Saturday, September 26, 2009

Draft of DSL Top 20

1 Randol Rojas SP (DSL co-pitcher of the year)
2 Denny Peralta SP (instructs invite)
3 David Perez SP (instructs invite)
4 Leonel Gil SP
5 Jose Mavare SP
6 Teo "TMart" Martinez CF (instructs)
7 Oduber "David" Herrera (DH) 2B (instructs)
8 Santiago Chirino Hill 2B (instructs)
9 Alfredo Chalas INF
10 Carlos Ramirez SP
11 Luis Mendez SS
12 Luis Cedeno Reyes C
13 Francisco Mendoza RP (instructs)
14 Hector "HMart" Martinez RF
15 Yefrey Castillo (C,Inf,LF) (instructs)
16 Carlos Oropesa C
17 Robert Morillo 3B
18 Chris Garcia CF (instructs)
19 Francisco Lugo OF
20 Esdras Abreu LF
21 Luis Parra SP
22 Jose Mateo OF/1B
HM Ayenil Mendoza SP
HM Kelvin de Leon RP
(both HM missed yr due to to VISA or Injury; Mendoza is a top 5 talent)

I've revised my view of the impressive nature of the position player crop here. Basically, once I dug into the #s a little bit more, what I find are a lot of guys who have either prominent weaknesses to go along with at least one impressive skill or seasons mediated by sample size limitations, meaning that both categories of player can only be regarded as sleepers. Those players include: Castillo(slight decline in peripherals yr2, position), Oropesa (SSS, luck, position), Morillo (one great month, position), Mateo(LHP), Chalas (position), Lugo(weak contact, rhp, 1 good month), HMart (lhp, SSS-missed 1/2 yr), Reyes(SSS, weak contact).

Just a word about instructs. You have to be pleased that Dominicans Peralta, Perez, TMart, and Frankie Mendoza have secured Visas given the stricker climate in the consulate. One has to be a little worried about those who were not invited who could have been based on their performance in 2009. Randol Rojas, who was the DSL co-pitcher of the year, was not invited. I'm not too worried about the Venezuelans who were left off the roster, like Rojas, Mavare, Mendez, Reyes, and Oropesa. Unlike the Venezuelan kids, the Domincans could see their families during the season. I imagine that some of them have elected to stay home rather than spend another 6 weeks abroad. There could also be a cap on the # of invites either by the team or the consulate, though I think that was lifted a few years ago. Visa issues are less of a problem for Venezuelans but it has happened before. Reyes and Oropesa just might be too young and inexperienced with too many holes in their game to merit an invite while Mendez is an 09 sign so it may or may not have been important that he be there. Let's not forget that the DSL instructs happens in October so I bet most of the DSL squad will be there possibly even including those who attended the US (save maybe the VZ and Chris Garcia). Also, one source says that TX staff will be there as well, who I presume to be JD, Warsh, maybe some other coaches and the us/intl scouting cadre. I think Warsh was there last year as well.

Having said that, I am worried about a few of the Dominicans that weren't invited. Ayenil Mendoza and Kelvin de Leon (both 08 instructs invites) were not invited, missing the year due to injury or to Visa issues. If either were injured then we can expect to see them in short-season ball next year. If it is a visa issue, they could be released or stuck in the Dominican as an org guy for the rest of their careers. Mendoza ranked as one of the top pitching prospects in 08 and I expected him (and de Leon, as a reliever) to debut in the AZL this year.

Other pitchers excluded were Leonel Gil, Jose Mavare, and Carlos Ramirez. For position players, Chalas, Morillo, and HMart were excluded. So how should we read these omissions? Visa or injury issues seem the most likely culprit but being raw with lots of holes/weaknesses in ones game could also have been the deciding factor. Morillo had batted .185 in his first 23 games, then .400+ in his final 25, then missed the last 3 weeks to injury. So he could be hurt or just too raw to merit an invite. HMart has some promise but also some substantial weaknesses so maybe he is too raw as well. Chalas seemed to have merited an invite based on his performance though his position is still in question as a former MIF moved become 1b/3b with below average power. Gil, Mavare and Ramirez all merited invites based on the years that they had. Gil and Mavare seem capable of a jump to spokane in 2010 based on their dominating years and impressive peripherals. Ramirez should merit an invite to AZL. I would be worried the most about these last three having visa issues. Having said that, they each will be able to participate in DSL instructs so maybe the US invite is more symbolic than effective, and I guess I would lean in this direction for now.

The surprise invites would have to be Francisco Mendoza, Chris Garcia, and Yefrey Castillo. Frankie Mendoza will be 22.3yo a/o 4/1 next year so he clearly profiles as a reliever who must have a very good fastball to still be regarded as a prospect at his age and he did have a good year this year to be sure. He appears to have made his pitching debut at the age of 20 in 2008 and only pitched a partial season, whether due to being signed late or injury, we don't know. Chris Garcia was said to be a fringe prospect according to some scouting scuttlebutt, with the assertion being that he was a track guy with little baseball experience. His invite might indicate that TX views him more highly or that, in fact, the scouts were correct, as they need to teach him baseball fundamentals in preparation for next year. Castillo has been moved around a lot this season after have been a catcher for most of last year. He has played 2b (10), DH (12) and OF(2) in addition to catcher 32g). This left me with the impression that he was moved off of the position as he didn't play it much in the second half but TX has him listed as a catcher on the instructs roster; they may have just been trying to get him to play everyday while allowing pt for the other younger catchers. His biggest issue is that while his gap power increased quite a bit from 2008 his peripherals declined generally across the board. That isn't usually a good sign for a DSL kid.

As an aside, I have little confidence that Esdras Abreu (see profile) or Luis Parra will develop into legit prospects. Parra seems to have no clue on the mound while Abreu seems to have little clue at the plate. It is telling that neither received an invite to instructs but not a death knell given their age but their deficits are great when compared to Telis or Garcia or Escobar or Alvarez.


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