Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dominican Summer League Begins 2011 Season

The Dominican Summer League is on its way, as the DSL Giants defeated the DSL Cubs by the score of 2-0. As someone who has an interest in international baseball, the beginning of the DSL is a very exciting time and adds a whole new flavor to the minor league baseball season as well as this blog.

First off, from now on, that means the DSL is going to be covered in the periodic Farm Watch updates. Furthermore, we also will be looking at prospects that currently are on the DSL roster. The DSL Giants are coming off a successful campaign from a year ago, as they won the South Boca Chica division with a 46-25 record, and they also won DSL championship as well, beating the DSL Twins, three games to zero.

For those who don't know, the DSL consists of players who aren't eligible in the draft, but are usually free agent signings. Most of the players are of Latin American heritage, though you do occasionally see some European baseball prospects playing in the DSL from time to time. While there is no age limit in the DSL, most of the players are anywhere from the age of 16-21, so it is a developmental league, similar to the Arizona Summer League, which is catered to Rookies who are just drafted.

There are 33 teams in the DSL, with two teams belonging to the New York Yankees and Mets each. This is not surprising since those two organizations have a lot of money, and thus, have the luxury of investing a lot of money into their Latin American developmental teams. That being said, you're seeing some teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics who are making a lot of strides in terms of investing more into their Latin American talent and also the facilities of their DSL teams.

As for the Giants, they have some returning talent, as Juan Nova, Marvin Barrios, Franklin Noel, and Ariel Hernandez are the pitchers of note that return from last year's championship pitching staff. In terms of the offense, Leonardo Fuentes, Victor Feliz, Gabriel Cornier, Luis Vazquez and Fernando Pujedas are some of the hitters that contributed to the DSL Giants in 2010.

In terms of new, promising talent, the big guy to watch is Adalberto Mejia, a recent Giants signee who started on Opening Day and threw five scoreless innings and struck out five while only allowing two hits and one walk. Some other new guys to watch are Carlos Cartagena, Randy Ortiz, Noel Diaz, Shurendell Mujica, and Julio Pena. Ortiz had a good showing on Opening Day, as he had two hits, stole a base and scored two runs, while Mujica had two hits including a double and a RBI.

Overall, it'll be interesting see if any guys emerge from the DSL this year. Some recent prospects who have graduated from the DSL and are in the Giants system are Francisco Peguero, Carlos Willoughby, Rafael Rodriguez, Ehire Adrianza, Ydwin Villegas, Jose Casilla, Jorge Bucardo, and Kendry Flores. It'll be interesting to see if the DSL squad this year can produce any prospects of those caliber after the 2011 year has concluded.

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