The Dominican Summer League wrapped up its regular season yesterday. I've never before done a season review of the DSL White Sox but, with the White Sox pouring money into international amateur free agents for the first time in years, they've got quite a few players to follow down there.
First, we need to set some baselines. The DSL is the lowest level of competition in affiliated baseball. The average hitter's triple slash line is .236/.329/.318. The average pitcher walks 10.3% of the batters he faces while striking out just 18.9%. Other signs of lack of skill, such as HBPs (0.75/g), are plentiful and young starters rarely throw more than a handful of innings. The average player is just 18.1 years old.
By way of contrast, the next lowest level of competition of White Sox affiliates is Bristol in the Appalachian League. There, the average triple slash is .248/.325/.361. The average pitcher's walk rate is 9% and his strikeout rate is 21.8%. There are 0.5 HBPs per game. The average player is 20.5 years old.
Most of the players in the DSL will not even make it stateside. Very few will ever reach even the high minors, let alone MLB. The level of play is probably lower overall than what you'd see from many travelling high school squads.
Further background on the league and the White Sox prospects can be found here.
On the position player prospect side, OF Roger Ramos led the way with a .248/.375/.359 line and 9 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He played mostly right-field in a somewhat crowded outfield rotation. This was the 18-year-old's second season in the DSL and he showed the expected improvement, as he batted just .185/.246/.242 in 2012 (albeit while playing with a back injury of which he failed to inform the club). He's likely to make his way stateside in 2014.
For whatever reason, the White Sox started CF Antonio Rodriguez in Bristol. To their credit, once it became obvious that he couldn't handle it (*cough*CourtneyHawkins*cough*), he quickly went back to the DSL. The 18-year-old also showed improvement from the limited time he saw in 2012, batting .288/.315/.353 while exclusively playing center-field. Rodriguez is certainly one to watch as he rates as plus in speed, arm and power potential.
OF Hanleth Otano was the youngest player, having turned 17 just last month. He has the prototypical right-fielder's profile, though he spent most of 2013 in left-field. His triple slash of .185/.248/.279 is typical of a first year player and he'll be spending another year on the island.
As expected, SS Johan Cruz struggled mightily in his taste of pro ball. The 17-year-old was considered the best defensive middle infielder of last year's signing class but his bat rated well-behind. He was the club's iron man, playing in 67 of the team's 69 games, and batted .123/.216/.160, while also leading the team with 18 swipes in 25 tries.
Among less-heralded players, C Franco Pizzoli stood out. While it was the 19-year-old's third season in the DSL, he showed steady improvement and ended this season with a .321/.368/.396 line. One of the few Venezuelans on the team, he shows a good arm behind the plate, throwing out about half of attempted basestealers, and appears to properly catch the ball more than other catchers.
The only pitcher of note was RHP Victor Done, who was the youngest pitcher at 17. His first pro season was also a difficult one. In 12 starts, he threw 30.1 innings and gave up 34 hits while walking 28, striking out 26 and hitting 8 batters.
With luck, one or more of these players will join Andre Rienzo and Eduardo Escobar (and perhaps Carlos Sanchez) as DSL White Sox alumni who play for the White Sox.