Dominican Winter League 2020 Recap

Cristian Pache - photo credit Benjamin Rush, forloveofbaseball on Flickr and on Instagram

The Dominican Winter League just wrapped up its regular season on December 19th. Many top prospects participated this year and, with the cancellation of the minor league season, the league was even more important for their development. Let’s take a team-by-team look at how some players did along with a name from the past and other players on the teams. Historically, the DOWL plays as a pitcher’s league as you can tell by the cumulative ERA of 3.29 and .229/.312/.345 slash-line for hitters.

Gigantes del Cibao

Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh – Ranked #2 on Pittsburgh’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – One of the organization’s top prospects is looking to put a rough off-season in the rear view mirror. Cruz was involved in a fatal car crash which had some speculating he would never play ball again. However, he was cleared of any wrongdoing and played in the Winter League to get at-bats. In 29 at bats, he had 8 hits and slashed .276/.276/.448 and will look to continue his development in Spring Training next year.

Jose Siri, OF, Free Agent – Ranked #15 on Cincinnati’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – The former Cincinnati, Seattle and San Francisco speedy outfielder had a good season in DOWL going .278/.345/.367 with 6 stolen bases in 19 games. He is currently a free agent and, at 25 years old, the prospect shimmer of years past is quickly fading but his performance this past month could give teams incentive to take a shot on him.

Do you remember? Wilin Rosario – The former Colorado Rockie catcher is still around. He hit 28 home runs and slashed .270/.312/.520 in 2012 as a 23 year old but the strikeouts and lack of strike zone judgment caught up to him as he hasn’t played in the majors since 2015.  He’s put up monster numbers in the KBO and for Minnesota’s Rochester AAA team in 2019. He didn’t fare so well this winter as he went .167/.265/.300 in 30 at bats.

Other notable players – Wily Peralta, Marcos Molina, Odubel Herrera, Ronald Guzman, Seuly Matias

Tigres del Licey

Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York – Ranked #3 on New York’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – One of the top prospects in the Yankees’ system handled his debut in the major leagues pretty well this year. He pitched 34.1 innings over his 6 starts to a 4.98 ERA, 1.19 WHIP with 33 strikeouts. Garcia used his time during the Winter League to gain more experience and could put himself to win a rotation spot in 2021. He only pitched 6 innings giving up 2 walks and striking out one.

Adonis Medina, RHP, Philadelphia – Ranked #6 on Philadelphia’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – After throwing 105.2 innings in 2019, Medina only had 4 innings under his belt in 2020 which is why he threw in the league. He struggled somewhat in 2019 so the team wants to see more of what he is capable of doing for a potential spot in the rotation next year. He only pitched in 6 innings giving up 4 runs, walking 2 and striking out 4.

Do you remember? Alfredo Simon – The pitcher was once traded for a 49 home run hitter. To be fair, Simon was moved from Cincinnati to Detroit in 2014 for Eugenio Suarez, who hit those home runs 5 years later. Simon hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 but has seen action in both the Mexican and Dominican leagues the last few years. He pitched 8.2 innings giving up 4 runs with 9 strikeouts.

Other notable players – Jomar Reyes, Sergio Alcantara, Dawel Lugo, Pablo Reyes, Jorge Bonifacio, Sandy Leon, Emilio Bonifacio, Luis Gil, Genesis Cabrera, Jaime Barria, Enyel De Los Santos, Hansel Robles, Ervin Santana

Estrellas de Oriente

Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta – Ranked #1 on Atlanta’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – One of the Braves’ top prospects made his debut this year going 1-4 with 2 strikeouts over two games. Pache, a potential gold-glove winner in the outfield, needs the reps to continue to develop his hitting ability. He is putting himself in place to form a spectacular young Braves outfield with Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Drew Waters as soon as late 2021. In 20 at bats he had 3 hits.

Lewin Diaz, 1B, Miami – Ranked #10 on Miami’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – Diaz got his first taste of the majors this past year and struggled during his 39 at bats slashing .154/.195/.205 with 0 home runs and 2 doubles. He never played a game above AA before this year but is still considered a part of Miami’s future. Diaz’s defense has been very good in the minors so he will stick at 1B assuming his bat comes around. During his time in the DOWL, he went 9-53 (.170) with an OBP of .279 with 1 home run.

Emmanuel Clase, RHP, Cleveland – Unranked on Cleveland’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – Clase was obtained as part of the deal that sent 2-time Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. He didn’t get to pitch for the Indians this year as he was suspended 80 games for PED on May 1st, 2020. He only threw 1 inning while striking out 2 with one walk. Clase, with his high 90’s fastball that sometimes hit 100 mph, has the makings of a future closer.

Do you remember? Socrates Brito. Didn’t everyone remember him more for his name than his speed in Arizona’s minor league system?  He slashed .173/.247/.333 with 2 home runs and 2 stolen bases in 81 at bats.

Other notable players – Francisco Mejia, Domingo Leyba, Junior Lake, Norge Ruiz,

Aguilas Cibaenas

Ramon Rosso, RHP, PhiladelphiaRanked #39 on Philadelphia’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – Rosso did not pitch very well during his first stint in the major leagues this past season with a 6.52 ERA and 8 walks in 9.2 innings pitched. He did strike out 11 batters, though, and showed good poise on the mound. He needs to harness his control and gain more experience to be able to contribute at the major league level. His performance this month at the DOWL was a step in the right direction. Look at these numbers – in 26 innings, he walked only 6 batters, striking out 31 and giving up only 15 hits and had a tidy 3.12 ERA. If the Phillies’s owner, John Middleton, changes his mind and trades Zack Wheeler for Babe Ruth, maybe it was because of Rosso’s performance?

Do you remember? Melky Cabrera – The Melk-Man is still playing baseball. He made his debut back in 2005 with the Yankees. Cabrera played well in a limited role with Pittsburgh back in 2019. He hit .260 having 19 hits in 73 at bats with 2 home runs, showing he still can play.

Other notable players – Victor Robles, Deivy Grullon, Johan Camargo, Robel Garcia, Wilmer Difo, Juan Lagares, Marcos Diplan, Michael Ynoa, Neftali Feliz, Juan Nicasio

Toros del Este

Jesus Sanchez, OF, Miami – Ranked #4 on Miami’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – Sanchez made his major league debut this year and had only 1 hit in 25 at bats. He didn’t have the same impact as the other young Marlins did but Sanchez is an integral part of the Miami’s future. He won’t be a superstar but can develop into a solid player to contribute low-risk stats to your fantasy team. During his time in the league, he had 10 hits in 36 at bats with 1 home run during this winter.

Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa – Ranked #2 on Tampa’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – I knew Brujan was fast but I never realized that he stole 55 bases and hit 9 home runs in 2018 while going .320/.403/.459. Then he stole 48 bases in 2019. All told he has 151 steals in 399 minor league games. Brujan did very well during the DOWL going .259/.394/.315 with 8 more stolen bases to his name. He’s definitely putting himself into consideration for a 2021 call-up after making appearances in center-field, second base and shortstop.

Do you remember? Anthony Gose – Gose was drafted by the Phillies back in 2008 and was an outfielder known for his speed but had trouble hitting. During his time in Detroit, he decided to give up hitting and turn to pitching. He was always known for having a great arm in the outfield but now he uses it on the mound. Gose signed with the Indians last month with an invitation to Spring Training so he’s keeping his arm loose in the meantime. In 7 innings he had a 1.29 ERA with 8 strikeouts.

Other notable players – Jorge Mateo, Miguel Andujar, Gary Sanchez, Bruce Maxwell, Felix Pie, Jasseel De La Cruz, Jenrry Mejia

Leones del Escogido

Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle – Ranked #2 on Seattle’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 – One of the top prospects in baseball is getting his health in order after suffering a fracture on his hand prior to the start of 2020. Rodriguez turns 20 years old later this month and has the makings of a future superstar despite his numbers in the DOWL – .196/.288/.217 with 3 stolen bases.

Wander Franco, SS, Tampa – Ranked #1 on Tampa’s Preseason 2020 Top 50 and pretty much every Top Prospect list – The top ranked prospect in all of baseball played well during his time before shoulder and biceps injuries shortened his campaign. He slashed .350/.435/.500 and showed the type of skills and bat-speed that everyone has been talking about. He hit 1 home run and had 1 stolen base in his 5 games. Franco is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for Spring Training.

Do you remember? Fernando Rodney. The closer made his debut with Detroit Tigers back in 2002 and is still going strong. During his career, he has appeared in games for Detroit, Tampa Ray, Seattle, Chicago, San Diego, Miami, Arizona, Minnesota, Oakland and Washington. In 6 innings he gave up no runs and 4 hits while striking out 4 lining himself up for another year in the majors.

Other notable players – Estevan Florial, Gilbert Lara, Luis Rengifo, Joe Dunand, Franchy Cordero, Gregory Polanco, Tommy Joseph, Francis Martes

Tony Bps Spina is a lifelong baseball fan hailing from the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia! Tony has loved baseball since 1980 and has followed the Phillies through good and bad times. Tony is married with 3 kids and works for a financial institution but has enough free time to play in 20 fantasy baseball leagues with 75% of them being Dynasty Leagues. He lives a few blocks away from Citizens Bank Park and attends many Phillies games per year in addition to their minor league teams in Lehigh Valley and Reading. He can be reached on Twitter at @TonyBps1.

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