Oderman Rocha was on the "Players to Watch" list last year, and has pitched as high as high-A this year, showing strong velocity at every level.

Winter Leagues: Lambo and Ramirez Pick Up RBIs

Monday was a very slow day in Winter ball, so this will be a brief update. Every league returns to a full schedule today and that includes the likely return of Gregory Polanco to the lineup.

Escobar played his seventh game on Monday night in Venezuela

Escobar played his seventh game on Monday night in Venezuela

The only Pittsburgh Pirates players in action on Monday were Andrew Lambo and Elvis Escobar. Lambo was making his third straight start at first base for the Cardenales de Lara club. He went 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI in his team’s 7-2 loss. Lambo now has 13 RBIs in 15 games. Despite making his fifth start at first base, this game marked the first time Lambo actually played the entire game without moving on defense to the outfield to finish the game. He had one assist and eight putouts without any problems and so far, he’s handled all his fielding chances at first base without an error.

Elvis Escobar grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. He is now 0-for-3 in six games played. As mentioned before, he is one of the youngest players in the league, so it’s quite an accomplishment that he is even seeing playing time.

In Colombia from Sunday night, Harold Ramirez stayed hot with a nice game in his team’s 10-3 win. He went 1-for-3 with a triple, RBI, two runs scored, a sacrifice fly and a hit-by-pitch. Ramirez is now hitting .357 through 19 games, with four doubles, three triples and a .500 slugging percentage. He leads the league in triples and ranks third with five stolen bases. His team has an 18-3 record, sitting 4.5 games ahead in first place.

In Nicaragua, Adolfo Flores made his 13th appearance of the year, coming in to get one out. He has pitched a total of 11 innings, giving up four runs on 14 hits and two walks.

In case you missed it from yesterday, we posted an update on 29 Pittsburgh Pirates players in Winter ball. That can be read here and since Monday was so slow, almost everything in the article remains the same.

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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.

Winter Leagues: Polanco and Ramirez Lead Pirates Winter Class

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Winter Leagues: Polanco Returns to Action

  • Jared

    Ramirez’ numbers are very nice considering that this is about the level of competition he’ll be facing every day in A-ball next year. He’s actually on a similar track with Gregory Polanco, except that due to his numbers and at bats in winter ball he actually could rise quicker. Considering that he’ll have all these at bats against A+ball competition in the Colombian league this offseason (a number of at bats that Polanco never had in winter ball) its not unlikely that he could spend his 19-year old season split between A and A+, instead of spending the whole season in West Virginia like Polanco did. Ramirez needs to lessen the 16.8% K-rate and increase the 7.4% BB rate that he put up in Jamestown this season, but again as an 18-year old in a normally college-player heavy league he did pretty well.

    • John Dreker

      I think Ramirez will be there all season, even if he has a great year. For the younger players, the Pirates seem to like keeping them there for the entire year, then they could move two levels the next season. I think they want to get them used to playing a full season and not worry about whether or not they will get promoted. It seems to be a recent trend, so I’d expect Ramirez, Meadows, McGuire to all be at WV all year, but someone like JaCoby Jones or Adam Frazier, if they started at WV, could move up mid-season.

      • John Dreker

        Also, not many people realize it, but they have games in the Dominican that are comparable to minor league ball here. So when you see a guy barely playing games like Mel Rojas Jr., he is playing daily. They call it the Parallel league and even the better players that arrive mid-season, will play a few of those games to get into shape first. Due to the level of competition, those players in the Parallel league are probably playing at a level equal to the Colombian League. So when you look at Gregory Polanco only getting 35 at-bats last year, he actually got a lot more. You almost never see stories from that league and stats are almost impossible to come by, so it’s tough to report anything about it. It would be like getting information from the Fall Instructional League, once in awhile something pops up, but you’ll never see a boxscore.

        • stickyweb

          Good info John. I had never heard about that.

  • IC Bob

    Thanks John I had no idea about th3 Parallel league. Always wondered about why some of these guys hang around when they are playing once a week. Also I get the feeling WV will be a really fun team to watch next year. What an outfield they could have with, Ramirez, Escobar, Meadows and Jones.

    • John Dreker

      Like I said about the Parallel league, the info from it is scarce. I was looking for information yesterday and saw a story about Paulino having a big game in the league on Sunday and I thought it was Carlos Paulino, turned out to be Ronny Paulino getting ready

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