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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.