Tito Polo and Colombia look for Latin American Series title tonight

Winter Leagues: Polo Goes Yard In 6-4 Win

From Colombia on Monday, Tito Polo hit a solo home run in his team’s 6-4 win. The homer was his first of the season. Harold Ramirez reached base three times, going 1-for-3 with a single, walk, hit-by-pitch and run scored. He is now hitting .323 with nine extra base hits in 37 games. Polo is hitting .237 in 24 games and he has a .699 OPS.

Tito Polo hit his first homer of the Winter

Tito Polo hit his first homer of the Winter

The league is a good measuring stick for how much each player has improved over last season. There are two games left in their regular season, so it is close enough to the end to compare how each of them did last year for the same team in the same league. We saw a huge jump this year from Gregory Polanco, who went from a seldom-used backup, to winning the Dominican Winter League’s MVP award.

Last year, Harold Ramirez saw regular playing time, but his stats were nowhere near the level they are at this year. In 113 at-bats last year, he hit .221 with a .319 slugging percentage. He has 17 more at-bats this year and besides the 102 point jump in batting average, he also has a .431 slugging percentage and an .861 OPS.

For Polo, he had just 24 at-bats last year in 20 games. This season, he has 68 plate appearances and has also been used numerous times as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, while seeing most of his playing time in center field.

In Puerto Rico on Tuesday night, Benji Gonzalez went 1-for-4 in his team’s 3-0 loss. He is now 2-for-13 in the playoffs after hitting .317 during the regular season. His team is 2-2 so far in the 12 game round robin tournament.

Mel Rojas Jr. hasn’t played the last two games after going 1-for-9 in the first two games of the playoffs.

Starling Marte will return to action tonight according to his team. His Escogido team is 6-3 so far in the 18 game round robin tournament, this best record among the four teams.

The Pirates signed Robert Andino yesterday. He was on the roster of the Cangrejeros de Santurce team in the Puerto Rico Winter League, but he never played and Santurce was the only team that didn’t make the playoffs, so their season is over.

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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: Escogido Loses Without Marte and Polanco

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Winter Leagues: Marte Returns to Lineup, Polanco’s Return Delayed

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