In Winter League playoff action from the Dominican last night, Kris Johnson allowed three runs(two earned) over 6.1 innings, taking his first loss of the season. Johnson was coming off a brilliant performance eight days ago, but he seemed off with the extended layoff between starts. He allowed nine hits, after giving up just 11 hits over 27 innings during the DWL regular season.

In other playoff action from the Dominican, Felix Pie and Alex Valdez were both dropped in the batting order, but it didn’t help as their team dropped to 0-4 in the playoffs. Pie and Valdez have been batting 1-2 in the lineup all season, but each of them has struggled during the playoffs. Pie, batting second, went 1-for-4 last night, drawing a walk and stealing a base. Valdez was dropped down to sixth in the lineup, where he went 0-for-4, giving him a .125 playoff average.

The leagues in Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico all finished their schedules yesterday. Venezuela and Puerto Rico each begin their playoff schedule on Wednesday.

In action from yesterday in Venezuela, Darren Ford went 1-for-5, with a run scored and his 11th stolen base. He was also moved down in the lineup, from his usual lead-off spot, down one spot to the two hole. His team will continue on in the playoffs.

In Puerto Rico, Benji Gonzalez went 0-for-2, before being replaced on defense in the top of the sixth inning. His team did not make the playoffs.

Ivan DeJesus didn’t play yesterday, as his team canceled a meaningless doubleheader on the last day of the season. They also failed to make the playoffs. DeJesus did however win the league batting title, and by a wide margin. His .364 average was 26 points ahead of the second place finisher. He also led the league with 52 hits, finished second with 11 doubles and a .921 OPS, third with 27 runs scored and fourth with 24 RBI’s.

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  1. How far away is Hansen? Seems like a great backup plan if De J falls thru after Barmes plays out the year…buccos could try DJ for part of ’14, & hope Hansen is ready mid 14, or is that too soon for H?

    • Alen Hanson will spend this entire 2013 season at Bradenton. He may get a late call-up just to taste AA, possibly if Altoona is in the playoffs, or he may stay in Bradenton if they’re going to the playoffs instead.
      Assuming everything goes right with him, the absolute earliest you would see him in the Burgh is September 2014 as a call-up. That is a big assumption at his age and what he has done so far but let’s go with it for now.
      From there he would start 2015 in AAA and be called up just in time to avoid super-two status in arbitration, meaning July sometime.
      So if everything goes right, he will be the Pirates starting shortstop by July of 2015. That is your best case scenario with him.
      The is an equally good chance he doesn’t make it as a shortstop and he isn’t a regular until 2016 at a different position, 2B/3B/RF among the options.
      Then, like any player with no success above low-A, there are worse options you don’t want to think about now

      • Well, I hope they don’t rush him if his “tool pack” doesn’t project as a totally natural SS (mainly due to a slightly weak arm?)-2 1/2 yrs of reps in the infield & a thousand at bats should be enough to develop what he has, & it’s time to startto think what we’ll have in the Cole/Tallion era. If it’s an arm problem that keeps him off SS, wouldn,t LF be a better option than RF?

        • The reason I said RF is because of his lack of outfield playing time and the fact LF in PNC is huge. I expect Marte/McCutchen to cover the LF/CF area for the next 5 years(you would hope), while if Hanson moves to the outfield, it won’t happen too soon. He will be very inexperienced out there, making RF easier for him to adjust to for half of his games.
          I think his position will be dictated by how fast his bat moves him through the minors. If they go on the three year plan with him, I could see him being groomed to replace Walker or Alvarez, or perhaps he does stay at SS. I saw him play five times last year and watched three intense infield practices, I didn’t think his arm was that bad and his range is well-above average. He got to some balls that looked like sure hits off the bat to me.

          • More on Hanson. With his range and quickness, I think it could make up for an average arm. I personally think he could stick there, most are unsure. I think Omar Vizquel proved for years that great range, sure hands and quick footwork can make-up for an average arm. I’m not comparing Hanson to one of the greatest fielders ever, but his range certainly is on par with anyone. I’d do what I could to keep him at SS, meaning Bradenton 2013, Altoona 2014, Indy 2015, Pittsburgh 2016 and get him 135 starts a year there.
            Next year in Winter ball, he should see more playing time. The Dominican is a higher level of play than the other Winter Leagues, so it is tough for any low-A ballplayer to get extensive playing time

            • I’d trade his apparent bat speed, growing power, reflexes & range for the steady, yet boringly semi-adequate hitting of Barmes by ’14…ever notice how other teams speed guys into the majors without looking back(see Wash.Natls.),vs. Bucco philosophy of being “certain they are ready”. I think they’re way too cognizant of Years Of Control to put out a winner; not nearly into the Now! I see their logic, but other teams say Damn the Torpedoes & forge ahead-with good success!

  2. We’re compiling lots of players that have a low percentage yet real chance at being an everyday ML SS (Harrison, Mercer, D’Arnaud, DeJesus). One of these days one is going to stick…

  3. John: DeJesus has hit well at every level, and was the Shortstop of the future for the Dodgers until breaking his Tibia in ST 2009 and missing the whole year. The Dodgers went with Gordon and then in 2010, when DeJ returned, they began grooming him as a 2B. I hope the Pirates see him as a Shortstop and play him as such in ST and probably full time at SS in AAA Indy. If it works, he may be a possible replacement for Clint Barmes later this year.

    • From what I have heard, he was a serviceable SS until the leg injury, but since then, he has lost a step and his range now makes him more of a liability there. He doesn’t quite have the bat to make up for average at best defense now.
      One thing with DeJesus, he was always known as a patient hitter and that was part of the charm with him, especially when he was considered a shortstop. The walk rate has really gone down since the leg break, not sure how the two would be connected but that just seems like the team his rate took a tumble. It has been real bad in 2 of the last 3 years, hasn’t been good in his brief major league trial and was just average in the Winter League, despite being one of the best hitters and batting leadoff.
      I think a good comp for his upside is Freddy Sanchez(not 2006 Sanchez) a .290 hitter, won’t walk, won’t steal much, doubles power, solid defense at 2b and just like Sanchez, he could play SS, but not full-time. His floor is similar to what Josh Harrison did this year(though they aren’t good comps for each other skill-wise)

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