• See Also: 2015 DSL/VSL Top 20
• See Also: 2014 DSL/VSL Top 20
• See Also: 2013 DSL/VSL Top 20
• See Also: 2012 DSL/VSL Top 20
• See Also: 2011 DSL/VSL Top 20
• See Also: 2010 DSL/VSL Top 20
Prospects in the Dominican Summer League are coming up in trade discussions with greater frequency than ever before. Yes, they're far away from being able to make an impact on the major league roster, but there's high-reward potential if a general manager can get one of his counterparts to include a DSL prospect in a trade as a throw-in who could provide a payoff down the road, especially before that player's value potentially soars once he gets to a full-season league.
The DSL is a level where teams can find sleeper prospects with breakout potential. The Venezuelan Summer League folded last year, so this year's Top 20 list only includes players from the DSL last year. Previous Top 20 lists from those leagues going back to 2010 have included Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Martinez, Ketel Marte, Orlando Arcia, Victor Robles, Manuel Margot, Francis Martes, Jorge Mateo, Antonio Senzatela, Jorge Alfaro, Franklin Perez and Ronald Torreyes, among other big leaguers and current prominent prospects in the minor leagues.
To qualify for the DSL Top 20 list, the playing time cutoff is at least 70 plate appearances or 20 innings, so Twins shortstop Wander Javier wasn't eligible. Neither were any players who ranked on one of Baseball America's League Top 20 lists in another league. Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras and Cardinals righthander Alvaro Seijas were two of the best prospects to participate in the DSL last year, but there isn't much new to add on them, and I would rather put the focus here on prospects who aren't as well-known yet. The DSL also saw a handful of Cuban players who participated in the league. Since those players were there to save money on taxes and not for player development reasons, I didn't include them on this list, focusing instead on the younger prospects in the league.
In trying to identify the best future major leaguers in the league, my focus on this list was on:
• Position players who performed well and have the tools to continue to do so as they advance. There are instances of major leaguers who struggled in the DSL, but not hitting at the lowest level of the ladder is a red flag, and history shows a combination of tools and performance is usually the best bet for future success. Marlins outfielder Albert Guaimaro and Pirates outfielder Kevin "Lolo" Sanchez would be two others to watch who didn't perform well but are still intriguing prospects.
• Pitchers who project as starters. This list is hitter-heavy, and while there are prospects around the league who throw hard and are legitimate prospects, pitchers who project to stick in the starting rotation generally have more value than relievers.
For BA subscribers, here are BA's Top 20 DSL prospects. Players are listed with their ages as of today and are in alphabetical order.