The big news from Monday in the Winter Leagues centered around the Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect, Gregory Polanco. He took home both the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards from the Dominican Winter League. He received 45 of a possible 67 first place votes for the MVP award and 61 first place votes for the ROY award. The league wrapped up it’s regular season on Sunday and the playoffs will begin on Friday.
Four teams made the Dominican League round robin playoffs. Below is a list of the teams, along with the Pirates players on their roster. The best two teams during the round robin tournament will move on to the championship series. The winner of that series will go on to the Caribbean World Series and go up against the best Winter League teams from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
Pirates Players On Dominican League Rosters
Leones del Escogido: Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Graham Godfrey(free agent)
Gigantes del Cibao: Carlos Paulino, Joely Rodriguez, Raul Fortunato
Tigres del Licey: Atahualpa Severino(free agent)
Aguilas Cibaenas: None
Winter League Action
There was some action from Monday night in Winter ball. In Puerto Rico, Eliecer Navarro made his season debut. He went five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks, while striking out one batter. Navarro got the no-decision in his team’s 6-4 win. He split the 2013 season between Bradenton and Altoona, posting a 5-17 record, despite a respectable 3.72 ERA in 145 innings. Navarro issued 48 walks and had 117 strikeouts, to go along with a .245 BAA.
Benji Gonzalez came in as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of his team’s 4-3 win. He has been in a slump recently and got most of the night off. Gonzalez is hitting .277 through 15 games, with a .717 OPS and he hasn’t made an error yet at shortstop.
In Colombia from Sunday night, Harold Ramirez went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. Tito Polo got the start in left field in his place and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Ramirez is hitting .313 through 27 games, with a .414 slugging percentage. Polo has played 17 games, going 9-for-37 at the plate. He has appeared a few times as a pinch-runner, so the at-bat total is a little low compared to games played.
The updates will be slow for a couple days as the game calendar is light this time of year. All the leagues are off today and only the Mexican League plays on Christmas. Jay Jackson is the only Pirates player currently on a Mexican League roster, but he hasn’t played recently, so he may be done for the season or just on a break, which isn’t uncommon during the Winter Leagues.
Games start up again in Puerto Rico on Thursday and their schedule runs until December 30th before the playoffs start.
In Venezuela, games begin again on Thursday and run through Monday before the playoffs begin.
In Colombia, they start up again on Thursday and their regular season runs until January 8th. The Tigres team with Harold Ramirez and Tito Polo on it, is the best team in the league by a wide margin, so they will make the playoffs. The best team from the Colombian League goes on to play in the Latin American Series. It’s basically a lesser version of the Caribbean World Series and involves teams from Colombia, the Nicaraguan League, the Veracruz League and the Panama Winter League.
The Veracruz League had one Pirates player, Carlos Esqueda, but he hasn’t played in nearly a month. The league in Panama hasn’t posted any stats or rosters this season. Last year, Dario Agrazal Jr and Eliecer Navarro were the only Pirates players in the league. Nicaragua does have one Pirates player still active. Adolfo Flores has made 18 relief appearances, a team high for games pitched. He has thrown 14.1 innings, allowing eight runs on 20 hits and three walks.
The Australian League next plays on Friday and the league schedule runs through the end of January.