Winter Leagues: Polanco Finishes as Dominican League Leader in OPS

The Dominican Winter League wrapped up it’s regular season on Sunday and Gregory Polanco finished with a .331/.428/.494 slash line in 44 games. He had 55 hits, 28 runs scored, 28 RBIs and 28 walks. Polanco hit ten doubles, one triple and five homers, while stealing seven bases in eight tries. He lost the batting title on the last day when Rafael Ynoa went 2-for-3 to move from .326 to .333 to overtake the lead. Ynoa left the game after six innings.

Gregory Polanco lost the batting title, but led the league in OPS
Gregory Polanco lost the batting title, but led the league in OPS

While he won the batting title, Ynoa had a slim chance to catch Polanco for the OPS title. Polanco finished with a .922 mark and Ynoa finished second with an .892 mark. A home run in his next at-bat would have left him just point behind Polanco, with another at-bat possible, while an out would have cost him the batting title. Polanco also finished as the league leader in runs scored and tied for the lead in hits.

In the Dominican from Sunday, Andy Vasquez went 0-for-4 to finish his season 2-for-19 in eight games. He started the last two games of the season at shortstop after starting just once in the first 48 games.

Raul Fortunato waited until the last day of the season to make his debut. He went 0-for-4 and played center field. Fortunato hit .248 with five homers and 52 RBIs over 123 games with West Virginia this season.

In Venezuela, Andrew Lambo was back at first base for the first time since Tuesday. He went 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI. He was replaced on defense in the seventh inning.

In Puerto Rico, Benji Gonzalez went 0-for-4 and saw his average drop down to .277 due to an 0-for-12 streak over his last three games. He is still perfect in the field on the season.

In Colombia from Saturday night, Harold Ramirez went 1-for-3 with a single, walk, RBI and sacrifice fly. He is hitting .316 through 26 games. Ramirez has drawn 14 walks and scored 17 runs.

Tito Polo was used a pinch-runner and he scored a run in his team’s 7-3 win. Ramirez and Polo have helped their team to a league best 23-5 record.


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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Chris Hale

/there is an outside chance the Pirates could extend Alvarez for another couple years . It’s not likely but Hurdle said he thinks there will be more extensions to come. These players are invested in winning a championship in Pittsburgh. They have big window for success .The best time frame in my opinion is 2015 and beyond. Once the entire core of Marte,Cutch,Polanco,Walker,Alvarez,Hansen,Cole,Taillon,Kingham,Wilson is in place there won’t be many teams with more talent. Alvarez is the least likely to re-sign but We really don’t know what Pedro’s thoughts are so it’s really not too fair to assume he will bolt right away

Brian Bernard

I look for Pedro to sign a long term deal with the Pirates this year. 5 years 80 mil.

Polanco will be up mid-season as is the process along with Taillon. What a roster boost that will be.

As for roster contruction, Clint will shuffle the lineup as he always does but I am convinced the roster should be something like:
1. LF Marte
2. 2b Walker
3. CF Cutch
4. 3B Pedro
5. C Martin
6. RF Polanco
7. 1b Sanchez
8. SS Mercer
9. P


If Pedro has another season like last, Boras won’t let him sign an extention, and i don’t think the Pirates would offer him that much any way.
You really want Walker slowing the base paths up in the top of the line up? Polonco should hit 1 with Marte hitting 2. He would see alot of fast balls hitting in front of Cutch(less K’s)


Marte is the weak link in that OF. I read that without his HBP’s his OBP would have been .313. Also his BABIP was .363. He’d due a major regression. His defense will always keep him a 1+ WAR player.


Marte is a guy who is going to get hit by a lot of pitches. We’re even seeing it this offseason. He’s only played in 3 or 4 games but has been hit by 2 pitches already. No, he will not walk as much as we’d like, but he can definitely make up for that with getting hit by a few more pitches.


Very impressive, Mr Polanco. Very impressive, indeed.


With maybe the most formidable Bucco lineup since the Bonds/Bonilla/Drabek era at midseason; it should be a real fun season to watch; especially if they can stay close for the first half…once the summer callup (if all goes well) of Polanco & Taillon & maybe a inhouse surprise promotion or trade; a team fielded consisting of that 3 part toolhouse, PLUS Pedro providing power, PLUS pretty solid catching & defense (w/ advanced shifting techniques); PLUS a talent stuffed bullpen, PLUS a possibly well above average SP staff; can’t think of a better setup for an interesting summer of baseball! Kudos to NH & staff for pulling all this together, after so many years of low expectations (& lower performance)!!
Merry Xmas Bucco sportsfans!


“With maybe the most formidable Bucco lineup since the Bonds/Bonilla/Drabek era”

I don’t know….Drabek only had a .399 career OPS (but he did have 46 career RBI!)


Well, when he pitched, he was part of the “lineup” too…pitching can be formidable too !

Pie Rat

Looking at all the options I see Sanchez as just as capable as a bounce back as Davis. As a platoon though they are much stronger. The Mets plans for him are to use him like we use Harrison or Tabata. I see Tabata as having value. Considering his contract is reasonable and locked in for his free agent years. What value would you put on him. I think we are giving up more even if we traded Tabata for Davis. In that scenario Lambo would play RF instead of 1st, and Palanco would be following soon.

Chris Hale

I cannot wait to Polanco in the PNC outfield. There’s no question the Pirates will have the most athletic outfield in baseball. They have to be up there in potential too. This is a 14 out of 15 tool outfield. McCutchen’s arm being the only weakness.

Chris Hale

LOL a 100+ stolen base outfield… yikes


Unfortunately a 100 SB outfield won’t happen. Because of lineup construction mostly, the more those players are clustered together, the less steals they will have and they all are top of the order type guys. Polanco would likely take over leadoff from Marte at some point, and I think Cutch will likely hover between 20-25 a year as long as his legs are healthy. So 80-90 would be my expectations

Chris Hale

What i’m saying is they are capable of stealing 100. Marte is capable of 50 but will probably be around what he was this year Cutch is 35 capable and Polanco I am not sure on but I’m thinking 40 capable. If these 3 hit 1 2 3 in the order they could easily get 100 together. No we don’t see it often but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much speed in the top 3. Polanco might start as a leadoff hitter but he won’t stay there . He’s got too much run producing ability. If Marte and Polanco are hitting leadoff then they won’t reach anything close to their upside ,it also mean we would have never found a true lead off hitter. I’m hoping Hansen fills hat role down the road

Chris Hale

Everything works out your looking at something like this.
Hansen SS
Polanco OF
McCutchen OF
Alvarez 3B
Bell 1B
Marte OF
Walker 2B
Sanchez C
I know the odds aren’t good and realize Bell is an Of. I have always seen him getting turned into a 1Bmen because of who we have as OF


It would be nice to hope for that Chris, but Pedro will be gone (to the Yankees probably) due to contract/agent issues before Bell is ready to play first base. Also, Hanson has been inconsistent so far as far as OBP. Maybe it would be better to think of a Tony LaRussa approach of batting the Pitcher 8th and Hansen 9th, so when he does get on effectively he is a leadoff hitter due to his speed. Plugging in Mercer at 3B the 2H2016 lineup might look like:

Polanco RF
Walker 2B / Mercer 3B
McCutchen CF
Bell 1B
Marte LF
Mercer 3B / Walker 2B
Sanchez C
Hansen SS

Still pretty impressive!

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