2012 Dominican Dodgers minor league season in review

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The 2012 Dominican Dodgers finished with a winning record in the DSL and had few players who will hopefully turn into legitimate prospects

It's that time again. Starting with the Dominican Dodgers, I will be recapping the season for each of the Dodgers minor league affiliates. As I've mentioned in years past, the DSL team is always difficult to follow because there are so many players on the roster, and there isn't much to go off of besides stats, a player's age, and their physical specs. In addition, the chances of a DSL players making it up the big leagues are very slim, and it's even pretty rare that a DSL player even make it to a US based league. That being said it seemed like more international players than ever made it up to the Rookie Leagues in 2012, and with the increase in international spending with the new ownership, that trend should continue for years to come.

Record: 38 -32

Season Result: 3rd place in their division, 12 games out of 1st place

Season Recap: The Dominican Dodgers had a fast start out of the gate, going 16 - 9 in the first month of their season (June) and winning 9 of 10 games from June 18 - 28, but in the months of July and August they basically played .500 ball. Their low point in the season came at the end of July when their fortunes reversed and they lost 9 of 10 games, including 6 straight. After that rough stretch basically put them out of playoff contention as only a few teams make the post season in the 35 team league.

Statistically, the Dodgers were actually one of the best hitting teams in the DSL as the club ranked 2nd in the league with a .280 batting average, although their 16 homers only ranked in the middle of the pack. Even with the lack of power the team OPS of .720 was 3rd best in the circuit. In terms of team pitching, the Dodgers were pretty average all around. Their 3.44 staff ERA was right in the middle at 17th in the league, and their 1.30 WHIP was a tick better at 13th. Finally, the club's K/9 of 6.9 was relatively unimpressive and placed them in the bottom third of the league.

Offensive MVP: Josmar Cordero - This choice was pretty obvious as he was by far the most talked about player on the Dominican Dodgers roster. Cordero not only led the Dodgers in virtually every offensive category, but his name was also scattered all over the overall DSL leader board, including ranking 3rd in average (.362) and 4th in OPS (.952). In addition, he spent a decent about of time as the catcher of this team and held his own defensively.

Best Offensive Prospect: Josmar Cordero - See above. Sure he was a little old for the league as he just turned 21, but at the end of the day his bat seemed to be head and shoulders above the rest of the team which makes him the best offensive prospect on this club. One thing I didn't already mention was his amazingly low strikeout rate as he K'ed in just 7.8% of his plate appearances. Add in the fact that he has the ability to play catcher and that make him even more valuable. He will surely be in Arizona next spring.

Pitching MVP: Jose Agusto Diaz - This name may come as a bit of a surprise as he didn't get much press time in my daily minor league recaps, but his overall numbers speak for themselves. His 1.49 ERA ranked 9th in the DSL, and his WHIP of 0.83 was 3rd best in the league. His K/9 wasn't overwhelming at 7.35, but his strikeout to walk ratio of 9.83 was outstanding as he issued just 6 free passes all year. He pitched two complete games, and even collected a pair of saves. At the end of the day his success shouldn't come as a total surprise as he has a 0.67 ERA in his professional debut last year in the DSL (over 27 frames), and also because he played the entire season as a 21 year old which is a little old for the league.

Best Pitching Prospect: Wascar Teodo - This decision was tough since I have so little information on these guys, but I'm going with Teodo due to his size, youth, and great stats. The 6'4" right hander just turned 18 at the end of June, yet was very impressive in his professional debut as he posted a 1.67 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP over 54 strong innings. His strikeout to walk ratio could use some work, but I'm not going to nitpick something like that at this stage in his career. Given that the Dodgers have been aggressive with young pitchers who have had success in the DSL as of late (see Miguel Sulbaran and Jonathan Martinez), there is a good chance that Teodo will be in Arizona in 2013.

Other Notable Players and Prospects:

Melvin Santana - 2B - Everybody's favorite Melvin rebounded nicely from a lackluster professional debut in 2011 with an overall solid season, hitting .315 and ranking 2nd on the team with his 3 homers and .850 OPS. The 21 year isn't really much of a prospect given that he seems to be limited to 2nd base, but a promotion to Arizona in 2013 isn't out of the question.

Geison Nunez - CF - Nunez is worth mentioning since he hit .333 for the Dodgers and provided solid defense in center field in his professional debut, but other than that his stats weren't really very noteworthy. He's another guy who is already 21 years old so he'll either get promoted in 2013 or be forgotten forever.

Johnathan Linares - C - Linares was the "other" intriguing catcher for this club as he also hit over .300 yet is more than a year and a half younger than Cordero. Johnathan's .817 OPS was also impressive as was the fact that he walked almost as much as he struck out, which was only about 10% of the time. In addition, Linares made just one error all season long and threw out 58% of would be base stealers.

Wander Beras - LHP - Wander aka "Leonel" returned to the DSL after a year hiatus, gaining a couple of years in age the process. Now listed at 24 Beras is probably too old to ever turn into anything, but he still helped out the Dodgers quite a bit and actually led the entire Dominican Summer League in strikeouts.

Jhosue Bermudez - LHP - Bermudez started off his professional career by allowing just 3 hits over his first 15 innings, and while he eventually came back down to earth and had constantly had trouble finding the plate, he became one of the rare players to earn a mid season promotion to Arizona.

Bryan Munoz - RHP - Munoz was the first of several significant international signees for the Dodgers in 2012 when he inked a $300K deal back in March. He wasn't allowed to pitch until his 17th birthday came in July, and while he only pitched 10 innings he was quite impressive as he allowed just 2 runs and struck out 12.

Position by Position Breakdown (player's age in parenthesis):

Catcher: As I already mentioned the Dominican Dodgers had a talented pair of backstops in 2012 as both Josmar Cordero (21) and Johnathan Linares (19.5) had impressive seasons both behind and at the dish. They both hit over .300 and had impressive strikeout to walk ratios. Martin Rosario (20.75) was the only other player to get a significant amount of playing time behind the plate, but he was an offensive bust with his .218 average and .517 OPS.

1st Base: When Cordero and Linares weren't catching, they were playing 1st base as one of these two guys made almost every start at 1st. Jeffry Rojas (20), the team's primary 3rd baseman, was the only other player to get double digit starts at the position and he only spent 10 games at 1st.

2nd Base: Melvin Santana (21) played virtually every day at 2nd base as nobody else had more than 8 appearances at the position. I talked about his impressive offensive season above, but what I didn't mention was that he also stole 13 bases. On the defensive side of the ball he could probably use a little work as he made 16 errors which led to a .935 fielding %.

Shortstop: Jose Luis Javier(19.75) was the Dodgers main shortstop in 2012, and he showed a little bit of progress in his second pro season. His overall offense stats (.242 average and .646 OPS) weren't all that exciting however, and neither was his defense as he posted a .908 fielding %. Javier did show some versatility, however, as he also played a bit of center field for the team. Youngster Rafael Gomez (17.75) was the secondary shortstop and while he only hit .175 and had an ugly .860 fielding %, he shows some promise as the switch hitter walked in a team high 18.5% of his plate appearances.

3rd Base: The hot corner was split pretty evenly between three players in 2012, but I consider Jeffry Rojas (20) the team's 3rd baseman despite the fact that he accumulated just 113 at bats. During that time Rojas very well for himself as the switch hitter batted .327, posted a .803 OPS, and amazingly struck out just 4.6% of the time. Claudio Tejada (19.75) played all over the field for the Dodgers, including 24 games at 3rd. His defense was horrendous, however, as his .795 fielding % was by far the worst on the team. He also had a rough time at the dish with a .226 average. Finally Yensys Capellan (19) spent a decent amount of time at the hot corner, and the rest of his time in the lineup was as the team's DH. Capellan hit a respectable .276 in his professional debut, and at 6'2" he has a solid frame for a teenager.

Outfield: As you can probably guess the Dodgers had quite a few players spend time in the outfield in 2012, so I'll only focus on the most significant ones. The aforementioned Geison Nunez (21.75) was one of the oldest position players on the team, but he anchored the outfield as he played almost every day in center. His bat also gave the team a boost as he batted .333 for the season. Jesus Perez (19.25) didn't help the club much with his bat as he hit just .224 for the year, but he did provide the team with versatility as he played led the team in appearances in both left and right field. Jorky Infante (21.5) actually spent time at all 3 outfield positions, although right field was his primary position. Infante also made some progress at the plate in his 4th professional season as he hit a career high .275.

Starting Pitchers: Again I'll be brief with my pitching recaps as I obviously can't discuss all 24 hurlers that took the mound for the Dodgers in 2012. 13 different pitchers started games, but only 4 got the call more than 6 times. Wander Beras (24.25) led the club with 12 starts, and he made the most of them as he led the entire league with 95 strikeouts. He also won 5 games and posted a great FIP of 2.58. I discussed Jose Agusto Diaz (21.75) at length above, and I'll just reiterate the fact that he ranked 3rd in the league in WHIP and had a 9.83 K/BB ratio. I also talked about Jhosue Bermudez (19.5) above, and he was able to make 9 starts for the Dominican Dodgers before heading to Arizona. His walk rate was quite high, but he was able to hold his ERA in check at 3.28. Right hander Edison Bock (18.5) ranked 4th on the team in starts with 7, and while he had a pretty rough season with a 5.06 ERA, his age needs to be taken into account.

Relief Pitchers: Several pitchers were both starters and relievers in 2012, but the ones not mentioned above I'll consider bullpen arms. I'll start with the team's closer in Ricardo De La Rosa (21.5). In his second professional season De La Rosa nailed down 9 saves, but he also accumulated 6 losses and posted a 5.56 ERA. He managed to keep his FIP at 2.21, however, so he was probably a bit unlucky. Wascar Teodo (18.25), my top pitching prospect on the team, was one of the "relievers" who also made a decent number of starts, but at the end of the day he did a fine job in both roles as opposing batters hit just .183 against him. He also led the team in holds. Mario Querales (17.25) in an intriguing player because of his age, but after a strong start to his season he tired in the later months and ended the year with a 5.16 ERA. He also is one of the rare pitchers who walked more batters than he struck out. Willy Canelo (20.25) was a lefty out of the bullpen and he was great with a 2.04 ERA. Like most young pitchers, however, he still needs to improve his walk rate. Finally Abdiel Velasquez (19.5) continued to have success in his 3rd season in the DSL, and it finally paid off for him as the Dodgers took notice of his 2.45 ERA and his solid 6'3" and promoted him to Arizona a the very end of last season.

League Leaders:

Dominican Summer League Hitters
Category Player Rank Amount
Runs Melvin Santana 5th 51
Runs Josmar Cordero 6th 50
Hits Josmar Cordero 3rd 83
Doubles Josmar Cordero Tied 5th 19
Home Runs Josmar Cordero Tied 8th 6
RBI's Josmar Cordero Tied 4th 47
Total Bases Josmar Cordero 5th 122
SLG % Josmar Cordero 5th 0.533
Average Josmar Cordero 4th 0.362
OPS Josmar Cordero 5th 0.952
Dominican Summer League Pitchers
Category Player Rank Amount
ERA Jose Agusto Diaz 9th 1.49
Complete Games Jose Agusto Diaz Tied 1st 2
Shutouts Jose Agusto Diaz Tied 1st 1
Saves Ricardo De La Rosa Tied 8th 9
Innings Pitched Wander Beras 7th 77.2
Strikeouts Wander Beras 1st 95
WHIP Jose Agusto Diaz Tied 3rd 0.83
Holds Wascar Teodo Tied 7th 4
Games Finished Ricardo De La Rosa Tied 6th 21
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