Winter Leagues: Ramirez and Polo Lead Tigres to First Place Finish

From the Dominican League playoffs on Thursday night, Starling Marte went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in his team’s 3-2 win. He was the designated hitter. Marte went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI on Wednesday, after missing his previous two games. He is batting .276 with six RBIs in nine playoff games. Gregory Polanco will return to play on Sunday. Their team is 8-3 in the 18 game playoffs. None of the other three teams have a winning record.

Yhonathan Barrios struggled in Colombia

Yhonathan Barrios struggled in Colombia after pitching well in the GCL

From Colombia on Wednesday, the league finished up the regular season and all four Pirates players will advance to the playoffs. Harold Ramirez went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Ramirez finished the season with a .323/.426/.425 slash line in 162 plate appearances. He had five doubles, three triples, one homer, 19 walks, eight steals in nine attempts and seven hit-by-pitches, which was the most in the league. He finished with a surprisingly high total of errors, committing five in 65 chances.

Tito Polo went 0-for-2 off the bench in the season finale. Polo finished with a .230 average, four doubles, one triple and one homer in 61 at-bats. He scored 13 times, drove in nine runs and went 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts. Polo made one error in 20 games.

On Tuesday, Yhonathan Barrios picked up his first save of the season. On Wednesday, he came in with the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth and picked up the loss, giving up one run on three hits in 1/3 of an inning. Barrios made 12 appearances on the year, pitching a total of 9.1 innings. He allowed 12 runs on 19 hits, eight walks and he had eight strikeouts. Barrios also made one appearance as a pinch-runner.

Oderman Rocha was the fourth Pirates player in Colombia. He saw very little mound time, making five appearances. He pitched 2.2 innings, giving up six runs on five hits, four walks and he hit three batters.

Both Rocha and Barrios will play for the Leones team in the first round of the playoffs starting tonight. It’s a best-of-five series against the third place Toros, who finished 12.5 games behind Leones. Polo and Ramirez get a first round bye and their team will next play on January 18th.

From Friday in Australia, Danny Arribas went 0-for-3 in his team’s 10-0 loss. He is now hitting .158 through 29 games.

John Dreker

Author: 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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  • freddylang

    Impressive 26 times on base by walk or HBP to go with the nice average. Can’t wait to see him in full season ball. Expecting to see the next Pirate OF prospect to break out.

  • freddylang

    That is 19 HBP for Ramirez in 150 games or so as a pro. I love to see that from guys that will bat at the top of the order.

    • John Dreker

      As long as he stays healthy doing it! The next Starling Marte in more ways than one. West Virginia should be a fun outfield to watch in 2014, with him and Meadows, possibly Elvis Escobar

      • The Masked robshelb

        .

        Me, I don’t get this widespread fascination with whipper-snapper OF’ers . . . Five-foot ten, or eleven. 175-180 lbs. That pretty much describes both Harold Ramirez and Elvis Escobar. Early in their professional careers, why can’t they be converted into 2B-men ??? We’re going to need another new one of them there 2B guys a few years down the road, I think.

        Conversely, when it comes to OF’ers, I personally like ‘em big and strong. Like Austin Meadows and Josh Bell. (Both listed at 6’3″) Now *those* guys are fun to watch. Our answers to the Giancarlo Stantons and the Jason Heywards and the Josh Hamiltons of the world. Guys who can use 40 ounce bats as toothpicks to pick their teeth.

        Not all big guys are great hitters of course. But when you *do* find a player who is a good hitter and who can also launch a baseball 500 feet . . .

        Then we’re talkin’ something special, someone whom I can truly get excited about. (Then again, I’m probably biased. I’ve always shared Earl Weaver’s love-affair with the three-run HR.)

        Harold Ramirez ?? A good, maybe someday great ball-player. But I doubt we’ll ever see him batting clean-up. When you’re OBP is even higher than your SLG% . . . Convert him to 2B !!

        .

        • John Dreker

          I think with both of them, they have to defense to play center field and that is a more important position than second base, plus it’s also their primary position. What you want to do in the low minors, is keep a guy at his natural position as long as possible. Best case scenario for both of those two is that you see them mid-2016. Even if they break out, they will play all of 2014 in West Virginia, 2015 Bradenton/Altoona, 2016 Indianapolis and that is best case. You want to make sure you have a logjam still when they get to the top levels before switching them.

          If in 2016 you don’t see a place for them anywhere in the outfield for the foreseeable future, then you can move them. They would have a chance to play Winter ball at the new spot, Spring Training and a half season in the minors and you wouldn’t have slowed down their pace at all.