Winter Leagues: Polo Off to Strong Start in Colombia, Osuna Homers

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna hit his fifth homer of the winter(shown below) on Wednesday night. His team played a doubleheader and Osuna went 2-for-3 with a single and a solo homer in game one, driving in his 22nd run of the season. In game two, he went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk. He is hitting .329/.392/.472 in 45 games.

Elias Diaz caught game one of the doubleheader and went 0-for-3. He is hitting .241/.311/.463 in 15 games. On Monday, he played in the Venezuelan league All-Star game and hit a three-run homer. He took home the game MVP award.

Newly-signed Patrick Johnson pitched terrific on Wednesday, allowing one run over seven innings. He gave up five hits, two walks and struck out six batters. The only run he allowed came on a first inning home run. Johnson has a 1.57 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 51.2 innings.

Deolis Guerra pitched a scoreless sixth inning, striking out the side on 15 pitches. Elias Diaz was the final strikeout of the inning.

A.J. Morris threw a scoreless inning, retiring the side in order on two ground outs and a strikeout. He has a 3.65 ERA in 24.2 innings over 14 appearances.

Gorkys Hernandez had a big game, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, RBI, walk and two runs scored. He is hitting .327/.405/.399 in 44 games.

In the Dominican, Pedro Florimon went 1-for-3 with a walk, run scored and stolen base. He is batting .215 through 18 games.

In Puerto Rico, Danny Ortiz continues to struggle, going 0-for-3 on Wednesday. He has a .440 OPS through 25 games, which is very surprising considering his AAA numbers the last two years and the level of play in this league.

In Colombia, Tito Polo has been hitting well as of late, going 4-for-9 with a walk in his last two games. In 35 at-bats, he has a .343/.432/.457 slash line, with six runs, six RBIs and five walks. Harold Ramirez didn’t play in either of the last two games. He has an .813 OPS in 37 at-bats.

In Mexico, Sebastian Valle went 0-for-3 before being ejected for getting in a fight with the pitcher after a strikeout in the sixth inning because he didn’t like the celebration.

  • I just love these Spanish Annoncer.

  • I want Tito Polo to do something newsworthy every day, purely for the joy in reading his name.

  • Really can’t understand why Carlos Munoz and Jose Osuna generate so much more interest than Elias Diaz.

    My man crush is official.

    • During winter 2013-14 Diaz played a lot of winter ball and I talked about him often, citing some in-person scouting of my own over the years. When he broke out with Altoona, multiple people wondered why we never mentioned him before.

      • That’s a smooth right handed swing. Not an extreme amount of effort to hit that 400 feet. You have to think he is gonna be at least a 10-15 HR guy at some point.

        • Probably a bit on the long side by Major League standards, that’s a pretty deep load, but overall I agree. Looks to be getting more leverage than in the past, and he’s still posting above average contacts rates.

      • Correct me if I am wrong John,
        But my recollection of Diaz prior to last year was that the consensus was he was great defensively – major league caliber.

        But the question was could he hit enough to be more than a backup catcher in the bigs…

        I think several folks thought moving him to Altoona last year was a stretch.

        He certainly seems to be on track to be a solid ML catcher – able to start 140 games a year for a contender.

        I wonder if Stewart has any trade value – alone or as part of a package – maybe at the deadline when someone has a catcher injury to deal with that would allow the Bucs to get something meaningful back and move Diaz to PNC to back up Cervelli.

        Of course there is an alternative – Steward or Cervelli get hurt and Diaz has to come up – but lets hope that does not happen

        • Diaz had a .781 OPS for Bradenton in 2013, so when you add in his above average defense, he seemed ready to move up. He also held his own against advanced competition in the winter, so that was another good sign going into 2014.

          I think Diaz catches everyday in Indy as an insurance policy in case of injury and if they don’t need him before September, then you’ll see him as a call-up and he will get some playing time, as opposed to what happened this time.

  • Where will this Patrick Johnson start out at?

    • He was assigned to Altoona, which isn’t a guarantee he will start there, but it seems likely. He topped out at High-A with the Rockies, but he has become a better pitcher since then

      • Thanks. Im sure once we get to Spring, Tim and you will have a better idea where everyone ends up.

        Ballpark, how many more MiLB FA do they need to sign, at least for the Indians and Curve?

        • Well they probably won’t sign more than 1-2 who end up in Altoona, but they will need at least ten for Indianapolis. They not only fill the 25-man roster, there are always 5-10 players who get hurt and ones who are used as the 26/27 men on the roster. The ones who go on the DL about five times a year and magically get better at the exact same time someone else gets hurt

          • Thanks. One of the things ive learned here is roster management is more difficult than the average fan thinks.

            • I think of it as that point in a baseball video game where you make your ML roster, maaayyybe make sure quality prospects are starting in AAA, and then pretend everything else in AAA and below doesnt matter.

              Bummer thats not what a real roster management situation entails.

              • I still have trouble understanding the “convenience list” sometimes at the MLB level. Probably gets even trickier at AAA and below, like John said. Im sure there is a lot more position players pitching some nights, guys playing out of position.

  • Mr. D : Is what Osuna is doing in Venezuela opening any eyes at the PBC? I do not know what kind of defense he had at first and Bell is the designated heir apparent but I’m wondering if he will eventually be an option on the big league team.

    • Based on what they did last year, I think Osuna plays LF/1B with Altoona until Josh Bell moves up to Pittsburgh and as long as Osuna is playing well at that time, then he will go to Indianapolis and take over a first base. Things don’t always work out as planned, but that’s my guess right now. Osuna is average at first base, nothing special, but much better than Bell or Alvarez. He has a strong arm, which plays well in the OF.

      • “Osuna is average at first base, nothing special, but much better than Bell or Alvarez”

        That’s scary! Only wish we could have an average normal type of first baseman.