2012 – New International Players In Spring Training

This post will provide a brief summary about the new names seen on the minor league work groups this spring.  There are more than 20 players on the minor league spring training rosters that are new signings or who played last year in one of the two Latin American complex leagues (the DSL and VSL).

The big news internationally for the Phillies this past year was the signing of OF Carlos Tocci for a reported bonus of $759,000.  This bonus is one of the largest ever given by the Phillies to an International player, though the team’s largest bonuses in the past have a mixed record of success.  The highest bonuses have generally been spent on players that did not work out (Seung Lee, Il Kim, Carlos Rodriguez), though the team has had some success with mid-level bonuses to players like Carlos Carrasco and new 2B Freddy Galvis.  By all accounts Tocci is a highly skilled CF with plus tools but with major questions about how much power he might eventually add.  Tocci is the big name in spring training, however, and it will be interesting to see where the team places him.  Galvis was in a similar situation and he was given an aggressive placement in the NY-Penn league when he was 17.  Tocci will not even turn 17 till later in the Summer, however, so a GCL destination is the most likely.

There are several other high dollar bonus players in camp who will also likely make their debut at GCL.  Jiandido Tromp is an IF/OF signed out of Curacao for a reported 6 figure bonus.  At 5’11″ 160, he is built along the lines of Roman Quinn.  Scouting reports are incomplete, though supposedly he has a little more power potential than Quinn though perhaps a little less speed.  He has been playing OF for the most part in spring training.  Two other pitchers with high bonuses from past years are worth mentioning.  Miguel Nunez has resurfaced after limited appearances 2 years ago.  He is a 6’6″ RHP signed 2 years ago for $220K.  In addition, Franklyn Vargas is a 6’4″ LHP signed last year for $330K.  Even though Nunez and Vargas have pitched little so far, they are probably among the top names to follow in the upcoming season whether at DSL or GCL.

The rest of this post will provide a brief listing and notes on the other new players in camp. Some of these players will end up at GCL, though some may also go back to the DSL or the VSL to get regular playing time.  I will also throw in a quick prospect ranking of players from last year’s DSL and VSL teams that I never got to put in a post on last winter.

Hitters

Francisco Silva – Venezuelan SS turns 21 in May.  Was one of the two Venezuelan players that had their bonus voided when they turned out to be older than anticipated.  Hit only .167 last year in limited time in the VSL.

Jairo Cardozo – 18 year old Colombian SS/2B who held his own in the DSL last year.  Hit .244 with a .583 OPS and 8 SB at age 17.

Willians Astudillo – top hitter in the VSL will play this year at age 20.  Hit .361 in his 3rd season in the VSL with 12 XBH, 11 SB, and an amazing 15/2 BB/K ratio.  He has been moved around defensively mainly at 3B and C.  He is listed as a C on the minor league work groups this year.

Angelo Mora – another shortstop from the DSL.  Mora hit .246 with a .615 OPS and 7 SB.  He will be 19 this season.

Delvi Francisco – An OF who was perhaps the best offensive prospect on the DSL team last year.  Francisco hit .307 with a .764 OPS, garnering 21 BB and stealing 12 bases.  Francisco was the team’s primary RF and will be 20 this season.

Diego Gonzalez – Played CF last year in the DSL and hit .345 with a .774 OPS and 23 SB.  He has been playing a lot in the early minor league games for the extended spring team.  He is a year older than Francisco at age 21, however, and will need to advance quickly to be considered a good prospect.

Yan Olmo – The last member of the DSL OF also advances.  Olmo is a big kid at 6’3″ and 200 pounds.  He hit .277 with a .732 OPS and 19 SB playing LF.  He will also be 21 this season.

Herlis Rodriguez – The top young offensive prospect on the VSL team, H-Rod will be only 18 this season.  He hit .289 with a .752 OPS last year displaying some flashes of power not often seen from a 17-year-old (2 HR, 10 XBH).

Pitchers

Ulises Joaquin – Joaquin is a 5’11″ 165 RHP from last year’s DSL team.  He went 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA last year (64.2 IP, 46 H, 21 BB, 44 K).  He will only be 19 this season but may be more advanced than other prospects as he was still pitching in group 4 instead of the short season group 5.

Yari Sosa – RHP with 3 seasons in the DSL.  Will be 21 this year.  Went 9-1 with a 1.73 ERA (83.1 IP, 55 H, 16 BB, 59 K).  The top starter on last year’s DSL team though his 3 seasons there mean he is probably not a top prospect or extremely hard thrower.

Enrizon Bautista – older pitcher from the DSL (22 this year) that was very good in limited action (1-0, 1.57, 4 SV, 28.2 IP, 20 H, 6 BB, 33 K).  Good projection at 6’4″ and 180, though old for the league.

Ranfi Casimiro – My pick (based on nothing but educated guesses) as the top pitching prospect on last year’s DSL team.  Stands 6’8″ and a very skinny 200 pounds.  Still 19 years old but held his own last year (2-2, 3.21 ERA, 28 IP, 16 H, 17 BB, 26 K).  May be a project but the height and youth are intriguing.

Manaure Martinez – 20 year old VSL pitcher.  6″1″, 155. RHP.  Went 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA with solid peripherals (28 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 26 K).

Luis Morales – Tall 6’4″ VSL pitcher who had 2.2 IP in GCL before getting sent down to the VSL.  Mixed results there (0-3, 4.11 ERA) but the projection and early time at GCL show the Phillies like him.

Julio Reyes – Projectible 21-year-old (6’3″, 200) who pitched well in the DSL last year (4-4, 3.29, 54.2 IP, 49 H. 31 BB, 47 K).  A little old for the league.

Keivi Rojas – The top young pitcher on the VSL team last year.  Will pitch at 19 this year (6’0″, 170).  Went 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA (62.1 IP, 75 H, 26 BB, 44 K).

Felix Santos – Smallish RHP from the DSL.  Went 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA (29 IP, 22 K, 8 BB, 22 K).  Will pitch at 21 this year.

Rivar Angulo – Projectible LHP stands 6’3″, 185 and will pitch at 20 this year.  Saw only limited action last year (0-1, 7.94 ERA, 11.1 IP, 7 H, 19 BB, 10 K).  Seems to be very raw, but he is young, tall, and left handed.

Yoel Mecias – A late addition to the spring training roster, Mecias is another new LHP.  He is from Venezuela and pitched a little this winter in the winter minor league (Liga Paralela).  He went 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA (32 IP, 30 H, 17 BB, 14 K).

Quick top prospect lists for the DSL and VSL (not all players were in spring training)

DSL Hitters

1. Delvi Francisco, 2. Jairo Cardozo, 3. Angelo Mora, 4. Diego Gonzalez, 5. Yan Olmo

DSL Pitchers

1. Ranfi Casimiro, 2. Francibel Alejo, 3. Ulises Joaquin, 4. Yari Sosa, 5. Julio Reyes

VSL Hitters

1. Herlis Rodriguez, 2. Jair Morales, 3. Francisco Herrera, 4. Willians Astudillo, 5. Wilson Garcia

VSL Pitchers

1. Keivi Rojas, 2. Luis Morales, 3. Ronald Mendez, 4. Jorge Guzman, 5. Manuare Martinez

As always, most of these rankings are NOT from scouting reports so they are not that definitive.  They are based on age, statistics, and playing time (the Phillies will tend to play the better prospects).  As such they are sure to change as we learn more.

Once the VSL and DSL seasons start we will be back with additional posts on the better and more interesting players from each team.  This post can also serve as a discussion area for all topics international.

25 thoughts on “2012 – New International Players In Spring Training

  1. Thanks for the info, as I don’t know much about the VSL and DSL guys so a good read to pass the time at work.

  2. jimhg

    saw tocci at the minor league complex and was amazed at how shinny/slight he was. can’t be more than 160. i realize he is only 16 or so, but i at first mistook him for a ball boy, until i saw the name on his jersey. a large amount of physical development will have to take place for him to be a successful professional ball player, which i’m sure will happen over the next few years, but for now i expect he will start in extended spring training.

    very impressed with franco. saw 4 at bats; 1 homer, 2 doubles and a deep fly out to left, plus he looks very comfortable in the field.

  3. I am excited about the early reports about Tocci. It seems he was drafted as much for his baseball tools than his physical tools (which other than speed are mostly projection at age 16). Galvis also was more of a baseball player than a physical projection. Tocci held his own in the Liga Paralela last winter hitting .306 with some speed (9 SB) and patience (12 BB and 5 HBP). The high average and patience is pretty rate for a 16-year-old. Who knows how he will fill out physically and it will certainly take time – but the early reports suggest he is a baseball player and not just a good athlete.

  4. Thanks a lot for this andyb.

    Do you have any insight on Marek Minarik? I thought he got sent home a year or two ago.

    1. Maybe I’m not remembering something, but last year was Minarik’s first year in the states. Maybe you’re thinking of the other Czech that was released 2 years ago.

    2. I know little about Minarik. Big projectible kid at 6’5″ though I think he was only throwing 86-88 when signed.

      The other Czech player was Jakub Sladek who got 19 plate appearances a couple of years ago in GCL before being released. 1B/3B type. It sounds like we occasionally will sign an inexpensive player with athletic tools from Europe on the remote chance that something pans out. We have not really been competitive in the bidding for the higher profile Euro players like Max Kepler who the Twins signed for $800K a couple of years ago.

        1. he gets quite a few third baseman who come over to him while he’s cchnaiog third saying they think Morgado is throwing hard. So I’m guessing with his easy delivery and smooth mechanics that the ball looks like it’s coming out at 95-96. He’s got some late life to it as well, which makes things that much more difficult to handle.Franco had a pair of great plays last night after making a throwing error each of the previous two nights. In the second inning he ranged down the line on the outfield cutout of grass, back-handed the ball and made a long throw to first on the fly to get the out. I think Harold Martinez will give you more of the textbook play at third, but Franco will give you more of the spectacular. On top of that he ripped a first-pitch fastball up in the zone for an RBI single.Kelly Dugan continues to hit the baseball hard. He’s getting the good part of the bat on the ball and is hitting absolute bullets. If one of the Cutters’ outfielders gets a call to Lakewood this year I’m more inclined to think that it’d be Dugan because he has yet to be tested at that level and I think he’s been more consistent than Altherr.Altherr scored a pair of runs last night, and created one run with his legs completely. He reached on a beautiful bunt single down the third base line. He stole second base, went to third on a throwing error when he read the misplay right away and got a quick start. He then scored on a medium deep fly ball, forcing the right fielder to make a perfect throw. It was a great National League baseball kind of run.

  5. jimhg;

    good point. he looks fairly tall, with a lanky frame, which i think will fill out very well as he matures and works to develop. the baseball talent appears to be there from those initial stats. i didn’t actually see him play. at this point i think he needs to start at a low level or be over matched physically. it will be interesting the see the placement decision of the phillies staff.

  6. I recall reading that Jiandido Tromp signed as an 18 year old, for 130k in August. I also read that that the Phillies plan on playing Tromp in CF for now, because of his speed. He also plays 2nd base, which was his position as an amateur.

    The one name I don’t see in the report is LHP, Sergio Velis. He supposedly signed for 125K as a 17 year old and played with Tocci as an amateur. He supposedly sits at 88-90mph.

    Those are significant bonuses, that did not get any attention this past summer.

    1. I checked the VSL junior winter league stats, explains why I don’t see Sergio Velis’ name in the report. He won’t be stateside any time soon, the way he walks guys.

      1. Velis was not on the minor league work groups so I assumed he was not in camp. I did not have access to that BA article so I did not want to throw a number in for him that I was not sure about. He probably will do a year in the VSL and come over to the US next year.

        Tromp seems to have interesting tools. From the youtube videos on him he looks like he has some power potential to go with his speed even if he is not a big kid. I wonder if drafting all those shortstops last year and keeping Quinn in the infield was a factor in moving Tromp to the OF?

    1. I think a few will go to Williamsport. Tocci is probably 50-50 to end up there depending on how well he plays in extended spring. Ulises Joaquin was also still pitching in group 4 and seems to be a candidate because he is relatively polished for his age. Other than that we might see a couple of the 21 and 22 year olds like Enrizon Bautista or Diego Gonzalez. These older players are probably not top prospects, but the Phillies will also need to make a decision on them relatively quickly. They will only have 1-2 years to play themselves into prospect status while an 18-year-old might have 3-4 years.

      I suppose the high dollar pitchers from a couple of years ago, Miguel Nunez and Franklyn Vargas are also candidates. If both are healthy they should be in the rotation somewhere, though GCL would be more likely. A secondary reason to keep Latin American players back at GCL is English language training. A player who speaks better English might have a better chance of getting to Williamsport earlier.

      1. Miguel Nunez already pitched in the GCL in 2010, with some success. He wasn’t spectacular, but he was better than Lino Martinez, who was on the same team. I would expect Miguel Nunez to start in the NYPenn league.

  7. Thanks Andy. You know I keep an eye on these south-of-the-border guys. I started mentioning Valle early in the SA career. Herlis was another guy who caught my eye right off. Do you know if there are rules about what age a kid has to be before he can start playing in DSL or VSL? Herlis started playing last year on his 17th birthday.

      1. I think the rule is slightly different. Players can play in the next season after their 16th birthday. We signed Tocci in August of last year on his 16th birthday. He will still be 16 this year and is completely eligible to play. I would be shocked if he went to Lakewood in a couple of weeks, but there is no rule against it.

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