The Dominican Summer League opened its season yesterday. In the past, I haven't paid much attention to the White Sox' affiliate because, well, there wasn't much to which to pay attention due to of a lack of spending in Latin America and also the Dave Wilder-led bonus-skimming scandal (which I've covered in-depth here). But with the addition of Marco Paddy, the White Sox are back in the Latin American game and have some good Latin American players on their team.
One other reason to not closely follow the DSL White Sox is because it's not going to tell you much. The level of competition is extremely low. While there are some players there who are not Dominican - for example, the White Sox do not have a Venezuelan Summer League affiliate so all their Latin players go to the DSL - they make up the majority.
So you basically have a bunch of teenagers who, because Dominicans generally focus more on staging showcases for their players and not playing games, have little experience with actually playing baseball games. The base-running is atrocious and the defense is comical. Anyone with any inkling of the fundamentals of baseball would want to gouge their eyes out. While there's certainly far more raw talent on display, the quality of play is at the junior college level or below. It's really a glorified instructional league.
One of the only things I've found helpful is a pitcher's strikeout rate over a season. That's helped me to identify current White Sox prospects like Andre Rienzo and Euclides Leyer early but there's plenty I followed who never got past Great Falls or Bristol (in fact, the solid majority of DSL players will never play on the mainland). Basically, a high strikeout rate means a guy has a good fastball that he can sort of locate and maybe one halfway decent secondary offering. But even that can be misleading because DSL players generally don't have much clue about the strikezone - the whole "you don't walk off the island" thing.
On the hitting-side, I haven't found anything but that may be because the White Sox never really had more than Carlos Sanchez so there wasn't anything to find.
The other issue is that, while the amount of information is growing everyday, there aren't too many people out there watching these games and giving reports on what they've seen. Since the White Sox do now have some players to watch, hopefully some scouting information will trickle out.
So that's a long-winded intro to the three players to watch (rest of the roster here):
- RHP Victor Done: The 17 year-old Dominican is 6'3", 195 pounds and described by Baseball America as having "a solid delivery for his age and a fastball that has reached 91 mph. He has flashed a sharp 74-78 mph curveball that's ahead of his changeup right now."
- RF Hanleth Otano: The 17 year-old Dominican bats right-handed is a big guy - also listed at 6'3", 195 pounds - and the raw power to match. He DHed yesterday and his long-term defensive home is certainly in a corner and may well be first base.
- SS Johan Cruz: The 17 year-old Dominica bats right-handed and is listed at 6'2", 170 pounds. Baseball America said he "stood out in the field with good hands, footwork and arm strength." He was considered one of the best defensive players in last year's signing class but his offense is well-behind his defense.
- Nestor Molina came off Birmingham's disabled list but threw only three innings before being removed. He's back on the disabled list, presumably with the same shoulder issue. This usually means a trip to the orthopedic surgeon.
- You don't want to know how Jared Mitchell has played since coming off of Birmingham's disabled list.
- In Please God Give Us a Lefty Reliever news, Leyson Septimo began his second crack at a rehab assignment with Charlotte. It hasn't been pretty or effective. Charlie Leesman has been pretty good since his return from offseason knee surgery: 2 GS, 10 IP, 6 H, 6 BB, 13 K, 1 WP. I've had him tabbed as a major league reliever for awhile.
- Josh Phegley: .329/.386/.639.
- Micah Johnson: .327/.415/.490 and 47 steals in 60 attempts.
- Edit 12:50pm: Courtney Hawkins activated from Winston Salem's DL.