|DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE PITCHERS|
|Pedro Martinez, 1988||16||LAD||3.10||49||45||25||17||16||28||2.9||5.1|
|Pedro Martinez, 1989||17||LAD||2.73||86||59||30||26||25||63||2.6||6.6|
|Al Reyes, 1989||18||MON||2.79||71||68||36||22||33||49||4.2||6.2|
|Armando Benitez, 1990||17||BAL||2.71||43.1||39||204||23||13||1||7||20||34||3||4.2||7.1|
|Salomon Torres, 1990||18||SFG||0.50||90||44||336||12||5||0||3||27||101||5||2.7||10.1|
|Antonio Alfonseca, 1990||18||MON||3.65||59.2||60||310||59||24||0||5||32||19||3||4.9||2.9|
|Giovani Carrara, 1990||22||TOR||2.64||85.2||88||354||31||25||0||3||28||55||3||3.0||5.8|
|Julian Tavarez, 1990||17||CLE||11.57||4.2||6||26||6||6||0||1||7||1||1||15.0||2.1|
|Julian Tavarez, 1991||18||CLE||2.67||121.1||95||475||41||36||1||10||28||75||4||2.1||5.6|
|Kelvim Escobar, 1993||17||TOR||4.13||32.2||34||156||17||15||1||25||31||4||7.0||8.7|
|Bartolo Colon, 1993||20||CLE||2.59||66||44||265||24||19||0||0||33||43||2||4.5||5.9|
|Octavio Dotel, 1993||19||NYM||4.10||59.1||46||260||30||27||1||6||38||48||6||5.8||7.3|
|Octavio Dotel, 1994||20||NYM||4.32||81.1||84||359||53||39||12||0||31||95||7||3.4||10.5|
|Damaso Marte, 1993||18||SEA||6.55||56.1||62||284||48||41||5||7||50||29||4||8.0||4.7|
|Damaso Marte, 1994||19||SEA||3.86||65.1||53||297||41||28||5||0||48||80||12||6.6||11.1|
|Francisco Cordero, 1994||19||DET||3.90||60||65||272||47||26||1||0||27||36||3||4.1||5.4|
|Freddy Garcia, 1994||19||HOU||5.29||85||80||389||61||50||1||0||38||68||11||4.0||7.2|
|Ramon Ortiz, 1995||22||LAA||2.23||97||79||466||44||24||2||3||54||100||6||5.0||9.3|
|Luis Vizcaino, 1995||20||OAK||2.27||115||93||477||41||29||3||3||29||89||10||2.3||7.0|
|Johan Santana, 1996||17||HOU||2.70||40||26||168||16||12||1||0||22||51||5||5.0||11.5|
|Joaquin Benoit, 1996||18||TEX||2.28||75||63||313||26||19||4||0||23||63||2||2.8||7.6|
|Julio Mateo, 1996||18||SEA||1.74||51.2||42||212||14||10||3||0||19||23||1||3.3||4.0|
|Jorge Julio, 1996||17||MON||6.06||16.1||13||71||12||11||1||0||11||21||3||6.1||11.7|
|Jesus Colome, 1997||19||OAK||2.71||89.2||73||350||33||27||4||5||22||55||7||2.2||5.5|
|Duaner Sanchez, 1997||17||ARI||5.13||59.2||57||282||50||34||3||2||48||44||9||7.3||6.7|
|Duaner Sanchez, 1998||18||ARI||1.79||50.1||36||211||19||10||0||7||24||44||6||4.3||7.9|
|Jose Valverde, 1997||17||ARI||5.30||18.2||20||90||12||11||1||2||13||19||6||6.4||9.4|
|Jose Valverde, 1998||18||ARI||1.75||51.1||31||210||14||10||2||2||22||56||3||3.9||9.9|
|Gustavo Chacin, 1998||17||TOR||2.70||36.2||28||148||12||11||0||1||15||56||2||3.7||13.9|
|Frank Francisco, 1998||18||BOS||10.31||48||44||263||66||55||4||3||76||53||21||14.3||9.9|
|Fausto Carmona, 2001||17||CLE||3.11||75.1||69||311||36||26||0||6||12||47||4||1.4||5.6|
|Manny Corpas, 2001||18||COL||2.24||56.1||56||248||23||14||0||9||17||41||8||2.7||6.6|
|Ubaldo Jimenez, 2001||17||COL||4.88||48||41||235||36||26||1||11||44||36||13||8.3||6.8|
|Ubaldo Jimenez, 2002||18||COL||0.00||18.1||10||72||1||0||0||0||6||25||4||3.0||12.4|
|Edinson Volquez, 2002||18||TEX||2.68||47||45||194||19||14||1||4||14||58||4||2.7||11.1|
|Rafael Perez, 2002||20||CLE||0.96||75.1||58||296||14||8||3||1||16||81||6||1.9||9.7|
Sometimes a pitcher dominates the DSL. Johan Santana, Edinson Volquez and Gustavo Chacin all were stellar in the DSL, posting ERAs below 3.00 and striking out more than 11 batters per nine innings (though Santana pitched as a reliever). Jose Valverde was a lights-out closer for Arizona in the DSL in 1998. Fausto Carmona had a modest strikeout rate, but he maintained a 3.11 ERA, walked just 1.4 batters per nine and allowed zero home runs in 75 1/3 innings.
But mostly the performance record doesn't seem to tell us much, even the peripheral numbers that tend to have more predictive value. Our sample of pitchers combined to walk 4.1 batters per nine innings and strike out 7.5 per nine—pedestrian numbers for the low minors. Pedro Martinez, who ranks 13th on MLB's all-time strikeout list with 3,117, whiffed just 5.1 batters per nine innings in his first year in the DSL and 6.6 per nine the following season. Colon's 1,569 career strikeouts put him among the top 150 of all time in that category, yet he struck out just 5.9 batters per nine even as a 20-year-old.
There are plenty of ugly strikeout-to-walk ratios. Kelvim Escobar walked 25 batters in 32 2/3 innings. Damaso Marte walked 50 and struck out 29 in 56 1/3 innings. Ubaldo Jimenez also had more walks (44) than strikeouts (36) in 48 innings in 2001, showing that he was about as raw as they come by also throwing 13 wild pitches, hitting 11 batters and committing seven balks.
At the DSL level, pitchers tend to be extremely raw, in terms of everything from the quality of their stuff to their mechanics to their knowledge of how to attack hitters. Pitchers—especially the ones who have large, projectable frames—are often still growing into their bodies. That growth, which sometimes includes an increase in height, can make it difficult for a pitcher to harness his mechanics, repeat his release point and, in turn, control his pitches. Many of these pitchers haven't maxed out with their peak fastball velocity yet, so as a pitcher fills out and refines his mechanics, he can go from having a mid-80s fastball to throwing in the low-90s.
Take 20-year-old Kelvin de la Cruz. The 6-foot-5 lefthander signed with the Indians out of the Dominican Republic in 2004, when he topped out in the mid-80s with his fastball. As he's matured with his mechanics and filled out his frame, his peak fastball velocity has grown to 94 mph, sitting at 89-92 with possibly room for more gains. As a 16-year-old in the DSL in 2004, de la Cruz struck out 17 percent of the 229 batters he faced. Last season as a 19-year-old with low Class A Lake County, de la Cruz whiffed 25 percent of the 386 batters he faced. We normally wouldn't expect a pitcher's strikeout rate to increase as he climbs the minor league ladder, but when a pitcher can dramatically improve how hard he throws between 16 and 20 years old, that difference in input can dramatically affect the output.
While the improvement of the four-seam fastball helps many pitchers, others at the DSL level benefit from their first taste of professional instruction. Players at that age don't usually have command of their offspeed stuff, and the changeup is rarely even an average pitch in their first season. Introducing a two-seam fastball to a pitcher's repertoire can also help a pitcher take off, as it did for Rockies righthander Jhoulys Chacin.
If a pitcher in the DSL has good stuff and is putting up good numbers, then that's great, and it could be a sign of both projectability and some polish. But even if a pitcher's performance in the DSL is either mediocre or even downright dreadful, it doesn't seem to matter all that much, as long as scouts see projection there.