Winter Leagues: De Jesus Stays Hot With Two Hits

On a slow night on the schedule, Ivan De Jesus Jr went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. He is hitting .476 through seven games, all of which have been played at second base.

Jerry Sands went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He is 5-for-18 in five games this season, but he has struck out eight times already and has not scored a run.

In the Dominican, Carlos Paulino went 1-for-3 with a single in his team’s 8-1 loss. He made his second error of the season, a throwing error on a stolen base. Runners were successful on both stolen base attempts against him.

Oscar Tejeda was teammates with Paulino for most of the year in Altoona and he plays for the same Gigantes del Cibao team in the Dominican. He got into the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning and struck out to end the game. Tejeda was batting for former Pirates catcher Robinzon Diaz.

In the Veracruz League, Carlos Esqueda went 2-for-4 in his team’s 5-1 loss. After starting the season with an 0-for-15 streak, Esqueda has gone 12-for-39 and he’s been moved to the lead-off spot.

In Nicaragua, Adolfo Flores had his best outing so far. He threw two no-hit innings in his last game and has now thrown 4.2 scoreless innings through five appearances. Flores has given up just three hits and hasn’t issued a walk.

The Colombian, Australian and Venezuelan Leagues all had off yesterday, while the Dominican and Mexican Leagues each had just one game on the schedule.

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.

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DeJesus and JHay were pretty similar in AAA this year, as you say. DeJesus did a few things slightly better than Harrison – slightly better walk rate, BA, OBP, etc. – but JHay was the better overall hitter.

But there is that one additional fact that you know about JHay – that it just doesn’t seem to be translating to the MLB level. I know that if you were trying to extrapolate two minor-league guys into projected MLB performance then, on paper, JHay has a slightly better jumping-off point. But the results of that extrapolation (not a perfect science, obviously) haven’t been there, so I’m wondering if it’s simply worth trying to see if DeJesus might………..translate better.

It’s also an interesting “use-him-or-lose-him” scenario. He was an interesting pick-up as part of the Hanrahan trade, basically an offset to letting Brock Holt go there. But with JHay still having two remaining options, I’m wondering what the real downside would be to simply retaining both a little while longer by re-signing DeJesus to a minor-league deal and placing him on the 40-man (the main issue, I’m sure).

And why not give him the Opening Day shot at utility guy so you can see what you really have in terms of MLB possibilities once and for all? (assuming he continues to perform this winter and in ST, of course, which I suspect he will).

If DeJesus craps out…..back to JHay, no harm. Just seems like DeJesus has put up a resume’ that looks like it should have earned a shot by now, and a resume’ that would tell you it would be very unfortunate to just lose him for nothing now.

Another helpful perpsective is that this is the time of year where we go looking for the best minor-league free agents available at a variety of positions, and DeJesus is easily the best middle infielder on the minor-league free agency market as we speak. Seems like it would be pretty easy and/or smart to just re-sign him and place him on the roster.


Couldn’t agree more!

Richard Ya'Zhynka

Do the Pirates have any plans for Ivan De Jesus? He hit very well at AAA last year – at the age of 26 – but it seemed that the Pirates never gave any consideration to promoting him. Will he be a casualty of the Pirates blind love for Josh Harrison?

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