2012 DSL/VSL Wrapup

2012 was a transitional year for the Phillies in Latin America.  They continued to have teams in both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, though most of their better International prospects skipped those leagues and went straight to the United States (usually to the Gulf Coast League).

The year was transitional because it also saw the debut of a new major league baseball international signing cap.  In recent years the Phillies had been wary of bidding on top talent as the price of that talent had started to skyrocket.  In 2012 all MLB teams were on an even footing with a $2.9 million spending limit (plus 6 $50,000 exceptions and an unlimited number of low priced below $10K signings).  The Phillies finally started to loosen their purse strings and reportedly spent about $2,0 million fairly quickly on 5 players.  We have seen announcements (or actual sightings in instructional league) of 4 players:

Jose Pujols – RF – 6’4″, 185 – A big, raw RF with lots of power potential – $540K, BA’s #20 intl prospect
Deivi Grullon – C – 5’11”, 195 – BA #15 intl prospect, Carlos Ruiz clone physically – $575K
Willerker Isava – SS – Venezuelan supposedly solid on defense though a question on offense ($200K)
Lewis Alezones – RHP – 6’3″, 170 – VZ pitcher with projection touches 90 ($320K)

There was one more high profile signing that was not announced and most likely a few other 2nd and 3rd tier prospects that will debut in the VSL or DSL.  It would not bw surprising if the 4 mentioned above all went straight to GCL as they have already been part of instructional league.  The new system appears to favor the Phillies’ traditional strategy of going for multiple good prospects rather than 1 or 2 great prospects.

Last year’s DSL and VSL teams were a mixed bag.  The DSL team finished 6th in their division at 32-36 and did not feature a roster that was especially young.  There seem to be a few potential prospects on the roster (see below) though there were no standouts (as in young players who were dominating).  The VSL team dominated a 4-team league going 48-22 and winning the championships.  Unfortunately it looks like the quality of VSL play has decreased substantially, so again it is hard to see if there were any great prospects on the roster.

The following are a couple of rough top 10 lists of the players that stood out most to me on each team.  These lists are not based on scouting reports for the most part unfortunately.  They are based on stats, the age of the players, their playing time, and occasional mentions of these players in the news.  If the players played in instructionals last fall they also made these lists.  If the Phillies like them enough to do that, they probably know more about whether they are a prospect than I do.  Without further ado,  here are the top 10 lists:


1. Samuel Hiciano (RF, age 18, 6’1″, 203) – Best offensive prospect hit .284 with a 789 OPS, 22 XBH including 4 HR and 16 SB
2. Olvy Marte (CF/2B. age 17, 5’9″, 154) – Speedy CF held his own hitting .277 with a .394 OBP and 21 SB
3. Elniery Garcia (LHP, age 17, 6’0″, 155) – Limited time and only 2-1, 4.18 ERA record, though the youngest pitcher to go to instructionals
4. Seranthony Dominguez (RHP, age 17, 6’4″, 183) – 4-4. 3.48 ERA, 67.1 IP, 63 H, 26 BB, 40 K.  Young and tall and in the rotation all year.  All good signs the Phillies like him.
5. Erick Cedeno (LHP, age 19, 6’3″, 220) 1-0, 1.32 ERA, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 19 K. – Older late signing also went to instructionals
6. Francibel Alejo (LHP, age 19, 6’3″, 170) 5-7, 3.06 ERA, 79.1 IP, 94 H, 8 BB, 46 K – Tall LHP did not take a step forward unfortunately and was a little too hittable.
7. Wilber Torres (C, age 18, 5’11”, 206) – Catcher hit .241 with a .694 OPS
8. Gregorio Santos (RHP, age 19, 6’3″, 190) 4-3, 3.55 ERA, 76 IP, 84 H, 29 BB, 52 K – Another older starter that played pretty well.
9. Malquin Canelo (SS, age 17, 5’10”, 156) Can’t hit (.167), but started at SS at age 17 so he must be good defensively
10. Enmanuel Serra (2B, age 19)  Hit .254 with a .362 OBP and 21 SB – A little old to be considered a prospect


1. Freddy Zorilla (RF, age 17, 6’4″, 195)  Hit .232 and a .379 OBP and went to instructional league
2. Sergio Velis (LHP, age 17, 5’11”, 182) 3-0, 2.22 ERA, 28.1 IP, 24 H, 17 BB, 26 K – $100K signing from a year ago had some injury issues
3. Severino Gonzalez (RHP, age 19, 6’1″, 153) – 7-3, 1.65 ERA, 92.2 IP, 59 H, 6 BB, 86 K – Panamanian prospect is extremely polished though a little old to be a prospect
4. Gustavo Martinez (CF, age 18, 5’11”, 155) – Speedy CF hit .313 with 27 SB
5. Douglas Parada (LHP, age 19, 6’1″, 233) – 8-2, 1.82 ERA, 79.1 IP, 53 H, 10 BB, 73 K – Another older though dominant pitcher
6. Deiber Olivera (3B/SS, age 19, 5’11”, 155) Hit .350.  Played mostly 3B but if he can also play SS (as he was listed on the instructional roster).  Another older prospect.
7. Ronald Mendez (RHP, age 19, 6’5″, 211) 1-4, 5.70 ERA, 30 IP, 35 H, 12 BB, 21 K – Here for the projection and the instructional league appearance, not his stats
8. William Cuicas (SS, age 17, 5’11”, 160) – Hit only .219 but started at SS and went to instructionals
9. Enger Jimenez (LF, age 16, 6’1″, 165) – 3 HR at age 16
10. Wilson Garcia (C/1B, age 18, 5’11”, 160) – Hit .353 with a .903 OPS but did not go to instructionals so that could be a bad sign.
C Jose Mayorga did go the instructional league though is older than Garcia and hit less well.  Francisco Herrera was another offensive star but appears to be more of a 1B than a 3B.  Ricardo Pinto was another pitcher that had a great year (7-3, 2.74) but also did not get invited to instructional league.  Figuring out the VSL prospects was pretty difficult as the quality of competition made their stats pretty meaningless.
We will see which players on these teams merit an invitation to Spring Training next month.  Those players are probably the ones that we will see at GCL later this summer.

20 thoughts on “2012 DSL/VSL Wrapup

  1. Besides the 2012 signees I am excited to see Velis stateside in 2013. He does not have the big stuff of fellow lefties Mecias and Vargas (reports have Velis in the 89-92 range) but he knows what he is doing (though the BB numbers seem to dispute the reports). Not a huge ceiling but has a feel for three pitches and command and I could see him moving quickly with much more safety than most of the latin pitchers.

    1. It was really hard to see many of these players as prospects this year. Velis is the only one we know that had at least a mid-level bonus and he does seem polished. Hopefully the time he missed last season is not a sign of any serious injury. He was not in instructional league, but they might have just wanted to get him some rest. Hiciano and Zorilla do look like they might have some power potential, so hopefully we will see them at GCL too.

      1. Thanks anon1 but yeah I had nothing to do with this one, I saw it under construction this afternoon and was looking forward to it being published. Thank you andy for keeping up great coverage on the latin leagues and prospects.

  2. I looking forward to following Velis this year in the GCL. After checking his numbers in Liga Paralela last year, I wasn’t expecting him to perform as well as he did this past season.
    On that note, new Venezuelan signee, Lewis Alezones pitched a little better this year in that winter league, than Velis did last year. Alezones also pitched a little better than the older Yoel Mecias, this year, judging by the small sample.

    1. Alezones was another of the large bonus guys from this year, I believe it was $320K, so much is probably expected of him. He also was at instructional league so that is another sign the Phillies like him.

  3. I am completely clueless on these guys.
    Thanks so much for putting the effort in to weed through other information (more than just stats) to attempt a list of possible prospects to watch. Makes the minors just that much more interesting.

  4. Thanks Andy, I like to keep one eye on the Latin guys and love reading your write-ups about them. These guys offer the most surprise for the organization. The US draft has so many guys running around and offering their appraisals of guys. This guys #4 in CA and this guy is 28th best catcher. The Latin guys don’t come with the same hype. Ruiz, Bastardo and Galvis are three that have given the big club a little boost or maybe a lot more than a little. If we find the next Clemente we can say, I remember when Andy mentioned him in his Latin America write-up.

    1. I’ll take the next Antonio Bastardo (to throw out a guy with a minimal bonus that started in the DSL). I kind of think of these teams as full of 20th round draft choices. If we are lucky we find a Cloyd or Ruf among them, and we also help build a real developmental system. Notice the manager on the DSL squad Manny Amador. He was one of our first signings after we hit a post-Juan Samuel/Julio Franco dead period in Latin America in the 1980s. Never a real prospect for us, but helping us build a system.

  5. One thing that raises-my-eyebrows about DR prospects…is their actual ages. Not so much with the VSL kids. In the DR there is the occasional birth-certificate manipulation and the changes of identity, that people on a whole have doubts. Hopefully things will get better down there.

    1. Things are better down there. Some players will always look for an advantage but the problem is much smaller than it was a decade ago. Really we should focus on the kids and how they play and let the Phillies worry about who they sign.

    1. May not have been a kid ready to come over to GCL. Lots of potential reasons though it is probably not worth the time to speculate.

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