With a record of 42-28, the Dominican Summer League (DSL) D-backs had a nice season. Top prospects Francis Martinez, Oswaldo Garcia and Luis Madero had varying degrees of success. While the DSL is broken up into several division and is host to 36 teams, there isn’t a ton of travel and teams face one another fairly often, distorting statistics, especially counting stats. With that said, there are some scouting reports out there (thank you Ben Badler) and the rate stats can be telling at times. With those things in mind, let’s dig right in.
DSL D-backs at a Glance
Dominican Summer League (Int’l R) Ranks (out of 36 total teams)
- Record: 42-28 (t-7th)
- Runs: 338 (15th)
- OPS: .659 (20th)
- HR: 17 (t-13th)
- SB: 106 (13th)
- K: 529 (21st)
- BB: 316 (9th)
- Runs Allowed: 292 (9th)
- ERA: 317 (11th)
- WHIP: 1.26 (t-7th)
- HR: 4 (t-2nd)
- K: 568 (5th)
- BB: 231 (6th)
The DSL D-backs have some talent despite not having any truly marquee international prospects. The aforementioned Francis Martinez, Oswaldo Garcia and Luis Madero headlined a group of solid players. They were middle of the pack offensively, hitting for some power and doing a good job of getting on base. But on the mound, the DSL D-backs shined. They were ninth in runs allowed, second in home runs allowed (although the power output of most DSL teams is marginal at best), struck out a lot of batters and didn’t walk very many. In a league were solid pitching is hard to come by, the Diamondbacks had it and their record is a reflection of that.
Francis Martinez, OF: a toolsy, 6’4” outfielder, Martinez is “what they look like” so to speak. When searching for impact talent, this is the type of player every organization covets. He projects to hit for average, power and average to plus speed. With that combination of speed and hitting ability, he’s a prototypical corner outfielder who has some range. Of course, projecting 17-year old baseball players is anything but a science. Still, one can dream on the total package for days, which explains the $350,000 signing bonus he received.
Oswaldo Garcia, C: catchers are always a top commodity. Many never stick behind the dish and that may or may not be the case with Garcia; it’s simply too early to tell. Given his age and the fact that he’s relatively new to the position, it’s still a work in progress behind the plate. His arm and power are legit, however, and if he can’t make it work at catcher, it’s conceivable that he could move to a corner somewhere. He received the largest bonus of any Columbian in his signing class at $430,000. The 18-year old has plenty of time to develop, however.
Luis Madero, RHP: noted for advanced feel and command, Madero has the type of arm most DSL hitters struggle with as he has an above average ability to throw strikes for his age/level. The velocity leaves something to be desired as he’s really only known to this point to throw somewhere in the low 90’s. Still, this is the type of pitcher that often goes under the radar as scouts chase the elite velocity and hope to hone it. Instead, Madero will seek to add strength and velocity to match his command abilities. With his raw stuff, a middle to back-end starter is the idea, but at just 17, it’s way too early to tell. He signed for $160,000 out of Venezuela as the D-backs continue to go back to the well where they’ve had so much success.
Rafael Santana, OF: Santana didn’t command a hefty bonus but was noted as a bit of a “steal” by the Diamondbacks when they inked him for just $25,000. He’s projected to hit for average and play with speed. The power is a question mark, with average pop being the upside play. His arm and speed should make him a defensive threat even if the bat doesn’t completely materialize, making Santana a worthwhile investment no matter the eventual product he becomes.
Position Players: at the dish, the DSL D-backs were led by a trio of players. Center fielder Jose Ordaz led the team in average (.307) while controlling the strike zone very well. Although he was primarily a singles hitter, he also swiped 16 bags. Rafael Santana, mentioned above, was effective as well. He didn’t showcase any power and didn’t do a ton on the bases, but walked (29) nearly as many times as he struck out (30). Second baseman Didimo Bracho led the team in steals (37) and third on the team in doubles (10), even hitting a couple homers. Francis Martinez had a tough time making consistent contact, but led the DSL D-backs in home runs with nine.
Pitchers: Merkis Montero, Luis Madero, and to a slightly lesser extent, Yeison Santana, were keys to the rotation’s success for the Diamondbacks. All three had excellent WHIP, strikeout and walk numbers on the year while pitching a combined 202.1 innings. Montero was truly the most dominant, validating his top prospect status. He struck out 76 batters in 66.2 innings while walking just 22 and giving up only 46 hits in his 13 starts. Montero wasn’t quite as exquisite, but earned a late call-up to the AZL where he struggled a bit. The 17-year old Santana was a revelation, generating a fair number of ground balls and striking out more than a batter per inning. Closer Geovanny Acosta was excellent in relief, striking out 38 batters in 32 innings while only surrendering 17 runs.
Most Valuable Position Player: Rafael Santana, LF
Although a case could be made for Ordaz or Bracho, it was Santana’s .430 OBP that propelled him to (the admittedly arbitrary) MVP status. His 30:29 K:BB ratio put on base all the time to go along with his .276 batting average, second-best for the D-backs. With just seven extra-base hits, Santana didn’t showcase much power, but he made plenty of contact and the power should develop for the 17-year old. His nine steals were fourth-best on the team to round out a solid, if not overwhelming, performance.
Most Valuable Pitcher: Luis Madero, RHP
Madero utilized his command and pitchability to dominate DSL hitters. His 1.02 WHIP was among the league leaders and his 76 strikeout in 66.2 innings was equally as impressive. He walked only 22 over his 13 starts and didn’t allow a home run. Although pitching was a strength of the team, Madero was the backbone of a very effective pitching staff. At 6’3” and 175-pounds, he has the frame to add velocity to what is already a polished package, making him someone to keep an eye on.
This team was solid across the board, scoring enough runs to get the job done while the team dominated on the mound. Several top prospects had notable performances and should see promotions to either the AZL or Pioneer League in 2015. With that said, the ups and downs of 17 and 18-year old players as they transition to full time baseball and, in the case of these players, life in the US, will provide plenty of challenges. There are encouraging signs here although no one exactly put themselves on the map as one of the game’s top prospects. This is partly due to the Arizona’s limited international spending, which lags behind many organizations. For most players, this was their first taste of professional baseball and one they can build upon moving forward.
Arizona League (AZL) Diamondbacks, likely over the weekend.
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