The Pittsburgh Pirates have released eight players from their Dominican Summer League team. The most surprising name among the group is first baseman Dennis Hurtarte, who was one of the best Pirates hitters during the second half last year in the DSL and the reports on his Spring Training this year were great. Hurtarte was already signed by the Baltimore Orioles, who plan to bring him to the US later this week.
The other seven players released are as follows:
Yunior Aquiles, outfielder that was signed to a six-figure bonus in 2010, but he never panned out. He was described as raw when he signed, with high upside due to his speed and potential power. Aquiles has an incredible arm from the outfield, but didn’t show anything in three seasons. He was used sparingly in 2011, then saw plenty of playing time in 2012, then dropped off into a reserve role last year, spelling the end for him.
Rodney Polonia, the son of Luis Polonia, who played 12 seasons in the Majors. The younger Polonia put in three seasons and never showed much with the bat, posting a .557 OPS over 126 games. He was an excellent defensive second baseman and a smart player.
Steven De La Mota, outfielder/first baseman with a big bat, who came on strong last year after a poor first season in 2012. De La Mota wasn’t much of a defensive player and he was already 20 years old, so he didn’t have much upside. The 2014 DSL Pirates are loaded in outfield talent, leaving very few spots for a bat like his.
Gustavo Barrios, a 20-year-old middle infielder known for his ability to get on base and he had some decent speed. Not much of a defensive player and didn’t hit for any power.
Adderly Ceballo, a relief pitcher that was used as a roster filler last year. Ceballo played two seasons in the Cardinals system, then didn’t play in 2012, before signing with the Pirates last year. He is almost 23 years old, so no surprise here.
Edgardo Rangel, catcher for three seasons, who had his best year as a rookie. Rangel didn’t hit at all last year and had trouble throwing out runners. With two solid catchers needing playing time ahead of him, he would have been a third string catcher at best, which doesn’t bode well for a fourth year player.
Fredis Padilla, switch-hitting second baseman that showed improvements last year over his rookie 2012 season, hitting better and playing decent defense. The initial reports had Padilla as a poor defensive shortstop that could move to a corner spot, so he worked himself into a much better player on defense. The Pirates were hoping for more power from his bat and that never developed. He and Barrios were both signed the same day out of Colombia.