The Dominican Summer League (DSL) opens play on Saturday, June 1st. For those unfamiliar, the DSL is an affiliated minor league for Latin American prospects not yet ready for US-based teams, due to age (some DSL players are as young as 16) or simply being too raw. Only a small percentage of DSL players even make it to the US affiliates.
In recent previous seasons, with the White Sox organization’s LatAm operations in disarray and little spending on those prospects, there wasn’t much to get excited about. But in the past year or two, the Sox have dramatically increased spending, particularly on Dominican prospects, landing a handful of sought-after players. The DSL Sox should be a much more interesting group follow this season.
There are a few interesting prospects now with Sox affiliates state-side that came out of the DSL in the past year or two. Among them are LHP Jefferson Olacio, RHP Braulio Ortiz, RHP Euclides Leyer, and OF Juan Ramirez.
A few caveats… The DSL rosters have not yet been updated online, so we don’t even know everyone who may be on the club yet. Some prospects are going to be kept in training camp before playing in the games. Results are posted daily, but sometimes are delayed, so we don’t typically get to see live games in progress via box scores (though this may change in the future).
That all said, here is a look at a few of the players who will likely be on the DSL Sox this season, and are worth keeping an eye on…
INF Johan Cruz: Cruz was signed as a 16 year old shortstop for $450,000, one of the largest bonus amounts paid out by the Sox in LatAm in a long time. Some scouts saw him as one of the best shortstops on the island at the time he signed. Defensively he’s noted to have good hands, footwork and arm strength, according to Baseball America.
INF Luis Castillo: Castillo signed last July as a 16 year old third baseman who also signed for $450,000. Baseball America’s review says he’s got a sound RH swing and plus power potential.
OF Hanlet Otano: Otano was signed in July just after he had turned 16. Despite his age, he was listed as already being 6’4” and 200 pounds, and may already be limited to the corners. His big tool is power, which reportedly has plus potential.
RHP Luis Martinez: Martinez signed for $250,000 in January of 2012 at age 17, and was listed at 6’4” and 195 pounds. At that time he already had an 88-91 mph fastball touching 92, as well as a curve and change. He’s got a big frame and long arms, and has probably been filling out since his signing. He’s now 18 and should be ready for competition.
RHP Victor Done: Done was signed last August at 16 years old, and was listed at the time as 6’3” / 190. Baseball America says he’s got a solid delivery and was hitting 91 with the fastball. Having a solid, repeatable delivery that young is a good positive indicator.
Of course we will keep you updated on happenings in the DSL as their season goes on, just as we do the other affiliates. But here are some handy links you can use as well:
DSL Sox Team Page: http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t633
DSL Scoreboard: http://www.milb.com/scoreboard/index.jsp?sid=milb&lid=130
DSL News Site (In Spanish): http://www.dominicansummerleague.com/