DSL Update – July

The big news out of the DSL team this month came yesterday when 18-year-old starter Felix Cespedes pitched a perfect game, sort of.  Cespedes pitched 9 innings and got 27 consecutive outs, striking out 14.  Unfortunately his team failed to score any runs.  The game ended as a 12-inning 1-0 loss with the Phils outhitting their opponents 10-2.  The good news is that the opponents were the first place Mariners, so Cespedes dominated a decent team.  Cespedes is the youngest pitcher on the squad having just turned 18 at the end of April.  He is one of several pitchers that should be considered prospects, though the perfect game has followed some uneven performances.  For the year he is 0-4 with a 3.38 ERA.  His peripherals, especially after the perfect game are strong: 58.2 IP, 48 H, 14 BB, 73 K.

The DSL Phillies, like their VSL brethren, are not a very good team.  They are currently 19-31 and in 3rd place of their 4 team division (Santo Domingo North).  They are 15 GB the division leading Mariners and, unlike the past few seasons, have not improved appreciably as the season progressed.  The team is relatively young, though not quite as young as the Sebastian Valle-led team a couple of years ago.  The hitters have an average age of 18.1 years, slightly less than the 18.4 league average.  The pitching staff with an average age of 18.9 is slightly older than the league average of 18.8.

Unlike the VSL squad, this DSL team seems to have more prospects on the pitching staff rather than among position players.  Beyond Cespedes, the next pitcher to look at prospect-wise is 19-year-old Lisalverto Bonilla.  While a little older than one might prefer, Bonilla has had an impressive first season in pro ball.  The RHP was the team’s all-star representative and has gone 6-2 with a 1.14 ERA (63 IP, 41, 15 BB, 67 K).  He and Cespedes are both likely to get a promotion next year to GCL.

Several other young pitchers on the staff should also be considered prospects.  19-year-old Gabriel Arias was a $100K signing a couple of years ago and has pitched relatively well as part of the starting rotation.  He is 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA along with good peripherals: 54 IP, 53 H, 6 BB, 56 K.  With his extreme control he may be somewhat similar to Siulman Lebron from last year’s team.  Daniel De La Cruz (age 18) started the year as the team’s closer but has moved into the rotation with modest success.  He is 0-3 but has a 1.59 ERA and 2 saves (34 IP, 21 H, 12 BB, 26 K).  The lower K rate suggests he is a somewhat lesser prospect than the others.

Some other prominent names on the pitching staff to look at:

LHP Dario Alvarez – age 20 – 1-4, 3.40 ERA, 55.2 IP, 58 H, 13 BB, 59 K. An older pitcher that has improved his control immensely in the past year.  As a LHP he still has a chance to get promoted.

RHP Alvaro Basil – age 18 – Has pitched only 3 ineffective innings this year, all in the first week of the season.  The $100K signee from last year may be hurt.

RHP Carlos Best – age 18 – The converted OF has held his own going 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA (24 IP, 20 H, 11 BB, 20 K)

RHP Adrian Sierra – age 18 – Another young pitcher to watch (1-1, 3.68 ERA, 14.2 IP, 14 H, 9 BB, 17 K)

On the offensive side the Phillies are a very young team.  The best player in the early going was 18-year-old CF/SS/3B Nevri Jimenez.  After a scorching start he cooled off a little, but is still hitting .347 with 2 HR, 15 RBI, and 12 SB (.948 OPS).  Unfortunately he has not played since July 4th and is likely hurt.  The other offensive mainstay for the squad has been 19-year-old 1B/DH Geancarlo Mendez (.329, 1 HR, 24 RBI, .868).  Given his older age and lack of a prominent defensive position, Mendez is not likely a prospect.

3 17-year-olds have held their own on offense and are worth watching in the future.  LF Luis Beltre has had some doubles power and is hitting .255 (11 XBH, .682 OPS).  Edwin Esquea is one of the team’s young catchers and is hitting .259 with a .635 OPS.  Finally, Yeisson Morales is a big kid (6’3″, 195) at 3B and has shown good plate discipline so far hitting only .197 but with enough walks to have a .361 OBP.

Others to note on the squad include 18-year-old 2B Carlos Valenzuela.  The disappointing bonus baby has improved some this year (.235 AVG, .642 OPS, 12 SB), but not enough to justify the price.  18-year-old SS Eladio Berroa has not been much on offense (.238 AVG, .610 OPS) but has played a solid SS with only 11 errors so far.  Felix Marine at age 19 has been one of the better catchers offensively, hitting .272 with .778 OPS.  Finally, Jorge Castillo (2B/LF)  at age 18 has been another solid player offensively (.275 AVG, 2 HR, .712 OPS), but like Mendez really needs to find a defensive position to be a prospect.

Beyond Jimenez, however, there is not really any offensive player that stands out as a prospect.  The 17-year-olds all have potential, but typically we want to see somewhat higher levels of performance before thinking they are top prospects.  We should also note that this team has not benefitted from the performance of 16-year-old OF Domingo Santana who is currently making waves at GCL.

Note – 2 lesser prospects (OF Jose Trinidad and RHP Joan Pascual) were suspended for 50 games after testing positive for Stanozolol.  Trinidad was hitting .333 in limited time and has good size for an 18-year-old OF.  Pascual is 19 and had a 7.90 ERA suggesting he is not a top prospect.

13 thoughts on “DSL Update – July

  1. I posted elsewhere on the site that the DSL Phils had a guy thrown out at home in the last of the 9th of Cespedes ” sort of” perfecto. It could have been one of those plays where they’re sending the guy and hoping for a bad throw. Too bad, Felix couldn’t get into the win column with a perfect game.

    Thanks for the report Andy.

  2. Thanks for the report. Ground ball, strike out pitchers are rare at any level. Cespedes 9 inning perfecto yesterday was impressive on many levels. Only 4 of his 27 outs were in the air. His 14 K’s now gives him the strike out lead in the DSL. Any 6’3″, 18 year old pitcher who has the ability to do what he did yesterday must be on the prospect list. Let’s hope we can get a look at him either in the Instructional League in the Fall or in the minor league camp in next spring.

  3. I was looking at the league leaders to see how our pitching stacked up. The leader is a 19-year-old Pedro Guerra in the Twins organization who has gone 50IP and given up 1 ER. That’s crazy….

  4. Time to sign some international guys. Fill up the organization after a trade!

    I don’t care what league you’re playing in, nine perfect innings with 14 strikeouts – you can pitch!

    Guerra with 1ER in 50IP…that’s pretty crazy too.

  5. Thanks for the writeup. Off topic, but any word on Rudney Balentien? He went MIA from the VSL team soon after he had that 3 HR game as far as I can tell

  6. Balentien is still on the VSL roster, so it does not look like he was moved anywhere. He has not played since the 20th, so an injury is possible.

    On the international front, one guy the Phillies were looking at was Colombian OF Leonardo Fuentes. He ended up signing with the Giants for $285K. I have not heard anything on Luis Jolly as well. He was the other high priced guy the Phillies were in on. Also I have heard nothing on C Dionicio Ramirez who was mentioned as someone the Phillies liked. It would be nice to get him if we fall short on Susac, especially with Marson being traded.

  7. Geancarlo Mendez has been playing 2B, lately. (Carlos Valenzuela has played 3B since then, Maybe Yeisson Morales is injured?) Geancarlo Mendez has been over .300 all season, last time I looked .331, has significantly more walks than strikeouts. He is about 6’2 170 so body type wise he might fit, there. He is yet to make an error on the season, Though, he has mostly been DH and not played the field much. I see this as an attempt to get a position for an offensive talent, to make the trip to the USA for next spring training. I do not see the fact he is around 19 is that much of a problem, as alot of the high school draftees in the last draft are nearly 19. A problem might be, despite the perception on here, there are promising Middle Infielders ahead of him. To my best recollection, he has played about every inning of the season. Stock up.

  8. Mendez was originally listed as a middle infielder last year but then hardly played there. With Villar promoted to GCL this year and the middle infielders, including Valenzuela, being nothing special, the team is probably just giving him another look. If he could really play 2B, he probably would have done so much more often. In terms of fielding stats he has made only 1 error at 2B in 10 games with a middling range factor (3.20).

    If he advances it will be on the strength of his bat, though I would have to say that he is doing better than Tomas De Los Santos did at DSL and he has at least made it to Lakewood. He is now at .354 with a .479 OBP with a little speed (16 SB) though not enough power if he is going to be a 1B.

  9. I was unable to find that range finder thing. I don’t know how that is calculated, one might think there would be some kind of subjective judgement applied at some point.

    Regardless , I have been making preliminary deliberations as to who the SS they (likely , I say) they bring to the states next Spring Training. I say they pretty much bring a skeleton crew in to pencil in as starters at GCL level of EXST. Some might not think they follow a set pattern like that, but I guessed the position players very close last time so I’ll go with that. At least they brought a Latin American contingent for GCL, since the visa requirements were liberalized.

    Regardless, which of the Middle Infield candidates , if I could know, would have the best range factor?
    Carlos Valenzuela
    Carlos Perdomo
    Eladio Berroa
    Nerio Rios
    If I omitted any other candidates, they could factor as well.
    I believe the range factor thing might be a factor in who the one(predicted) they will bring to EXST next season. My guess is that Edgar Duran will remain thought of as a GCL candidate for EXST and they will only bring one.

  10. Here is the DSL team page:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/team.cgi?id=41604
    And the VSL:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/team.cgi?id=41491

    On the DSL team at 2B Castillo is 3.5, Mendez 3.2, Valenzuela 2.76 (he can’t field either apparently). At SS Berroa looks legit with a 4.69 range factor, well ahead of Valenzuela at 3.57.

    On the VSL team at 2B Perdomo is the best at 3.74 followed by Nunez at 3.33 and Sosa at 3.18. At SS Rios is decent at 4.12 but Perdomo is a little better at 4.36.

    From those numbers both Berroa and Perdomo look solid defensively but are either a little old (Perdomo) or weak hitting (Berroa) to be great prospects. Rios needs to hit more as well to move up. It may be time to cut our losses with Valenzuela.

  11. Thanks. I have that baseball reference thing bookmarked but have not figured out how to get the information I want as yet. Keep going in a circle around to the same stuff of little interest at the time. I even lost the first page you put on here, I will have to take the time and work with that awhile and get it down.

    Batting stats and age wise I would have thought Perdomo might go to the states next offseason. From this I might think Berroa and/or Rios might go instead.

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