Season Preview: 2018 DSL White Sox

The Chicago White Sox affiliate in the Dominican Summer League began play on June 2nd. The DSL club is made up mostly of teenagers, ranging in age from 17 to early 20's. The players in the league are extremely raw, which isn't very surprising considering most of the players are of high school age without the same game experience. Statistics should be taken with a giant pile of salt but meaningful indicators can be found. Age, loud tools and positional value are some examples.

The Dominican Summer League was founded back in 1985. The league consists of 72 regular season games and runs from June 2nd to August 25th, and the DSL playoffs start on August 27th. There are 44 total teams in 6 different divisions. Every major league club as an affiliate and 13 organizations field two teams. The six divisions are: Boca Chica San Pedro de Macoris, Boca Chica North, Boca Chica South, Boca Chica Baseball City, Boca Chica Northwest and Boca Chica Northeast. The White Sox affiliate plays in the Boca Chica Baseball City.

Via DR Prospects Instagram

Via DR Prospects Instagram

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the White Sox signed 5 notable international prospects during the current period. As we've seen, they also used some of their international pool space to acquire prospects from teams. They were restricted to signing players in the 2017-2018 period to $300K maximum per player due to going over their pool in the previous period to bring in Cuban phenom Luis Robert. Infielders Sidney Pimentel and Camilo Quintero were both $300K investments. Pimentel is a 6'1", 170 pound slick-fielding shortstop out of the Dominican Republic. The 21-year-old Quintero was signed from Cuba and is also said to be an adept fielder. Neither of these two players are on the DSL roster, which could mean they open stateside with the AZL club.

Two of their other prominent signings from this period are indeed on the DSL roster however. Jefferson Mendoza is a Venezuelan catcher that was signed on July 2nd, 2017. We detailed his signing last year. Upon his inking, Mendoza was called an "athletic, right-handed hitting catcher with a strong arm". White Sox Director of International Scouting Marco Paddy called Jefferson, "a plus defensive catcher with an excellent frame for the position". It was mentioned by Marco that his ability to handle a staff should help him develop quickly. Mendoza has a .697 OPS through 4 games so far to start the DSL season.

Jerrick Francees is a 17-year-old infielder that the White Sox signed out of Aruba this year. Dipping their international scouting operation into the ABC Triangle could pay off in a big way for the Sox and Francees was just the start of that commitment. Jerrick is a 6'0", 170 pound right-handed hitting infielder. He has been described as a "very athletic kid with tools" and has also been called an "aggressive player who plays with great passion". So far on the season, Francees has posted a .536 OPS with 4 RBI in a tiny 20 plate appearance sample.

The DSL White Sox are managed by Julio Valdez. Here is a link to the team roster. Ben Badler of Baseball America does fantastic work covering the international market and many of these players were discussed in his international reviews. These are his reviews of the White Sox classes in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Players on this roster were born mostly between the years of 1997 and 2001 so we are talking about very young players here.

Infield

Jerrick Francees is playing every day as the 2B for this club. In addition to Francees, Jorgen Rosas is in his 4th year in the DSL. He was signed out of Venezuela in 2014 for $380K but he's still struggling with the bat, at least statistically. Shortstop Jose Rodriguez is off to a hot start in the league. The 5'11", 170 pound Dominican has posted a .953 OPS so far in the early going. Samil Polanco is another 18-year-old shortstop from the Dominican that is listed on the roster. Edwin Peralta and Andres Rosario are handling the duties at the hot corner. The 19-year-old Rosario hasn't hit much in 25 at-bats and Peralta is just 17 years old. Robert Barreras is a 6'3", 205 pound first baseman in his 3rd year in the DSL. He has only stepped to the dish five times in the early going as well and is 19 years old.

Outfield

Enrique Felix and Omar Martinez are the only outfielders listed on the DSL roster. Felix is a 19-year-old Dominican and is in his 3rd year in the league. He's having his best season so far and is slashing .296/.345/.481 with 8 hits in 27 plate appearances. Martinez is a 19-year-old Venezuelan and has been the primary right-fielder so far this season. He's in his 3rd year in the DSL and currently has an OPS of .657.

Catcher

There are three catchers on this roster in addition to Jefferson Mendoza. Ulises Martinez is a 19-year-old Venezuelan that is currently in his 3rd DSL season. The 6'1", 190 pounder posted an impressive .840 OPS back in 2016 and has a promising .421 OBP so far in 2018. Jhoneiker Betancourt is a 6'1", 175 pound backstop from Venezuela. The 18-year-old posted a .649 OPS last year and has 29 plate appearances so far this year. Richard Garcia is another Venezuelan catcher that hasn't hit much in his two years in the league. Garcia is 19 years old and is listed at 6'1", 185. Mendoza is the best defensive catcher of the group based on scouting information and will likely earn the most time as one of the more prominent international signings on the roster. The 17-year-old Venezuelan has held his own early on with a .733 OPS in limited opportunities.

Pitching

2016 Dominican signing Yordi Rosario is listed on the roster but hasn't pitched yet in 2018. The 6'2", 185 pound righty had a 2.26 ERA in 71.2 innings as an 18-year-old in 2017. From the left side, Hector Acosta is the most well known. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016 as well. The southpaw posted a 3.59 ERA last year and has 11 strikeouts already this season. Edgar Navarro is a 20-year-old right-hander from Venezuela that has compiled 11 strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA in his first 9 innings so far this year. Francisco Benitez is another right-hander seeing some early success. He's a 17-year-old from the D.R. and has 7 strikeouts with an ERA of 1.42 in his 7 innings so far.

There are a quad of 17-year-old recent Dominican signings on the pitching staff. Dionicio Jimenez is a 6'4", 190 pound righty who is struggling. Oriel Castro is a 6'0", 170 pound Dominican southpaw. Carlos Mola has a 4.50 ERA. Another left-hander is Jorge Ferrer and the 6'3", 180 pounder has 5 strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched.

Right-handers Cristopher Batista, Fernando Caro and Cristofer Melendez are Dominican hurlers that have been in the DSL for multiple years. 19 year-old Daneuris LaGrange, 18-year-old Yoelvin Silva and 21-year-old Ruddy Rodriguez are listed on the DSL roster but have no current statistics at this point. There are four Venezuelan pitchers on the roster as well. The three right-handers are all 18 years of age. Pablo Yanes is 6'4", 195 pounds while Luis Rodriguez stands 6'6" and 220 pounds. Jesus Rondon is on the squad as well. Erick Perez is the lone southpaw hailing from Venezuela and he is 19 years old. 24-year-old right-hander Jairo LaBourt is currently listed on the DSL roster on a rehab assignment as well. The 6'5", 234 pounder secured a 4.50 ERA in 6 big league games with the Detroit Tigers last season. He has a 3.61 career ERA in with 470 strikeouts in 480 minor league innings.

The teams in the Dominican Summer League aren't the most interesting to the common fan and even the die-hards would be pressed to know some of these players. This team is incredibly young, even for this league and it shows with some of the early results. The most interesting thing about this roster might actually be the guys that aren't on it. Most of the top international signings from previous classes aren't presently on this team and while that's bad news for this iteration of the club, it could be really good news for the White Sox as an organization. They could be seen as aggressive promotions but getting so many international prospects in stateside ball so early can also be very productive for the organization as a whole. The following prospects are not in the DSL and could be playing stateside ball this year: Kleyder Sanchez (C), Anderson Comas (OF), Harvin Mendoza (1B), Bryant Nova (2B), Luis Mieses (OF), Santo Vasquez (SS), Josue Guerrero (OF), Ramon Pineda (RHP), Brayan Herrera (RHP), Jendersson Caraballo (RHP), Nelson Acosta (RHP), Sidney Pimentel (SS), and Camilo Quintero (SS).

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