Winter Leagues: Mel Rojas Jr. Collecting Extra-Base Hits, Tito Polo Begins Season In Colombia

On Wednesday night in the Dominican, Mel Rojas Jr. went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. More on him below.

Carlos Paulino played his sixth game, coming in as a defensive replacement behind the plate in the ninth inning. He didn’t get a chance to bat.

Willy Garcia had his second straight 0-for-4 game, though he didn’t strikeout, which is a small victory. Garcia is still hitting .304 through 17 games and has struck out just 12 times in 56 at-bats. That is a much better rate than the 145 strikeouts in 439 at-bats(once every three at-bats) he had during the regular season.

Wirfin Obispo faced four batters on Wednesday, retiring the first two before the next batter reached on an error. Obispo then gave up a single, which caused him to be pulled from the game. Neither runner ended up scoring. In 8.1 innings over ten appearances, he has allowed two earned runs.

In Venezuela, Jhonathan Ramos and Matt Nevarez threw back-to-back scoreless innings for Bravos de Margarita. Ramos allowed two hits, while Nevarez gave up one hit and he picked up two strikeouts. Ramos has thrown eight shutout innings over ten appearances.

In Colombia, Tito Polo tripled and scored a run in his team’s 7-0 win on Tuesday, then scored a run during their 7-2 win on Wednesday. He has been starting in right field. The league website still hasn’t posted any stats, so information from the games is hard to come by. Harold Ramirez is with the team, but his name hasn’t showed up in any game stories yet.

Thursday Night’s Action

Mel Rojas Jr. went 1-for-4 with a double, driving in two runs. Through 21 games, he is hitting .256 with six doubles and 15 runs scored. In his last seven games, he is batting .286 with four doubles and a triple. Rojas has doubled in each of his last three games.

Rafael Perez threw 1.2 scoreless innings, striking out two batters. He allowed just one hit, which happened to be the double by Rojas.

Carlos Paulino went 1-for-3 with an RBI before being pinch-hit for in the eighth inning. He is 5-for-13(.385) in seven games.

In Venezuela, Ramon Cabrera pinch-hit, making the last out of the game on a fly ball to left field. He is hitting .218 in 55 at-bats.

In Mexico, Felipe Gonzalez came on in relief during the sixth inning with two men on and allowed a single, which brought home a run. He retired the next batter to limit the damage. That was his only work of the night. He has pitched 13 times this winter, posting a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 innings.

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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