Dominican Summer League Dodgers – Year in Review

The Dominican Summer League (DSL), founded in 1985, is a summer league playing all of its games in the Dominican Republic. It is comprised of thirty-five teams in five divisions. Each team is affiliated with a MLB team and bears that team’s name. Five MLB organizations field two teams in the DSL – Mets, Orioles, Pirates, Reds, Yankees. It makes me wonder why the Dodgers don’t have two teams as the league was founded thirty-eight years ago at the height of Dodger farm system supremacy.

The 2013 schedule started on June 1 and ended on August 24. The teams in the DSL play a 70 game schedule with six teams making the playoff round – the winner of each of the five divisions and one wild card with the best record. The DSL Dodgers play in the Boca Chica Northwest Division of the league. Their home field is the Campo Las Palmas complex. The other teams in this division are affiliated with Houston, Oakland, Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Boston and Kansas City.

Campo Las Palmas is home for the DSL Dodgers. (Photo courtesy of MLB.com)

Campo Las Palmas is home for the DSL Dodgers.
(Photo courtesy of MLB.com)

The DSL Dodgers compiled a 27-43 record in 2013 finishing a full 19 games behind the first place DSL Red Sox. The team, as are all DSL teams, is comprised of youngsters signed in Latin American outside of the MLB First Year Draft. In 2013 at the start of the season twenty-three of those 35 young players were eighteen or younger, with seven of them beginning their seasons as sixteen year olds. During the season an additional ten players suited up for an appearance with the Dodgers. The reasons for the roster flux are unclear but one expects limiting innings and injuries played a significant role in roster expansion. Welington Serrano was the lone DSL Dodger getting promoted during the season,. He had a very brief look see with the Arizona League Dodgers and pitched one inning with the Ogden Raptors.

Information regarding the DSL players is scant and without additional resources is limited to game results and team/player statistics. Because some players are so young a poor season statistically may well not be indicative of the youngster’s potential. However, there were a couple of DSL Dodgers that caught my attention.

Jairo Pacheco

This young man was born on July 6 in 1996 so pitched a portion of the season as a sixteen year old and the youngest member on the team. A Dodger Pride Award winner in August he progressed from relief to starting as the season itself progressed. In his last four starts he posted a 0.57 ERA (1 ER/15.2 IP) while closing out the season by pitching 12 consecutive scoreless innings in his last three starts. He posted a 1-1 record and a 1.24 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 43.2 innings in 17 games (six starts) for the Dodgers after he was signed as a free agent on January 26, 2013. At 5’ 11”and weighing 160 pounds the young lefty has a physical stature very similar to Julio Urias. Pacheco is only three weeks older than Urias.

Although behind phenom pitcher Julio Arias on the depth chart, left-hander Jairo Pacheco is a definite bright spot for the Dodgers future. (Photo courtesy of Coquivacoa Televisión)

Although behind phenom pitcher Julio Urias on the depth chart, 17-year-old left-hander Jairo Pacheco is another bright spot Down on the Farm for the Dodgers.
(Photo courtesy of Coquivacoa Televisión)

 Ibandel Isabel

Another Dodger Pride Award winner in 2013 the 18-year-old outfielder was signed by the Dodgers in April out of the Dominican Republic. I twice chose him for a Dodger Pride Award. In 2013 Isabel hit .327 (10th), had an OPS of .898 (6th), SLG .500 (3rd) and an OBP of .398. Twenty-three of his 64 hits were for extra bases. Although BABIP is, in my opinion, a bit of an iffy statistic as it can be affected by poor defense and ineffective pitching, it is still relative to all other hitters in the league. Isabel’s BABIP was .430, eighth best in the league and eighth best in all of minor league and MLB baseball. BABIP may also mean he hits the ball hard.

Ariel Sandoval

Sandoval, another outfielder did not have an eye popping year. His 2013 statistics will not garner much attention. However, he played the entire year as a seventeen year old. A native of Sabana Grande de Boya, Dominican Republic, Sandoval showed consistent improvement over the summer. He hit .200 in June, .250 in July and .339 in August which earned him a August Dodger pride Award.

Kevin Guzman

Another player I liked was Venezuelan native Kevin Guzman who turned nineteen in November. In 42 innings Guzman struck out 32 and walked 7. After five appearances in relief he finished the season with eight starts while compiling a 2.61 ERA as a reliever and 2.25 ERA as a starter. His overall WHIP was 1.11. His consistency and control may bode well for him in the future.

Another name to keep in mind is Michael Medina (17) who hit only .198 but tied for the team lead in RBI with 31 and led the team in home runs with 10.

Interesting but not significant – The DSL Dodgers had four catchers on their roster, all with the first name of Luis.

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6 Responses to “Dominican Summer League Dodgers – Year in Review”

  1. Ron Cervenka says:

    I would imagine that some, if not all, of these kids will play in the States this coming season. Looking forward to seeing Jairo Pacheco at Rancho, although I imagine he is still 1 to 2 years away from that.

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      Some, not all will make it to AZL Dodgers. Perhaps a couple to the Raptors as the season progresses. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Pacheco get to the Raptors during the 2014 season.

  2. Evan Bladh says:

    Harold, I loved this piece. Great insight, especially on good looking Dodger prospects dwon there. While I was in Nicaragua this past weekend I tried to get an interview of my wife’s nephew, Jonathan Loaisiga, an 18 year pitcher that played this past season in the Dominican Summer League. Unfortunately he was in Guatemala playing a tournament for the Nicaraguan youth national team while I was there.

    Jonathan is SF Giants property, (yes, I know, I’m gagging). He played for the Giant affiliate in 2013 in the Dominican and had some eye popping numbers:

    8-1 record, 2.75 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 63 IP, in 13 starts with 40 K’s and 16 walks.

    His stat line from baseball reference.com:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=loaisi002jon

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      Jonathan looks like a good prospect. Too bad he is a Giant prospect but I am pleased for all of the youngsters in Latin America that get signed by major league teams. At some point you will get an interview with him. Maybe one day watch him pitch in SF.

  3. MFGRREP says:

    As always Harold a great article. I would not have known of any of these kids if it were not for your updates !!

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      Thanks guys. As I say info is scant and any guys I write about are statistically based although I look at age and trends such as Sandoval improving monthly.

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