For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here. For a recap of the DSL All-Star game, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day.
Result: Rangers 8, Pirates 2
Starting Pitcher: Miguel Ferreras, RHP (5-5, 5.35) – 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Yomifer Polanco, RF (.264) – 2-for-3, RBI, BB
Other Notable Performers:
Julio de la Cruz, 3B (.212) – 2-for-5, 2B
Carlos Ruiz, RHP (0.97) – 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Johan De Jesus, SS (.137) – DNP
Game Notes: The Pirates1 lost their third straight game after winning eight in a row before the All-Star break. Starter Miguel Ferreras ran into trouble in three of the four innings he pitched, picking up his fifth loss. He was relieved by Jesus Perez, who walked five batters and gave up two runs in his 2.1 innings. Brayan Almonte allowed hits to four of the six batters he faced in the seventh inning. He hit another batter and recorded just one out before being replaced. Carlos Ruiz came in with one out and the bases loaded and got out of the inning without allowing anymore damage. Ruiz has given up just two earned runs this season in 13 appearances, both runs coming in the same outing. Third base prospect Julio de la Cruz has hit much better in the month of July than he did in June. He has an .839 OPS this month versus a .565 OPS in 20 June games. Yomifer Polanco and Rodney Polonia drove in the only runs for the Pirates.
Result: Pirates 2, Nationals 0
Starting Pitcher: Jose Batista, LHP (2.62) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Jesus Ronco, SS (.182) – 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, BB
Other Notable Performers:
Jhoan Herrera, DH (.245) – 0-for-3
Michael de la Cruz, CF (.336) – 1-for-3, RBI, 2B
Hector Garcia, LHP (3-1, 1.96) – 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Yoel Gonzalez, C (.138) – 1-for-3, 3B
Game Notes: The Pirates2 won their sixth straight and got strong starting pitching from Jose Batista, who threw five scoreless innings, continuing his excellent season. He got nine outs on groundballs. As a starter, he has a 1.21 ERA in five games. Batista had allowed more than one earned run once in 11 outings. Hector Garcia followed Batista with four shutout innings, picking up the win. This was the fourth shutout by Pirates2 pitchers. Catcher Yoel Gonzalez hit the first triple of his career. He is still a week short of his 17th birthday. Top prospect Michael de la Cruz ranks fourth in the DSL with 34 runs scored and third with a .480 OBP. He went 1-for-3 with his seventh double of the season and also picked up an outfield assist.
Player Of The Day
Today’s player of the day is Jesus Ronco, an infielder in his second season in the DSL. He was signed last March, one of five players the Pirates signed at the same time out of Colombia. Ronco was listed as a projectable player that the Pirates hoped would develop with more experience. His rookie season was a rough one at the age of eighteen. He played just 16 games, splitting his time between third base and shortstop. Ronco hit .174, with a .500 OPS. This season he is seeing more playing time, but the bat still isn’t coming around. In 18 games so far, he is batting .182, with a .590 OPS. In his first season, Ronco had just one extra base hit, a triple. This year he already has five doubles, a surprisingly high number among his eight hits. He is still young, so there is time he could develop, but he clearly hasn’t advanced liked the Pirates hoped.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.