Dominican Summer League: The Week That Was

Here is a recap of the week that was for some of the top prospects in the DSL.

Jhoan Urena, 3B, New York Mets – .286/.393/.667 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR. He’s showing off his power in the 1st week.

Vicente Lupo, OF, New York Mets – .400/.538/.750 2 HR. He was one of the Mets’ top signings last year but struggle this year it looks to be a different story as he is showing his power.

Manuel Margot, CF, Boston Red Sox – .292/.414/.667 2 HR, 5 SB. Excellent 1st week for Margot who showed off his 5-tools as he also threw out two runners at 2nd and home plate.

Luis Acosta, SS, Chicago Cubs – .286/.333/.607 He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts as he struck-out 13 times in 6 games. The power is exciting as he also had 6 XBH.

Keury Mella, RHP, San Francisco Giants – 2 GS, 8.2IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K One of the top signings from the Giants last year has gotten off to a good start.

Rafael De Paula, RHP, New York Yankees – 2 GS, 8IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K The Yankees may have gotten a gem here with De Paula who had some problems getting his documents approved by MLB and was suspended. With that behind him he’s getting his rust off.

Christopher Tamarez, SS, New York Yankees – .364/.462/.455 He was one of the to signings for the Yankees in 2010 but struggle last year.

Harold Arauz, RHP, Houston Astros 1 GS, 4IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K He was one of the top signings out of Panama last year and got off to a good start.

Jose Fermin, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks 2 GS, 9.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K A short-thin righty with an electric arm Fermin has gotten off to a strong start.

Jose Ureña, RF, San Diego Padres .286/.360/.619  The Mexican has adapted well in his first week of DSL action showing off his power.

Ronniel Demorizi, SS, Blue Jays .308/.400/.538 He played in the Under-Armour All-American game last year when he was only 15 Years old playing against much older competition.

Juan Ortiz, OF, Milwaukee Brewers .389/.476/.722 One of the Brewers top signings last year with a nice left handed swing and frame to grow stronger.


Dominican Summer League Follow List

With the DSL opening today here are a few prospects that should be interesting to follow:

Manuel Margot, OF, Boston Red Sox – He was one of the highest bonus signings from the Red Sox. Most scouting reports talk about him being a great defensive CF with gap power. It should fun to see how raw or advance his bat is for the level.

Raymel Flores, SS, Boston Red Sox – He earned the highest bonus from the Red Sox last year. He stands out for his defense at SS and advance feel at the plate. It should be fun to follow him to see if his bat holds true.

Dioscar Romero, RHP, Boston red Sox – A big psychical durable frame Romero throws in the low 90s with his secondary pitches coming along.

Jesus Castillo, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks – He’s one of the youngest players in the DSL this year with a durable frame and athletic delivery. He already throws in the low 90s with a good change up but needs to smooth his delivery so he could repeat it effortlessly. (Video)

Victor Reyes, OF, Atlanta Braves – He was Atlanta’s most expensive signing last year. His calling card is his physical frame that should produce some power.

Luis Enrique Acosta, INF, Chicago Cubs – One of the bonus babies to make his debut in the DSL this year Acosta signed for $1.1 Million. He has plus bat speed and an athletic frame that is conductive to power. (video)

Mark Malave, 3B, Chicago Cubs – Another bonus baby making his debut in the DSL he signed for $1.6 million. He has been one of the top competitors at youth level for Venezuela and stands out for his advance eye at the plate. He was reported to be signed as a Catcher but he’s listed as third baseman in the DSL Cubs 2 roster.

Adelyn Santa, 3B, Detroit Tigers – Detroit’s highest bonus was given to Santa a third baseman that stands out because of his power at the plate. He’s raw at the plate so it will be fun to see how he performs.

Antonio Senzatela, RHP, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies do a good job in Latin America by not spending too much and coming away with very good talent. Senzatela was the Rockies biggest signing it should be fun to follow how he does.

Hector Villarroel, LHP, Colorado Rockies – Villarroel is one of the youngest players in the league this year and stands out for his project able frame.

Luis Reynoso, SS, Houston Astros – The Astros normally are not big players in Latin America, they let their Latin American pipe line dry up, but are starting to be more aggressive and Reynoso was their big play last signing period. Lets see if it pays off. (video)

Argenis Silva, RHP, Minnesota Twins – Silva also has represented Venezuela at youth level and at 16 already has a durable frame and throws in the low 90s.

Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, Minnesota Twins – Has a short stature but with room to grow and couple more inches. He’s more projection than ‘now’ but earned the biggest bonus the Twins handed out this year.

Carlos Belonis, SS, Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers have been more active in Latin America lately, specially in the position player market. Belonis stands out for his project able frame and advance feel for the game. Last year the Brewers had Orlando Arcia at SS lets see how Belonis performs.

Jose Garcia, C, New York Mets – Garcia was the Mets’ top signing last year for 800K. He has a advance feel for the game and all around ability.

Jhoan Ureña , 3B, New York Mets – Ureña received the 2nd highest bonus from the Mets and is switch hitting third baseman with pop. (video)

Franmil Reyes, OF, San Diego Padres – A big muscular outfielder, Reyes has as much power as any 16 y/o you’ll see. The rest of his game remains raw but it will be fun to see what he does. (video)

There will be more updates as the season goes along.

Sleeper Prospect: Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers

I ranked him 7th in my Venezuelan top 10 but I consider him a sleeper because not a lot of people talk about 16 y/o in the Dominican Summer league. He’s the younger bother of Oswaldo Arcia so baseball is in his blood. He walked 11.8% of his plate appearances but more importantly only struck out 7.9% of his plate appearances. When looking at the numbers for players in the DSL I look for low K rates rather than high walk rates because pitchers at this level are very wild. He also had a wRC+ of 142, showed at least gap power with 16 2B, 1 3B and 6 HR and speed stealing 13 bases in 17 tries. On defense he only committed 15 errors in 352 chances turning 37 double plays. He has an athletic frame with room for growth. He’ll probably make his US debut in the Arizona Rookie League where we’ll hear more buzz about him. With a strong spring training and extended spring training I could also see the Brewers aggressively place in the Pioneer Leagues a 17 y/o, in which case his buzz will be more hyped.

Sleeper Prospect: Christian Villanueva, 3B, Texas Rangers

Christian Villanueva, 3B, Texas Rangers – Perhaps overshadowed by the more exciting Profar; Villanueva put together a great full season debut, showing his developing power and improving bat. The Sally League was full of prospects this year so Villanueva didn’t get the pub he deserved, he showed improved plate discipline walking 7% of his PA while only striking out 16.3%, great for youngster developing his power.  His ISO went from .117 in rookie-ball a year ago to .186 in A-ball. Villanueva has the prototypical power stance at the plate, he has a strong frame with room to get stronger. At 3rd base Villanueva is considered a good, if not a great, defensive player with a strong arm and agility. He doesn’t have blazing speed but shows great instinct on the base path stealing 32 bases in 38 tries. Villanueva compares favorably with Bogaerts, Schoop and Cuthbert but I would rank him 4th behind does three. He profiles as a prototypical 3rd baseman with power and great defense. If he can keep improving at the plate in 2012, specially the walks aspect, he could sneak up on people.


I’m working on an “under rated” Latin Prospects list. The main point is to find prospects that could jump into the national top prospects lists with a solid showing next season. I’ve already mention some names in the lists I’ve done but I’m going deeper this time. So for you Fantasy Baseball enthusiasts this list may be of use.

Rest of South America & Caribbean Top 15

1)    Jurickson Profar, Ss, Texas Rangers

Profar has been on the radar for a long time. He represented his country at the Little League World Series where he showed the potential he’s now realizing. Some teams preferred him as pitcher prior to the 2009 signing period but he wanted to play the infield and the move has paid off. He’s now one of the top 10 prospects in all the minor leagues after he showed advanced hitting skills to go along with above-avg power for a middle infielder and great defense at SS. There is nothing he can’t do. He had a 12.6 BB% with a 12 K% over 516 plate appearances and 57 extra-base hits. By the way he’s only 18. The Rangers have a pretty good SS of their own in Elvis Andrus so there is no need to rush Profar but his bat is so advance that he’ll push them. He has a better offensive potential than Andrus so the Rangers will have a desicion to make.

2)    Julio Teheran, Rhp, Atlanta Braves

Teheran made a quick ascent through the minors after he signed with the Braves in 2007. The Yankees offered him more money but the Braves had a wildcard as one of their scouts was Teheran’s cousin. He has an athletic frame and throws hard, he showed an advanced change up when he was an amateur and he has refine it and is a plus pitch now. Some scouts question his delivery and whether he can stay healthy long term. He had some spot starts last season and should compete for a rotation spot from spring training. Strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.

3)    Manny Banuelos, Lhp, New York Yankees

The Mexican lefty has been one of the better finds for the Yankees in terms of pitching. He has had some health problems in the past but he put together a strong season while reaching AAA. He’s short 5’11” but he has a muscular build and pumps fast ball in the mid 90s. He has an advanced change up to go along with an avg curve ball. He’s one step behind the big leagues and will likely make his debut at some point in 2012. Needs to be more consistent with his command as he walked 4.9 hitters per 9 innings.


4)    Yonder Alonso, 1b, San Diego Padres

Alonso was recently traded to the Padres as part of the Matt Latos trade and that’s good news for him as he was blocked by former MVP Joey Votto. He has an advanced feel for hitting, displays power to all fields and knowledge of the strike zone. He has at least avg power for a 1B. Defensively Alonso is an avg 1B with good hands but lacks some lateral movement. The Reds tried to move him to the OF with not a lot of success. The Padres recently traded Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs so its Alonso’s job. He’s a strong candidate for NL ROY.

5)    Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego Padres

Grandal is a switch hitting C with avg power and sound hitting skills. He has a strong arm and shows good movement behind the plate and is generally thought to be a good game caller. He needs to get better at blocking balls as he had 19 passed balls across 3 levels in 2011. Catchers with his offensive skills are rare but Cincinnati had one of the better hitting catching prospects in Devin Mesoraco who was ultimately blocking him. Now with the Padres he should open the season at AAA with a clear view of making his big league debut at some point.

6)    Xander Bogaerts, Ss, Boston Red Sox

Bogaerts has made one of the quickest ascents from the Dominican Summer league than anybody in the Red Sox system before. He has an athletic frame that suggests future plus power, and has already displayed it in half a season at Low-A. He plays SS right now and doesn’t look bad at the position but with his athletic frame and youth he’ll get bigger and outgrow the position. He has the arm and hands to shift to 3rd base but he could also move to the OF with his athleticism. He had a .249 IsoP, impressive for an 18 y/o regular and walked 8% of his AB while striking out 24%. He’ll open the season in High-A as a 19 y/o.

7)    Cheslor Cuthbert, 3b, Kansas City Royals

Cuthbert has a great back story of perseverance. He hails from the Corn Islands off the coast of Nicaragua. His father had to organize his own little league team to help his son play the game. He has a big athletic body with above-avg power potential. He got off to a great start but faded late in the season more do to fatigue than anything else. He has a thick lower half and some think he will lose movement and shift to 1B but he made great strides at 3B last season showing much improve lateral movements. He’ll move up to High-A with a vision to put a strong full-season together.

8)    Randall Delgado, Rhp, Atlanta Braves

The Braves have a great scouting service across Latin America finding gem in less scouted places like Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia etc. Delgado is from Panama and already made a quick ascent to the big leagues, pitching under pressure when the Braves needed him. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball which he complements with a plus curve ball and an avg change up. He’ll battle for a rotation spot in sprig training but even if he doesn’t get it he’ll be first in line for a call up. Candidate for NL ROY.


9)    Jonathan Schoop, Ss/3b/2b, Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore has ramped up their presence in Latin America signing less heralded prospects but they may have found a gem in Schoop, who is a teammate of Xander Bogaerts in the Netherlands’ national team. He has started to fill out his lanky frame and the power is coming right behind. He has above avg power potential with a good idea at the plate who should profile well at 3B. The Orioles drafted Manny Machado and both are moving at relatively the same pace. Machado is better defensively so Schoop has deferred but long term he wasn’t gonna be a SS. He split time between 3rd/2nd/SS showing his versatility. He finished the season holding his own at High-A and could open the year at AA but realistically the O’s let him have some success in High-A before they challenge him with the Eastern League.


10)                 Luis Heredia, Rhp, Pittsburgh Pirates

What can you say about a 16 year old who held his own pitching for the first time in the states? Heredia has a large, strong frame already throwing in the mid 90s and showing inconsistent spin of his curve ball he also shows an advance change up especially for his age. The Pirates have been spending a lot of money in high ceiling arms and Heredia has as much ceiling as anyone behind only Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. He won’t turn 18 until August 2012 so the Pirates will take it cautiously with him. He’ll move up to the NY-Penn League.


11)                 Eddie Rosario, Of/2b, Minnesota Twins

Rosario is one of the latest finds by the Twins in Puerto Rico. He had a breakout 2011 in the Appy League along with teammate Miguel Sano. He’s one of the rare throws right, bats left players and he has some pop in his bat, he led the league in HR and 3B displaying his average power that plays up because he makes solid contact and has plus bat speed. He still needs to work at the plate, striking out 20% of his PA, but that’s ok for a youngster as he walked 9% of his PA. The Twins plan to transition him to  2B next year, if he can make the transition he could be an offensive minded 2B, if not he still profiles well as a CF.


12)                  Leonys Martin, Cf, Texas Rangers

The Cuban defector, Martin, landed a $15 Million big league contract from the Rangers. He performed well in his debut, showing his good eye at the plate and his ability to put the bat on the ball in AA but struggled upon his promotion to AAA, showing only glimpses of his abilities. He stands out for his speed and defense in Cf. He has gap power but is much more effective trying to get on base and cause havoc. He needs to work on stealing bases more efficiently as he was caught 11 times in 30 tries. He could compete for a roster spot in spring training but is more likely heading for AAA for more seasoning.


13)                  Jose Iglesias, Ss, Boston Red Sox

Iglesias defected Cuba as an 18 y/o as part of a new trend of young players leaving the Island. The Red Sox under former GM Theo Epstein placed a lot of value on defense so he signed Iglesias to a big league contract. Iglesias stands out because of his glove work as he is considered the best defensive SS in all the minor leagues maybe even all of baseball, it’s that good. At the plate is where Iglesias needs to start showing improvement. He had a dreadful 2011 with a .235/.285/.269 stat line at AAA. Granted he was only 21 y/o, playing in one of the worst hitting environments in all the minor leagues and was battling injuries so you could cut him some slack but he needs to show a little bit more to make his glove as valuable as it is. Marco Scutaro is in the last year of his deal so Iglesias is the heir apparent. The Red Sox have been looking for a long term answer at SS since Nomar Garciaparra so Iglesias will get his chance despite his bat not being ready.


14)                  Adeiny Hechavarria, Ss, Toronto Blue Jays

Hechavarria played along side Iglesias for the Cuban Jr National team and Iglesias deferred to him at SS so you know that he has a good glove. They are comparable prospects in many aspects of their games. Hechavarria has a great glove maybe not as good as Iglesias but it’s up there. He has an athletic, wiry frame and projects to hit for more power than Iglesias. Like Iglesias he needs to get better at the plate he struggled  in AA and needs to be less aggressive. He finished the year with a strong cameo in the hitters friendly Pacific Coast League and should open 2012 there which could help him start unlocking his potential at the plate. Yunel Escobar had a strong season with the Blue Jays so they can let Hechavarria have a full season at AAA. If his bat develops enough to warrant a mid season promotion then Yunel could move over to 2B.


15)                 Christian Bethancourt, C, Atlanta Braves

Atlanta is one of the teams that most heavily scouts Central American and have found good prospects at great prices. Bethancourt is their latest find. He played 2010 as an 18 y/o catcher in Low A, struggling but showing glimpses his potential. He repeated the level in 2011 and showed improved performance at the plate, especially driving the ball. He gets too aggressive at the plate and needs to tone down his approach as he makes a lot of contact so he swings at everything and anything. The Braves challenged him with a mid-season promotion to High-A and while he didn’t set the world on fire he still showed the same underling theme. Behind the plate he has a strong arm and threw out 38% of would be base-stealer. He projects as a good defensive catcher with above avg power and limited on-base abilities. He had a strong cameo in the Arizona Fall League, showing his power and  a .306/.324/.556 stat line. He should open the season back in High-A with the view of unlocking some of his power and toning down his approach.


Top 10 Venezuelan Prospects

Top 10 Venezuelan Prospects

1)    Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees

Montero signed in 2006 as one of the best Latin prospects available. He stood out because of his power and frame but had his detractors because people questioned whether he could remain a catcher long term but the Yankees signed him because of his bat and it has developed into one of the best in all the minor leagues. Montero has power to all fields and an advanced approach at the plate. He resembles Miguel Cabrera at the plate and has the ceiling to be that type of hitter. Defensively he’s not a catcher long term but he could catch some days to give guys rest he’s more of a 1B/DH but the bat is his calling card. He ended the year with a very strong cameo at the big league level and should open the season as a rotational DH/C/1B for the Yankees but by the end of the year I expect him to be a fixture in the aging Yankee line up.

2)    Martin Perez, Lhp, Texas Rangers

The Rangers are one of the most aggressive teams in Latin America spending more money in Latin America than the draft last year. Perez has been in the prospect radar since he signed. He debuted as a 17 y/o in the Northwest League, largely a college league, and he dominated. Then as an 18 y/o he reached AA and ranked as one of the best pitching prospects in the minors but he has since been slowed down by wildness and poor command of his pitches. He still has the low-to-mid 90s fastball, curve ball and above avg change that made him a household name and made progress with his command and control last year. He’s still the top pitching prospect in the organization. He should open 2012 in AAA with a mid season promotion once the Rangers need him.

3)    Jose Campos, Rhp, Seattle Mariners

Campos is a hard throwing righty with a projectable frame. He also stands out because he pounds the strike-zone with his fastball, only walking 13 last-season, something rare for youngster that gets his fast ball to the upper 90s. His secondary stuff is inconsistent but they show at least avg potential but with time he can refine his pitches. The Mariners have had success developing pitchers from Latin America and Campos projects to be one of the better ones. He’ll make his full season debut and should start to move faster.

4)    Oswaldo Arcia, Of, Minnesota Twins

Arcia punched his ticket into the prospect world with a mashing 2010 season. He had 42 XBH out of his 97 hits and hit .375. Last season he got off to a great start in 20 Midwest League games, slamming 14 XBH out of his 25 hits, before missing two moths with elbow surgery. The Twins showed uncharacteristic aggressiveness and promoted him to the Florida State League post injury where he slowed down but still held his own. As the numbers suggest he has above avg power with sweet left handed stroke that scouts love. He’s a bit short in stature but is athletic and well built. He displays a line drive stroke to all fields but he’s aggressiveness will need to be worked on. He walked only 18 times in 81 games last season but already started to cut down on his strike outs. He profiles as a slugging corner OF depending on how his arm gets back he could man RF. He’ll open the season in the FSL again with a mid-season promotion possible.

5)    Nestor Molina, Rhp, Chicago White Sox

Molina was flying under the radar after transitioning from infielder to pitcher in Blue Jays system until this year when he moved into the rotation and performed very well. There are question if he’ll be able to be a starter going forward. He was traded to the White Sox as the main piece for big league closer Sergio Santos, himself an infielder-to-pitcher project. He has a relatively short repertoire but has great command of his fastball and throws strikes. He has a low 90s fastball that plays up with his delivery and command which help him rack up grounders. His secondary pitches are a work-in-progress but showed they could be at least avg. He finished the year in AA and will probably open the year back in AA where he’ll need to show progress with his secondary pitches.

6)    Francisco Martinez, 3b, Seattle Mariners

The Tigers are quite aggressive with their prospects and Martinez has been rushed but at all his stops he has held his own. The Tigers were looking for rotation help last season and found a match with Seattle’s Doug Fister and Martinez went to the Mariners as part of the deal. Martinez has 4 strong tools, plus power potential, plus speed, above avg arm strength and soft hands at 3rd. He started showing his power more in games last season, driving the ball with more authority. He needs to get better at all aspects of his game as he has the plus speed to steal bases but needs to be more efficient. He can get wild at times on his throws across the diamond. The Mariners took a gamble on him and he has a high ceiling, he’ll open the year back in AA where he’ll need to start turn his tools into skills.

7)    Orlando Arcia, Ss, Milwaukee Brewers

I have to admit this is quite an aggressive ranking for a 16 Y/O who hasn’t played above the Dominican Summer League but I like what the numbers are telling us so far. He’s the bother of Oswaldo Arcia so baseball is in his blood. He only struck out 20 times in 64 games or 254 plate appearances, a number much more reliable than BB at this point since pitcher in the DSL are so wild but for the record he walked 30 times. Had a wRC+ of 142, showed at least gap power with 16 2B, 1 3B and 6 HR and speed stealing 13 bases in 17 tries, on defense he only committed 15 errors in 352 chances turning 37 double plays. He has an athletic frame with room for growth. Did I mention this was his age 16 season? He’ll probably make his US debut in the Arizona Rookie League where we’ll hear more buzz about him. I’m taking a risk here ranking him over some of the other guys but guys with his skill set usually go mainstream pretty quickly after they make their US debuts.

8)    Rougned Odor, 2b/Ss, Texas Rangers

Aside from the awesome name (I can already see announcers saying “ugh that Odor” when he makes a great defensive play) Odor stands out for his skills at the plate but more with his ability with the glove. He has soft, quick hands, great range and an strong arm. He makes the double play with ease. He projects as table setter with on-base skills and gap power. He’ll make his full season debut and should have a strong full season.

9)    Elvis Araujo, Lhp, Cleveland Indians

Araujo is a survivor of Tommy John surgery and the lefty was back on the mound after a two year layoff rehabbing. He throws in the upper 90s but usually sits in the low 90s. His secondary pitches are a work-in-progress but show promise to being at least avg pitches. He has an athletic frame with room for growth so he eventually could pitch regularly in the upper 90s. He should make his full season debut and could make the jump into the prospect world.

10)                        Adonys Cardona, Rhp, Toronto Blue Jays

Cardona received one of the highest bonuses ever for an amateur pitcher. He has an athletic frame and gets his fastball up to the mid 90s with room and projection for more. He has a very good change up which has fading action and keeps hitters off balance. He’ll need to tighten up his curve ball and polish his delivery a bit. The Blue Jays take it easy with their young pitchers having success recently with other hard throwing young pitcher. He’ll open in extended spring training then head to the Appy League and work with Pitching Coach Antonio Caceres.