got older and filled out more, he really lost a couple steps. Tabata had a similar build and was a fairly good stolen base man in the minors and even his first couple years with the Pirates. Now he is 11-for-24 in steals his last two years.

      • deacs

        Thanks for the quick response even if that last sentence was depressing.

        • John Dreker

          Tabata was just an example of what could go wrong with a similar body type. Kirby Puckett is another, he was really quick in the minors and in the majors for a year or so, then filled out and his SB numbers really fell off, both total and success rate. It’s no guarantee the same will happen with Ramirez and I think his average success in steals in the NYPL (23-for-34) is more due to inexperience, rather than speed. Based on prior examples, I think he still projects to have slightly above average speed down the line

          I thought the most interesting thing was that Tito Polo was playing center field over Ramirez. Some people know about him, but not many. Polo could be a real sleeper prospect. He had issues with his hamstring all season in the DSL, but when he was healthy, I was hearing reports about a five tool player. He was in the Fall Instructional League, so he should be a regular in the GCL next year and one to watch.

          • SteveW

            Even in his first year in MLB, Puckett had already lost much of whatever ability he had to steal bases. His success rates his first three years were at best mediocre: 67%, 64%, 63%.

            • John Dreker

              Yup and in the minors he was over 80% successful and running much more. He was also drafted out of college, so he was five years older when he made his major league debut than Ramirez is now, meaning he was filled out pretty good by then. He definitely lost a step or two after a couple years. Even as a smarter runner picking his spots, his success rate never went up and he had some bad seasons mixed in there.

  • elgaupo

    Polo a better CF the Ramirez?

    • John Dreker

      Perfect timing on the question, I was actually answering that while you asked. I wouldn’t say he is better at this point, but both of them have the ability to play center field, so it is interesting to see Polo playing there. It might be something the Pirates asked, since it’s likely both Ramirez and Austin Meadows will be at West Virginia next year and Meadows would be the more likely player to man center field. Polo is a big time sleeper prospect, he just needs to stay healthy.