Gregory Polanco is the top prospect in the system, and should be up by mid-season.

Winter Leagues: Polanco Reaches Base Four Times In Playoff Win

In the Dominican League finals on Friday night, Gregory Polanco had a big game in his team’s 8-0 win. Polanco went 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base. He was moved up to second in the batting order from his usual third spot. His average is at just .220 in the playoffs(including round robin) so he hasn’t been hitting well since winning the Dominican Winter League MVP and Rookie of the Year award. His Escogido team is now down 3-2 in the best-of-nine series. Game six will take place on Sunday.

In Australia on Friday, Sam Kennelly was the only Pirates player to see action. He played third base and went 0-for-2 before being pinch-hit for in his team’s 5-4 victory. Kennelly has really struggled lately, going 0-for-23 in his last ten games.

On Thursday night in Colombia, Harold Ramirez went 0-for-3 with a walk in his team’s 10-5 win. With the victory, his team won the Colombian League finals and will now move on to the Latin American series, where they will take on the best teams from the Winter Leagues in Nicaragua, Panama and Veracruz. In five playoff games, Ramirez went 5-for-17 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored.

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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: Harold Ramirez Collects Two Hits In Playoff Win

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Winter Leagues: Mixed Results For Top Pirates Prospects In Winter Ball

  • javi1975

    Hi John, thanks for your great coverage of the Pirates minor league r’s. I’m from Puerto Rico and just wanted you to know that this year’s Caribbean Series will include Cuba, I’ve noticed a couple of times that you have mentioned the series and that you didn’t mention this fact. Here in the island we are very excited to have Cuba participating in this competition. It has been decades since the best baseball nation in the region has played in it’s most important tournament. It’s sad that for so much time petty politics have gotten in the way of the joy and togetherness that these type of sporting competitions provides to our societies. Just wanted to let you know . Thanks for the info.

    • John Dreker

      Thanks for that info. I have actually read about Cuba playing in the tournament, but I thought they weren’t joining until next season. I’ll be sure to mention it in the next article. I don’t normally pay attention to the league in Cuba, because there obviously aren’t any Pirates players there, but if I knew they were in the tournament this year I would have mentioned it. Thanks again!

    • jon6er

      I agree with you about John’s great coverage javi and you must be proud to be from the birthplace of one of the greatest ballplayer and human being of all time. RIP Roberto!

  • IC Bob

    John I have a question. Is there any concern that Polancos swing is a little long? Do the Pirates have any concerns about this? Are they comfortable with his swing? I don’t want to rain on everyones parade but I have asked myself that question and some others that I trust and they have suggested it could be a little long.

    • John Dreker

      I have never heard any concerns with that. Polanco doesn’t have any strikeout issues and has actually improved his contact over the years. His first two years, he didn’t make the best contact. What I noticed from a video posted today is that he starts his swing early and he has such a good eye and plate patience, that he doesn’t chase many pitches. He also uses the whole field. Two of his hits yesterday were to left field, the other up the middle and the three homers he hit in the Winter that I’ve seen, have all been to right field.

      His strikeout total is the Winter was actually a little high, but I noticed one thing seeing 50 or so of his at-bats(actually from 100’s of ABs that I watched from others too). The umps down there seem to have a wide strike zone and Polanco refused to chase outside pitches, so he went down looking on questionable calls more than a few times. I actually don’t mind that approach game to game because I’ve heard some hitters in the past will just suck it up for a game, rather than chasing, because it’s easy to get into bad habits. Just something I noticed watching him a lot this Winter.

      • IC Bob

        Thanks for the response.

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