Jerry Sands

Winter Leagues: Two RBIs For Polanco, Home Run For Sands

In the Dominican on Wednesday night, Gregory Polanco went 2-for-3 with two singles, two RBIs and a walk in his team’s 4-3 win. He also stole his second base of the season. In 70 ABs over 19 games, he has a .343/.459/.600 slash line, with 15 walks, 17 RBIs and 19 strikeouts.

Elvis Escobar made his Winter debut Wednesday night

Elvis Escobar made his Winter debut Wednesday night

Oscar Tejeda pinch-hit in the ninth inning against Polanco’s team and reached on an error. He is now 8-for-31 on the season in nine games.

Matt Hague went 2-for-4 with his third double of the season. He is now hitting .296 in 54 ABs with five extra base hits.

Atahualpa Severino retired all three batters he faced in the eighth inning of his team’s 3-2 loss. Severino got three straight ground balls, including one to shortstop from Matt Hague, his teammate from Indianapolis this season.

In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar made his season debut as a pinch-runner in the seventh inning. He stayed in the game as the DH and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout. It is impressive that Escobar is playing in the VWL, which is mostly made up of players in AA or above, with many veterans mixed in that are 10+ years older than Escobar, who recently turned 19 years old. He held his own this season in the NYPL and is a potential breakout candidate in 2014 with West Virginia. Escobar may not see playing time for long, as Andrew Lambo is set to join his team in a couple days.

Elias Diaz went 0-for-1 after coming in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning. He is 2-for-17 in seven games this season.

David Bromberg had his worst start of the season tonight. He recorded just one out before being knocked out of the game. Bromberg allowed four runs on three hits and a walk. He gave up two home runs, which were back-to-back shots. He has a 4.13 ERA in 24 innings over six starts.

Jose Osuna got into the game last night, but was used only as a pinch runner. Osuna was making his eighth appearance this year. He is 3-for-7 at the plate.

In Puerto Rico, Jerry Sands hit his first homer of the Winter season. He went 1-for-2 with three walks. He is hitting .300 with four walks in six games.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. went 0-for-6 and made an error in his team’s 6-5 loss in 13 innings. He was batting .435 coming into the game.

In Mexico, Ali Solis went 2-for-3 with a double and walk. He is hitting .338 through 22 games.

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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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  • deacs

    Do you think Polanco’s walks are going to continue when he reaches the majors? If so maybe he get Marte to be a little more selective. I feel like Marte could steal 60 bases if he had a little more plate patience. I think that’s truly the only thing missing from his game.

    • John Dreker

      I think Polanco will definitely draw his share of walks in the majors, but I don’t see it rubbing off on Marte. The thing with Marte is that he has had success at every level being aggressive so he is probably going to stick with what works. You might see a slight improvement in his K/BB rates, but I doubt you will ever see if get to the point where he is drawing 50+ walks and striking out 100 times or less. Polanco has shown some great plate patience in the Dominican in the handful of games I’ve watched. I think he has actually been too patient at times, but he seems zoned in, looking for the right pitch to hit. I saw him take multiple pitches one game that were just off the plate outside, wasn’t chasing, but the ump kept calling them strikes

  • leadoff

    Just a thought! The more Polanco plays, the more you get the feeling the Pirates just might stand pat in right field over the winter, knowing Polanco is just around the corner and that Tabata and Lambo can man right field for a couple of months. Polanco appears to be coming like a freight train.

    • John Dreker

      I think they should go for a first baseman and not worry about right field personally. I know they will be keeping an eye on Winter ball because not only is Polanco doing well, Lambo and Tabata will both be playing shortly in Venezuela, so all three potential 2014 right fielders will be in action. If Jerry Sands could ever live up to his potential, they would have a fourth option, so it’s good to see him playing too.

    • deacs

      I agree. I would leave RF alone. I think a Lambo/Tabata option is worth trying. Tabata can be a good 4th OF. And quite frankly we don’t know what Lambo is and you can’t ignore his power. There’s only one way to find out if his AA/AAA power translates to the majors and that’s to play him. If it doesn’t then we know. If we does maybe he goes to first somehow and platoons with Gabby. What better opportunity then now while Polanco is getting some AAA AB’s. Spend the money on a starter and first.

      It’s interesting what winning does. When the Pirates sucked you could throw a guy out there without consequence for a season or two. In the past you knew they weren’t going to the playoffs so let’s see if Andy LaRoche can play because he’s blocking no one and they weren’t going to the playoffs. Now the leash is much shorter. That being said I think you have to give Lambo a shot and if not you trade him. He’s got nothing more to learn in the minors unless you want to get him time at first.

      As far as Marte not drawing many more walks, I’ve made my peace with that. Hopefully he can cut down the K’s a little. Still very young.

      • jon6er

        I agree about Lambo and Marte. I was disappointed how little Hurdle used Lambo when he came up. He acted as if I was forced to bring him up so that doesn’t mean I have to play him. There was many opportunities to give him playing time down the stretch and it didn’t happen. As for Marte, he is still raw talent. He was drafted at a later age then most kids that play organized ball here and in Latin American. He was signed just as the Pirates upgraded their Dominican facilities and scouting. I think most of us may be pleasantly surprised with how he breaks out this year. One of the things I liked about the Pirates dugout last year was when one of the young guys made a mistake, when he got back to the dugout there always seemed to be a veteran go right over and talk to them and give encouragement. I saw Gaby Sanchez do this all the time and I saw Liriano do it a lot with the players also.

  • deacs

    I think Marte’s OBP will improve as a result of more hits more than walks. He’s a special talent. Can’t wait to see him, Cutch and Polanco patrolling that OF.

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