Starting with the Dominican Dodgers, I will be recapping the season for each of the Dodgers minor league affiliates. 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, I would guess that at least 98% of the players never make it up the big leagues, and probably only about 15% even make it to a US based league. That being said, I still enjoy following the players on the Dominican Dodgers because you never know when you are looking at the next Rubby De La Rosa. A few players stood out on this year's team, and we'll talk about them at length below.
Record: 40 - 29
Season Result: Tied for 2nd place in their division, 5.5 games out of 1st place
Season Recap: The Dodgers started off their season slow, losing 9 of their first 11 games, but then really turned things around over the final 2 months of the season. The team put together a 6 game winning streak in July, and then only lost 5 games in the entire month of August. Their late run was not strong enough to propel the Dodgers to the playoffs as they finished tied for 2nd place. Weather also played a major role in the Dodgers season as 13 games were postponed or canceled due to rain.
Statistically, the Dodgers were like most teams in the DSL in that they had great pitching numbers, yet had trouble at the dish. That being said, the Dodgers were pretty well rounded compared to the other teams in the league as their team batting average of .248 ranked 7th in the league (out of 33 teams) and their team ERA of 3.09 ranked 6th. The team WHIP of 1.24 was even better as it ranked 5th, but their strikeout numbers weren't as impressive as their 483 K's was good for just 17th in the league. Getting back to the offense, the Dodgers has just 15 homers (ranked 18th), and their OPS wasn't as impressive as their team average since their 662 OPS also ranks 18th in the DSL.
|Dominican Summer League Hitters|
|Dominican Summer League Pitchers|
|Games Started||Jackson Mateo||tied 1st||15|
|Hit Batters||Jackson Mateo||tied 5th||11|
|WHIP||Jackson Mateo||tied 10th||0.93|
|WHIP||Victor Araujo||tied 10th||0.93|
Offensive MVP: Greg Pena led the Dominican Dodgers in almost every significant offensive category, and therefore was the obvious choice for offensive MVP award. His 31 RBI’s were tops on the team, and he ranked 1st in average (.303), OB% (.389), SLG (.441), and OPS (.830) among players with at least 75 at bats. He also showed off his speed with 23 stolen bases and 5 triples while demonstrating a good eye at the plate. The 19 year old switch hitter proved to be a valuable defensive player as well as he played all 3 outfield positions and made just 2 errors all year while recording a team-high 4 outfield assists.
Best Offensive Prospect: Stat wise Arce Rodriguez’s season was just a tick below Greg Pena, but on paper A-Rod appears to be the better prospect mostly because of his age as he is a full year younger than the offensive MVP. 2011 was Arce's second season in the DSL, and he showed significant improved over last year while playing the entire season as an 18 year old. He led the team in home runs with 4, and his .288 average was second behind only Pena. He appears to be limited defensively as he was used mostly in left field and 1st base, but hopefully he'll hit enough as he moves up the ladder to justify his positions. Given his success in 2011 and the fact that he's already spent 2 seasons in the DSL, Rodriguez will probably be promoted to the Arizona Rookie League next year as 19 year old.
Pitching MVP: Jackson Mateo earned the Pitching MVP award by started a team high 15 games and posting fabulous stats. His 1.62 ERA ranked 2nd out of all Dodger minor leaguers in 2011, and his 0.93 WHIP was the best in the entire system. He also was among the DSL League Leaders in those two categories. The only thing Jackson didn't do well in 2011 was strike out batters (6.49 K/9), but that didn't seem to matter as he found other means to get the outs he needed throughout the season. 2011 was actually Mateo's second great season in the DSL (he had a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings in 2010), so I'm pretty sure the 19 year old will be playing in the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.
Best Pitching Prospect: It's quite difficult to determine the best pitching prospect on this team without scouting reports, but I need to pick someone so I'm going with 17 year old Miguel Sulbaran. Miguel isn't going to intimidate you with his size (5'10", 165 lbs), but this lefty put up outstanding stats despite being one of the youngest players in the league. He finished the season with a 2.81 ERA in 57.2 innings, and his WHIP was just 0.95. He also had a solid strike out rate of 8.18 K/9, and opposing batters hit just .179 against him. The highlight of his season was on August 3rd when he threw 6 no-hit innings and had 8 punchouts.
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Other Notable Players and Prospects: Before I get into the position by position break down, I wanted to highlight a few more players on the team who either had a great season and/or could have the potential to one day turn into a legitimate Dodger prospect. This way, the more notable players don't get lost in all the detail below.
Jonathan Martinez - RHP - At 17 years and 3 months old Martinez is currently the youngest player in the Dodgers minor league system, yet he put up great numbers for the Dominican Dodgers and was almost my pick for the team's best pitching prospect. In 32.1 frames J-Mart had a 1.67 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, a 2.98 FIP, and struck out almost a batter per inning. He's 6'1" and 170 lbs and will be one of the key players to watch in the DSL next season.
Victor Araujo - RHP - Araujo might not be much of his prospect because of his age (almost 22), but he put together an outstanding season for the Dodgers with 60 IP and a 1.80 ERA. He also had a 0.93 WHIP, led the team with a 2.87 FIP, and was one of the few players on the roster to strike out more than a batter per inning (9.15 K/9).
Jose Agusto Diaz - RHP - I didn't even notice Diaz's solid season until it was over, but it's worth noting here as he had a ERA of just 0.67 over 27 innings. He's another guy who is a little old for the league at 20 and a half, but even still he had a great year.
Josmar Cordero - C/1B - Cordero didn't have eye popping stats, but had a decent season considering the league he was playing in. He played the entire season as a 19 year old, and his .779 OPS ranked 3rd on the team for qualifying players. He also had 2 homers and struck out in just 12.8% of his plate appearances.
Faustino Oguisten - 2B/SS - The 20 year old Oguisten only played half the year with the Dominican Dodgers because he was promoted mid-season to the Arizona Rookie League. While in the DSL, Faustino had a .333 average in 25 games, 9 SB's, and a solid .822 OPS. He also walked as much as he struck out.
Position by Position Breakdown (player's age in parenthesis):
Catcher: After being the team's main 1st baseman in 2010, Webster Rivas (21) spent most of his time behind the plate in 2011 and had a decent season with a .751 OPS and a pair of homers. He also walked almost as much as he struck out, and threw out 49% of would be base-stealers. Josemar Corder (20) spent a good amount of time as the backstop and was discussed above, while Jonathan Linares (18) is being mentioned despite playing just 7 games because of his age and the fact that he had a .300 average and 4 extra base hits in his limited playing time.
1st Base: Five different guys played at least 10 games at 1st base, but 3 of them have already been mentioned above (Josmar Cordero (20), Arce Rodriguez (18), and Webster Rivas (21)). The other two are Henry Heredia (20) and Jeffry Rojas (19), but both had terrible seasons at the plate in their professional debuts and are not worth discussing.
2nd Base: The switch hitting Vladimir Martinez (19) was the primary 2nd baseman for the Dodgers, and despite hitting just .222 he had a somewhat memorable season because he walked and struck out in 11.7% of his plate appearances. Melvin Santana (20) was the team's other 2nd baseman and struggled defensively with a .906 fielding %, but led the team with 11 doubles despite a .245 batting average. He also ranked 2nd on the team with 10 stolen bases.
Shortstop: Leo Rodriguez (19) manned shortstop for most the season and had very similar stats as 2010 despite being a year older and wiser. The only good news is that he is another player who walked almost as much as he struck out. The aforementioned Faustino Oguisten (20) also played some shortstop before his promotion.
3rd Base: 2011 was Jorky Infante's (20) 3rd season in the DSL, but he still struggled at the plate as the team's main 3rd baseman. Jorky hit just .210 with a .567 OPS which just isn't going to get it done. Jeffry Rojas (19), who also played some 1st base, was the secondary 3rd baseman and as mentioned above had a mediocre season at the plate with a .235 average and a .574 OPS.
Outfield: The outfield was the Dodgers' strong point from an offensive perspective as both the offensive MVP and the best offensive prospect were outfielders. Greg Pena (19) played mostly right field, but also spent a significant amount of time in both center and left to prove his versatility. As mentioned above he led the team in almost all offensive categories, while making just 2 errors and recording 4 outfield assists. Arce Rodriguez (18) was the main left fielder for the Dodgers, and Abinaer Soriano (20) played almost exclusively in center. Soriano did a decent job on defense, but he hit just .216 and had a .600 OPS while striking out in 28.2% of his plate appearances.
Starting Pitching: Starters Victor Araujo (21), Jackson Mateo (19), and Miguel Sulbaran (17) were the main contributors to the Dodgers rotation, and each of these players were mentioned above. Giordanny Chavez (20) was another Dodger starter, but he regressed significantly in his 3rd DSL season. After posting a 1.85 ERA in 2010, Chavez doubled his earned run average in 2011 and also had a very poor strike out rate as his K/9 was just 5.53. Abdiel Velasquez (18) also increased his ERA significantly from 2010, but he is still so young that I think he should still be considered a decent Dodger prospect. The 6'3" Velasquez had a 4.05 ERA in 2011, but he has a solid pitching frame and will hopefully improve in 2012. Samuel Taveras (22) rounds out the Dodgers rotation, and while he had unbelievable stats in 2011 and has a great pitching frame at 6'5", he was mostly ignored because of his age. His 2.02 ERA and 0.88 WHIP were great, but his K rate was terrible (5.33 K/9) and again he is much to old to ever have an impact in the Dodgers minor league system.
Relief Pitching: 10 different different pitchers had saves for the Dodgers in 2010, so as you can imagine the Dodger relief core was pretty wide spread. Jonathan Martinez (17) was the best bullpen arm for the Dodgers and he had a 1.16 ERA as a reliever with a .160 batting average against. Aris Angeles (22) is quite a bit older but was also very good with a 2.73 ERA in 29.2 innings, while 17 year old Edinson Bock posted a 3.68 ERA and a 11.0 K/9 despite throwing just 7.1 frames. Converted outfielder Ricardo De La Rosa (20) is not related to Rubby, but he did have a solid year in his first season as a pitcher. The 6'3" Moises Tamarez (19) appeared in just 8 games in 2011 and threw just 18 frames, but I have a feeling he'll be in Arizona in 2012 as he's spent 3 seasons in the DSL and has a 2.00 ERA in 2011.