By RENALDO DORSETT
THE Pittsburgh Pirates’ Dominican Summer League (DSL) roster features a pair of Bahamian prospects looking to climb the progression ladder in the organisation.
Kyle Simmons and Larry Alcime Jr have seen their Pirates struggle out of the gate early in the season with a 2-5 record in the league’s North division.
Simmons, in his second DSL campaign with the club, is currently tied for the team lead through four appearances, with three RBI.
In a 4-3 loss to the DSL Cubs, the 19-year-old infielder started at second base and finished 2-4, including a double, with one run scored and two RBI.
After an 0-2 start to the year, he went 2-3 with one run scored and one RBI in game two, a 6-5 loss to the DSL Rangers. Simmons got the start in the game at shortstop.
Through four games, Simmons is hitting .364 with an on base percentage of .500, OPS of .955, slugging percentage of .455 and two stolen bases.
Last summer he appeared in just six games and hit .211 with an on base percentage of .273, OPS of .641, slugging percentage of .368 , one stolen base, and three RBI.
Alcime, the 17-year-old outfielder, struggled at the plate through his first three games (0-10) but got the first hit of his young professional career in the aforementioned loss to the Cubs.
Both players were signed to the club by Pirates Latin American and Caribbean scout Rene Gayo in July, 2015.
“This young man fits the criteria we look for, if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” Gayo said of Alcime at the time of the signing. “These kids are here because they’re gifted. He’s going to go compete with other guys that are also gifted. Just because you’re gifted doesn’t mean you’re going to make it. This is why I like the Bahamas, this is my third trip here and I have discovered there are people of high character here and that will be the difference in a lot of players. I signed two players from here this year and I plan on coming back in the future.”
Alcime was the youngest of the group to sign during the international signing period. The former student at St Augustine’s College, Freedom Farmer and member of the Maximum Development Academy performed well at the Max D Pro Day last February when he garnered attention from many scouts.
Simmons, a dual sport athlete during much of his high school career, decided to give up track and field and focus primarily on baseball. Locally, he has starred at JBLN for a number of years and, at the national level, he was a member of the 2013 team which finished second at the PONY Colt Division Caribbean Championships.
Gayo lauded the potential of Simmons and the impact he may be able to have.
“We are very fortunate to add Kyle to our system, not just because of his abilities but also because of the person he is. I have no doubt in my mind that he will maximise his ability,” he said. “His natural talent is there, but I believe he is a person of even higher character and that’s a very important thing to the Pirates.”
Gayo has directed Latin American scouting operations for two different teams. He became scouting director for the Indians in Latin America in 1999.
In 2004, the Pirates hired Gayo to lead their Latin American scouting system, filling a position left vacant for five years.