Winter Leagues: Ramirez Leads Team To 6-5 Victory

From Colombia on Saturday, Harold Ramirez reached base three times and scored two runs in his team’s 6-5 win. Ramirez went 2-for-4 with two singles and a walk. He is now hitting .317 in 35 games with a .423 slugging percentage. His team moved to 30-8 on the season. The regular season in Colombia ends on Wednesday. Ramirez’s team has a first round bye and they will start their playoffs on the 18th.

Ramirez is hitting .315 in Colombia

Ramirez is hitting .315 in Colombia

Yhonathan Barrios has been a pitcher since mid-season this year, doing well in the Gulf Coast League, but he has had some rough outings in Colombia. Barrios played on Saturday, though he was used as a pinch-runner and he scored a run. It was his first non-pitching appearance since switching over to pitching.

From Puerto Rico on Sunday, Eliecer Navarro threw five shutout innings, but his team still lost 3-2, dropping them to 0-3 in the playoffs. Navarro allowed four hits, one walk and he struck out four batters. It was his third start in Puerto Rico and he was coming off three shutout innings on Monday. Navarro gave up two runs over five innings in his season debut.

Benji Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with a run scored in his team’s 6-1 win. He is 1-for-9 in three playoff games after hitting .317 during the regular season.

Starling Marte did not play in his team’s 4-2 win on Sunday. No reason has been given for his day off, but if anything is announced other than a scheduled off day, we will provide an update. The Pirates are allowing him to play a limited schedule and he may not play after January 16th according to his team’s General Manager, Moises Alou.

Gregory Polanco has been away from the team attending MLB’s Rookie Career Development Program in Washington DC. Escogido has gone 4-0 without him. He should return to the team early this week. Right now he is currently attending voluntary workouts with the Pirates in Bradenton.

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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  • KJA_1970

    Hello John

    I’ve enjoyed your updates this winter.

    I have two questions on players you are tracking in winter ball.

    1) Do you think Starling Marte is a better player than Wil Myers?

    2) Do you know if Elvis Escobar was injured last season? Based on what I saw in spring training I expected Harold Ramirez and Elvis Escobar to have big seasons in the NYPENN. Ramirez had a solid season but Escobar appeared to struggle.


    • John Dreker

      I think Escobar’s season was okay based on the fact he was an 18-year-old and the NYPL was a pitcher’s league last year. The highest OPS was .862 by a 22-year-old who was drafted in 2013 as a college senior. Then it drops down to .832 for the second highest OPS and that too was a college player. When you start mixing in players as young as Escobar with guys who have 3-4 years of college, those pitchers will find a way to get him out. I’m impressed by the fact he saw playing time at his age in the Venezuelan Winter League, which is definitely a couple steps up from the NYPL.

      As for Myers and Marte, you have to give Marte the edge on defense and speed, but Myers will be the better hitter. Both will be .300 hitters, but Myers will get on base more and hit for more power. I guess it depends on how much you value defense and speed on the bases. I’d rather have Myers, but I’ll settle for having Marte any day.

      • stickyweb

        I like Marte a lot but have a hard time saying he’ll be a .300 hitter. He’ll need lots of adjustments, better plate discipline and some luck that his BABIP doesn’t regress too much to get to .300 and stay there.

        • John Dreker

          He hit .257 his first year and bumped it up to .280 next year, so I could see him topping out at .300, maybe .290 would have been safer to say. I think the blend of his power and speed will help keep his average high. He can bunt for hits, beat out infield hits, but he hits it hard enough that if the infield plays in, he can hit it through the hole. Also, the gap in left field at PNC is his friend if he uses it right. I honestly don’t see him hitting under .280 though

          • stickyweb

            Fair enough. While I do expect overall improvement in his game since he’s only 24, it’s also difficult to say .300 hitter when he looks so bad on those breaking balls in the dirt or off the outside corner. Certainly not the classic .300 hitter, though with his speed for infield/bunt hits, his floor should be in the .250-.260 range I guess, so he’ll probably reach .300 at some point, but I doubt it’s consistently or for his career overall.

  • stickyweb

    John, good job using the more flattering pic of Ramirez for this story. I know earlier in the winter season I was surprised by the other pic (you used yesterday), and said he reminded me of Kirby Puckett.

    • John Dreker

      Until Tim gets more during Spring, or I get some from WV this year, all we have is three pics of him. Basically I try to use them in order, so the same one isn’t popping up each time. I think the one from yesterday is definitely misleading

      • PiratesForever

        Thank you an author that actually reply’s to questions you ask

        • John Dreker

          I used to be the one asking the questions and never liked when they would get ignored, so as long as I’m around the computer, I’ll answer questions. Thanks and I always encourage people to ask questions/make comments here. It’s January, not too far from Spring Training opening, but still far enough that it’s always good to keep up with the team somehow. At least this week, they are having a mini-camp, so there will be some news