The DSL Phillies have now completed a little more than half of their season and stand at 21-19 after 40 games, in 5th place, 3.5 games behind the Yankees and the Giants. The Phillies are in a new division this year which appears to be more difficult, with big spending teams such as the Yankees, Mets, and Marlins among their competition.
The 2010 Phillies are not the youngest squad in the league, but they have seen some positive performances from younger players. The better prospects in the Latin American complex leagues tend to be the younger players age 17-19 that are holding their own performance-wise. The Phillies hitters average 18.9 years old, slightly older than the league average of 18.2. The pitchers average 19.2 years old, again slightly older than the league average of 18.8.On offense there are several potential prospects that have been playing well. Perhaps the most interesting prospect is 17-year-old OF Delvi Francisco. Francisco is hitting .274 with 2 of the team’s 11 home runs and a .710 OPS. Two 18-year-old catchers have also made favorable impressions in the early part of the season. Edwin Esquea has seen the most playing time and is hitting .256 with 1 HR and a .697 OPS. Rafael De La Cruz has played less, but appears to be the better hitter so far hitting with 1 HR and a .932 OPS.
Other offensive highlights include the following:
LF/2B – Jorge Castillo (age 19) – leading power hitter hitting .275 with 5 HR
2B – Robinson Torres (age 18) – little power, but enough walks to turn a .236 average into a .382 OBP
3B – Yeisson Morales (age 18) – Big kid (6’3″, 195) playing mostly at 3B – Some power and walks but a low average so far
Two other names are also worth mentioning on offense. Carlos Valenzuela was a high priced signee now in his 3rd season hitting .278 (only a .640 OPS however). It is likely that his prospect days are over, as he is no longer a regular SS these days. Finally, the most intriguing older player must be 21-year-old SS/OF Witer Jimenez who is hitting .264 with some speed (11 SB). It is unclear whether he is the slightly older reincarnation of last year’s sensation Nevri Jimenez who hit .347 last year playing the same variety of positions and coming from the same home town in the Dominican.
On the pitching staff the number of prospects appears more promising. New high-priced signee Miguel Nunez made a few cameo appearances at the beginning of the year and pitched poorly with a 10.12 ERA. Those were his first professional appearances, however, and he appears to have made progress more recently in the GCL. Lendy Castillo (former SS, now P) also made a few cameo appearances (3.52 ERA) before earning a promotion to the GCL where he was a weak-hitting infielder for a couple of years.
The top starters on the team are a couple of older pitchers. Gabriel Arias is 2-1 with a 0.48 ERA and near perfect control (37.2 IP, 27 H, 3 BB, 36 K). He was originally a mid-priced signee ($100K) but is now in his 4th season in the DSL. At age 20 his prospects are dimming in spite of the good performances both this season and last (2.29 ERA). Adrian Sierra is a small (5’11”) LHP that has made major strides this year at age 19. He is 0-3 but has a 1.72 ERA in 8 starts (47 IP, 38 H, 15 BB, 41 K).
Other pitchers of note:
Converted OF Carlos Best (age 19) in his second year on the mound is 3-0, 1.21 ERA (37.1 IP, 25 H, 7 BB, 34 K)
LHP Luis Gonzalez (age 18) has been wild but effective at times, going 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA (33.2 IP, 24 H, 30 BB, 24 K)
New signee 6’4″ Ramon Oviedo (age 19) is 3-1 with a 1.12 ERA in limited time (24 IP, 19 H, 8 BB, 18 K)
RHP Daniel De La Cruz (age 19) – The team’s closer has a 1.07 ERA with a 2-0 record and 4 saves (25.1 IP, 19 H, 6 BB, 17K). In his 3rd good season he still has not received a promotion.
RHP Alvaro Bacil – Bacil was another high priced signing from 3 years ago that has had an injury filled career. After pitching only 3 innings last year he has totaled only 6 this year. While he showed lots of promise as a 17-year-old, his star appears to be dimming.
While this DSL team does not appear to compare to the powerful team of a couple years ago (featuring players like Jonathan Villar and Leandro Castro), it does have some intriguing prospects. Francisco and the two younger catchers are all playing well at a young age. The pitching staff also might contain some interesting prospects, especially if younger pitchers like Oviedo continue to develop. We will check in again with the DSL towards the end of the season to see how the younger prospects are progressing.