Top 20 Prospects From 2010 Latin Summer Leagues




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Bonus babies like Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and Mariners outfielder Guillermo Pimentel made their pro debuts last year in the United States, each ranking as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast and Arizona leagues, respectively. The majority of international signings, however, begin their careers in either the Dominican or Venezuelan summer leagues. Ten of the Top 100 prospects in baseball started out in the DSL, including Mariners righthander Michael Pineda, Braves righthander Randall Delgado, Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario and Mets righthander Jenrry Mejia.

Players were considered for the list if they had at least 100 plate appearances or 25 innings in the DSL or the VSL. Miguel Sano, Edward Salcedo, Orlando Calixte and Jorge Polanco all played in the DSL but did not meet the playing time cutoff, though BA readers can find their complete scouting reports in the 2011 Prospect Handbook. Players were selected based on their long-term major league potential, with a focus on players expected to play in the United States this summer. Players are listed in alphabetical order, with ages listed as of March 17.



Jorge Alfaro, c, Rangers
Age: 17. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Signed: Colombia, 2010.
Alfaro was a converted shortstop from Colombia who traveled to the Dominican Republic to train with Enrique Soto and work out for teams. In January 2010 he landed a $1.3 million bonus, a record for a Colombian amateur. Though it's difficult to find a position prospect who didn't hit in the DSL and then went on to have a productive big league career, one exception could be catchers. Ramon Hernandez hit .246/.333/.306 in 42 DSL games as an 18-year-old in 1994. Now he's in the midst of a 12-year big league career (and counting). Catchers Wilin Rosario (Rockies) and Wilson Ramos (then with the Twins) also struggled in the DSL but blossomed into Top 100 prospects. Alfaro's skill set has some similarities to Rosario's with an outstanding arm and raw power for his age. His power is obvious in batting practice, but he's still learning to manage the strike zone and take his power to game situations. He's still relatively new to catching, so he has made strides with his receiving skills, but they remain a work in progress.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
172
18
38
5
2
1
23 5
48
1
4
.221
.278 .291


Gioskar Amaya, ss, Cubs
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 175. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
The Cubs field two teams in the DSL, and one of them finished with the league's best record last year. The Cubs brought a handful of promising young players from their DSL club to instructional league last fall, including Willson Contreras, an offensive-oriented third baseman, and righthanders Starlin Peralta and Amaury Paulino, both of whom can hit 93 mph. The Cubs had a talented middle infield in the DSL with Amaya and Marco Hernandez splitting time at shortstop at second base. While Hernandez has an athletic frame and good bat speed, Amaya also has good tools and more advanced feel for the game. Amaya is a good hitter who can take his stroke to game situations because he controls the strike zone well. He has a strong lower half, makes a lot of contact and creates some loft in his swing with gap power. Amaya isn't a premium quick-twitch athlete, but he runs well and has a high baseball IQ, showing good hands, solid feet and a solid arm in the field.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
238 33
67
8
3
1
29
28
33
18
8
.282
.375 .353


Xander Bogaerts, ss, Red Sox
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 175. Signed: Aruba, 2009.
The Red Sox paid $1.95 million to Dominican shortstop Jose Vinicio in 2009, but Bogaerts, a fellow '09 international signing, has developed into the better prospect. Bogaerts signed for $410,000, and Boston also signed his twin brother Jair, a catcher/first baseman, for $180,000. Bogaerts had an outstanding pro debut, leading the DSL Red Sox in average, slugging and OPS. He has good bat speed thanks to the strength in his hands and wrists. He has a sound swing, a solid approach at the plate and makes a lot of contact. He can drive the ball to the opposite field and should have above-average power once he fills out his large, athletic frame. Bogaerts has some quickness, but he's around an average runner and will slow down as he adds weight. He made 21 errors in 59 games at shortstop last year and profiles better at third base, where his plus arm would be an asset.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
239 39
75
7
5
3
42
30
37
4
5
.314
.396 .423


Jorge Bonifacio, of, Royals
Age: 17. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 192. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
The younger brother of the Marlins' Emilio Bonifacio, Jorge is a very different type of player from his older brother. While Emilio is a speedy, light-hitting utility man, the physical Jorge has more size and potential with the bat. Before an August promotion to the Arizona League, Bonifacio dominated the DSL, tying for ninth in the league in OBP and tying for seventh in slugging. He has a solid swing and very good hand-eye coordination. He makes a lot of contact with a short, quick stroke and controls the strike zone. He's not a power hitter yet but projects to fill out significantly. Bonifacio is a solid-average runner who played primarily center field last year, though long-term he projects better as a corner outfielder.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
164
22
55
16
2
1
28 26
27
13
5
.335
.429 .476


Yeicok Calderon, of, Yankees
Age: 19. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008.
Calderon was one of the top bats on the international market in 2008, when he signed on July 2 for $650,000. His bat delivered as advertised in his pro debut in 2009, when he hit .321/.440/.415 in 241 DSL plate appearances. The Yankees had Calderon repeat the league last year, and he responded by showing more power and improved defense. He led the league in slugging (.551), ranked third in OBP (.439), second in home runs (8) and fifth in average (.339). Calderon's bat is advanced, he controls the strike zone well and he has above-average power. His defense was crude after his first season in the DSL, but he made some progress last year with his routes and reads off the bat in right field. His bat, though, is what will have to carry him. He should join the Yankees' Gulf Coast League club this summer.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
245 40
83
16
6
8
44
43
56
5
4
.339
.439 .551


Vicente Campos, rhp, Mariners
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195. Signed: Venezuela, 2009.
DSL righthander Jochi Ogando has a power arm, but Campos is more advanced. He flashes a plus fastball with heavy life that can miss bats and get ground balls. He shows a solid but inconsistent breaking ball and is still refining his mechanics, but he's a solid strike-thrower for his age. Once Campos fills out his large, projectable frame, he could be overpowering and could move quickly. While he may be on a slower timetable, but Mariners outfielder Alexy Palma was one of the top hitters in the VSL, where he hit .276/.387/.395 in 61 games as a 17-year-old. Now 18, Palma projects to be a large-framed, power-hitting corner outfielder once he adds weight to his 6-foot-3, 180-pound body. He might repeat the VSL to make sure he gets regular at-bats.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13
12
8
2
0 3.16
57
49
22
20
0
19
59
.231


Jodaneli Carvajal, ss/2b, Pirates
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 145. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
Though he went a perfect 17-for-17 stealing bases, Carvajal didn't hit much in his first crack at the DSL in 2009. He fared much better last year, showing why the Pirates signed him for $350,000 as a 16-year-old in 2008. Carval is a good athlete with electric speed. He's undersized and will never hit for much power, but he puts the ball in play and takes advantage of his plus-plus wheels. Like many young players in the DSL, Carvajal is still learning how to manage his at-bats, but he made strides with his approach at the plate as the season went along. He hit leadoff and showed good hands as the DSL Pirates' primary shortstop, spending time at second base as well.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
237 58
72
8
4
1
24
26
41
23
11
.304
.382 .384
 

Rosell Herrera, ss, Rockies
Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
When Herrera was an amateur in 2009, he stood out for his size and projectable power from both sides of the plate, which prompted the Rockies to sign him for $550,000. Herrera's power hasn't shown up in games yet, but there is still plenty of room for growth left in his body, and he showed better ability to handle the bat than some scouts had expected. He does a good job for his age and size of controlling the strike zone. Some scouts had questions about whether Herrera's swing would be conducive to hitting for average, something he'll still have to answer after hitting .237 last year, but he makes a lot of contact. He shows good baseball instincts and overall feel for the game. His physical development will likely dictate his defensive future. He a fringe-average runner out of the box, but he's a tick better underway, and his body has so much room for growth that he could still either get faster or slow down. Herrera had funky throwing mechanics from a low arm slot before he signed, but the Rockies' coaches cleaned up his arm action to help him get better carry on his throws with solid-average arm strength. The Rockies don't have an Arizona League affiliate, so Herrera will face a stiff test this summer in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
232 27
55
6
1
1
26
24
24
17
8
.237
.323 .284
 

Johendi Jiminian, rhp, Rockies
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 175. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010.
Righthanders Raul Fernandez (a converted catcher), Gustavo Brazoban and Jefri Hernandez can all dial their fastballs up to the mid-90s and could be power bullpen arms, while lefty Jayson Aquino finished third in the league in ERA (1.02) despite being one of the league's youngest pitchers. The best of all of Colorado's DSL arms might be Jiminian, who was one of the top pitchers available for the July 2, 2009, signing class, but he didn't sign until January 2010. He stood out at the time for his size, loose arm and feel for pitching with a fastball that topped out at 91 mph. He has slowly filled out his frame, sitting at 89-92 and touching 94 last summer. Jiminian throws strikes with a three-pitch mix, including a curveball and a changeup that could be at least average offerings in the future. He still hasn't added much weight since signing, so while he could add a few more ticks to his fastball, he'll need to get stronger to handle a larger workload. He has the stuff to compete in the AZL, but because the Rockies don't have a team in the league, Jiminian will likely repeat the DSL rather than make the jump to the Pioneer League this summer.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12
11
3
5
0 4.40
47
46
31
23
1
17
31
.256
 

Bryan Martinez, rhp, Cardinals
Age: 20. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 172. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
Martinez—no relation to Cardinals righthander Carlos Martinez—is a skinny righthander who chewed through the DSL for six weeks before making the jump to the GCL in mid-July. Martinez has short arm action and deception, but he's more than smoke and mirrors. He throws both a two- and a four-seam fastball, ranging from 90-93 mph with good sink on his two-seamer, which helped him rack up an abundance of grounders last year. He backs it up with an above-average slider that is an out pitch when it's on, showing good depth and sharp, late action. He'll throw an occasional changeup, though it's his No. 3 pitch right now. Martinez is effective pitching on the inner half of the plate—perhaps too far inside at times, as he did hit 14 batters—and he's a solid strike-thrower for his age, though he'll still need refinement.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
8
8
2
1
0 2.97
36.1
20
15
12
0
13
55
.156
 

Carlos Martinez, rhp, Cardinals
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 165. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010.
Martinez originally agreed to terms with the Red Sox in 2009 when he was known as Carlos Matias, but that deal was never approved and MLB suspended him for one year for misrepresenting his paperwork. During his suspension, Martinez's fastball soared to the high 90s, skyrocketing his status as a prospect. He agreed to terms with the Cardinals for $1.5 million in April, dominated the DSL while awaiting contract approval, then received his visa using the same date of birth he had presented to the Red Sox in '09. During the DSL season, Martinez displayed good control of a fastball that sat in the mid-90s with some cutting action and regularly touched 98 mph late into his starts. At the team's Dominican instructional league this winter, Martinez hit 100 mph. His secondary pitches aren't as electric, but he sharpened his curveball last summer and flashed a changeup that could be at least an average pitch in the future, showing the ability to mix his pitches rather than just overpower hitters.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12
12
3
2
0 0.76
59
28
8
5
1
14
78 .144
 

Wagner Mateo, of, Diamondbacks
Age: 17. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 190. Signed:Dominican Republic, 2010 .
Mateo's story has become well-known. He agreed to a $3.1 million bonus with St. Louis on July 2, 2009, but that deal was never finalized due to the Cardinals' issues with Mateo's vision. Mateo went back to working out for teams, then signed with the Diamondbacks for $512,500 last year in May. Mateo was a high-profile prospect because of his upside as a power-hitting corner outfielder. He has plus raw power and can hit the ball out of the park to all fields. He has a solid swing and can hammer fastballs, but he'll have to make more contact against offspeed stuff after ranking second in the DSL in strikeouts. He's around an average runner who will likely be below-average as he continues to fill out his stocky frame, though he's more athletic than he looks and can become a solid right fielder with a good arm.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
237
45
61
14
4
4
45
35
83
16
10
.257
.359 .401


Jose Montero, rhp, Astros
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010.
Houston added two high-profile pitchers prior to July 2 last year when they landed Montero and righthander Michael Feliz in May. While Montero's $350,000 signing bonus was $50,000 less than Feliz's, Montero is the better prospect and was the Astros' top pitcher in the DSL. Montero has some similarities to Padres righthander Simon Castro. Like Castro, Montero is a fastball/slider pitcher with a three-quarters arm slot and a similar projectable body. Montero gets solid sink on his 89-93 mph fastball, while his slider can miss bats and could become a true out-pitch once he learns to stay on top of it with more consistency. Like many young Dominican arms, Montero has a changeup but hasn't used it much in games. He went to instructional league in the fall and should begin this season in the GCL, though there's a chance the Astros could push him to the Rookie-level Appalachian League.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13
13
1
3
0
2.59
55.2
47
22
16
0
24
48 .227


Brenny Paulino, rhp, Tigers
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 170. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2006.
Praulino signed for $100,000 as a lanky righthander with a projectable body and a mid-to-high 80s fastball. As he's started to fill out his frame, Paulino's fastball has become a plus pitch, topping out at 95 mph, and now his curveball and changeup are starting to come along. He can blow his fastball by hitters, but he can also get ground balls as well. Paulino still is learning to repeat his delivery, and he'll need to throw more strikes after walking nearly a batter per inning last year. However, that trait is not too uncommon for promising power arms in the DSL—Ubaldo Jimenez, Kelvim Escobar and Damaso Marte all had near similar walk rates when they were in the league. Paulino should make his U.S. debut this year in the GCL.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
16
15
1
6
0
3.88
46.1
34
31
20
0
45
55
.205


David Perez, rhp, Rangers
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 200. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
The Rangers led the DSL in ERA, and Perez and righthander Abel de los Santos were the leaders of the pitching staff. Perez stood out as an amateur for his projectable body, loose arm and feel for pitching with an 86-89 mph fastball. Texas signed him for $425,000, which appears to be a bargain given his development since signing. Perez has added weight and seen his fastball jump to the 88-93 range, with a max velocity of 95. His repeatable mechanics and feel for pitching were evident in the DSL, where he averaged only one walk per nine innings. Perez also shows feel for a curveball he delivers in the mid-70s and for a changeup as well. After a year of getting acclimated to pro ball in the DSL, Perez is advanced enough that he could skip the Arizona League and spend 2011 with short-season Spokane.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
14
14
4
4
0
1.41
70
50
20
11
0
8
68
.201


Osmel Perez, rhp, Brewers
Age: 17. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 196. Signed: Venezuela, 2010.
Scouting small towns in Venezuela can be a challenge, which is what the Brewers had to do last year to evaluate Perez, who grew up along the northern coast. Perez signed last March for $128,000, a potential bargain given his stuff, performance and projectability. The Brewers limited Perez's workload in his pro debut last year, but he has good size and loose arm action. He throws 91-93 mph and touches 94, with the projection for more velocity in the future. Perez has an advanced changeup for his age, a solid slider and good feel for pitching for a 17-year-old. He'll likely make his U.S. debut this summer.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12
3
1
1
0
2.51
28.2
28
13
8
0
10
27
.237
 

Luigi Rodriguez, of/2b, Indians
Age: 18. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 160. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
Rodriguez's best tool is his plus-plus speed, which he showed in his pro debut by leading the DSL in triples (10) and tying for fifth in stolen bases (31). Rodriguez doesn't have any other premium physical tools, but he has a promising skill set with the ability to hit, get on base and play an up-the-middle defensive position. He has an advanced idea of what he's doing at the plate. He has good plate discipline and a clean swing path, showing a quick, direct stroke with the ability to make a lot of contact and the willingness to work the count. Rodriguez doesn't have great size and projects for average power at best, so he'll have to rely more on his on-base skills than his pop. He's a good athlete, but his defensive skill set wasn't a good fit as an infielder, so he moved to center field after spending a month at second base in the DSL. He should debut in the AZL this summer.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
206
43
62
7
10
2
27
36
35
31
9
.301
.403 .461
 

Ravel Santana, of, Yankees
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 160. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
The Yankees' DSL squad was filled with expensive signings like Calderon, shortstop Gian Carlos Arias and Ericson Leonora, among others, but the team's best prospect was Santana, a toolsy 2009 signee for $145,000. Santana led the DSL in home runs (10), finished second in OPS (.973) and ranked among the league's top 10 in OBP, slugging, stolen bases and walks. He's an advanced hitter for his age, has good plate discipline and shows above-average power. He has above-average speed and could play center or right field. Even with as much success as he had at the plate, Santana's best tool is his plus-plus arm.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
199
46
64
10
1
10
38
35
38
22
5
.322
.440 .533
 

Ronald Torreyes, ss/2b, Reds
Age: 18. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 5-7. Wt.: 150. Signed: Venezuela, 2010.
Torreyes was one of the top hitters on Venezuelan youth national teams as an amateur, but because of his diminutive stature he signed with the Reds last year in February for just $40,000. He went out and raked last year in the VSL, showing remarkable hand-eye coordination and surprising power, prompting the Reds to bring him to the Arizona League in August. Torreyes continued hitting in Arizona, finished his season with low Class A Dayton and even got brief playing time this spring at big league camp. Torreyes isn't toolsy, but he's a fundamentally sound player with excellent feel for hitting and bat control. He played shortstop and third base in the VSL, then played exclusively at second base upon coming to the U.S. He's a good defender who knows how to position himself and reads hops well, though his below-average arm plays best at second.
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
241
56
94
20
10
4
33
23
11 23
15
.390
.468 .606
 

Jose Urena, rhp, Marlins
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2008.
The Marlins signed Urena as a lanky, projectable Dominican with a loose, live arm, and his projection is starting to come through. Urena has a free and easy arm that delivers fastballs in the low 90s, and he touches 94 mph with the potential to throw harder down the road. He's an outstanding strike-thrower for his age, repeats his delivery and has a good idea of how to pitch. He throws strikes with all four of his pitches—fastball, curveball, slider and changeup—and does a good job of mixing his pitches and throwing them in any count, with the slider the most advanced of his secondary offerings. Urena likely will make his U.S. debut in the GCL this summer.
 
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
13
13
5
6
0 2.61
82.2
76
32
24
2
7
66
.241