11 Exciting Prospects Making Their Stateside Debuts In 2023
Recently, BA profiled a group of players to monitor who are anticipated to make their full-season debuts in 2023. Today, we work backward further, to take a look at 11 players who are slated to come stateside after spending the entirety of their careers in the Dominican Summer League.
The list contains players who are already famous, like the Angels’ Nelson Rada and the Dodgers’ Josue De Paula, but also includes a few more players who have flown a little farther under the radar.
There are certainly plenty of prospects who would fit comfortably here, but this group will give you a taste of the talent set to hit the domestic complex leagues this coming summer.
Dyan Jorge, SS, Rockies
Jorge was signed for $2.8 million out of Cuba in 2022 and spent his first pro season as one of the older players in the DSL. In his first test as a pro, the ultra-projectable Jorge showed an impressive combination of contact and strike-zone discipline and the speed and instincts to stick up the middle. He’s a plus runner on pure speed but could stand to sharpen his instincts, as shown by his 13 stolen bases in 23 tries. He sometimes gets too passive at the plate and could see an uptick in his offensive output in 2023 if he learns to let it rip more often on hittable pitches.
Josue De Paula, OF, Dodgers
De Paula’s name began to bubble toward the end of the season after a very strong opening campaign in the DSL, where he finished with more walks (32) than strikeouts (31). De Paula is lean and strong and impacts baseballs with a powerful, balanced swing from the left side. Where he winds up on defense is more of a question that will likely be answered by the way his body develops. He’ll have the skill set to profile either in right field or at first base, both of which are potential homes down the line.
Engelth Urena, C, Yankees
Ureña is one of the most intriguing young prospects in New York’s system and might have earned himself a little more fame were it not for an injury suffered in the early days of the DSL season, when he homered with what was later diagnosed as a broken hand. The sample size was extremely small, but Ureña also showed very small rates of chase and zone miss. Ureña is a converted outfielder who is raw behind the plate, but his offensive upside makes him one to watch during the Florida Complex League season.
Byron Chourio, OF, Twins
Chourio—who is not related to either Jackson or Jaison—was already impressive enough to be included in the trade that sent Pablo Lopez to Minnesota. Chourio is a switch-hitter who made sound swing decisions and showed solid plate discipline in the DSL. He will need to make more impact on contact, but there’s plenty of room in his frame for growth. Chourio’s speed and arm strength earn above-average marks, so there’s a chance he could stick in center field if his body maintains the same level of athleticism as he matures.
Jose Rodriguez, OF, Twins
The second of two intriguing Twins prospects is Rodriguez, who spent his first pro season earning a rep as a big-time basher. His 13 home runs led the DSL and were the most in the league since Malcom Nunez hit 13 during the 2018 season. He’s already reached 90th percentile exit velocities of 103.5 mph. He can turn on fastballs with the best of them but—like most young players—is susceptible to offspeed stuff and pitchers who can command the ball. His stateside debut will begin to tell the tale of whether his power will translate up the ladder.
Jose Fleury, RHP, Astros
If you haven’t noticed, the Astros have done really well finding and developing pitching in recent years. Their postseason roster was littered with gems like Cristian Javier, Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia. Miguel Ullola took steps in 2022 toward perhaps being the next on that list, but Fleury might not be far behind. He’s an athletic righthander with a four-pitch mix, including a fastball that sits in the low 90s and reaches 94 mph. His best offspeed pitch is a changeup that projects as a true plus offering. Both of his breaking balls project to be at least average with further consistency, and Fleury showed solid command as well.
Nelson Rada, OF, Angels
Rada was one of the youngest players in the 2022 international class and will play the vast majority of the coming season as a 17-year-old. Nevertheless, he showed out in the DSL, where he drew walks and strikeouts in equal measure—26 apiece—and collected a dozen doubles as well. He didn’t hit the ball particularly hard, but he showed the skills to profile as a potential center fielder who hits toward the top of the order one day many years from now.
Leandro Lopez, RHP, Rangers
In 2022, Emiliano Teodo stood out as one of the Rangers’ biggest breakout arms. This year, that honor might go to Lopez, who previously went by the surname Calderon and spent 2022 repeating the DSL because of issues with his visa. Lopez’s stuff is loud, with a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and a high-spin curveball in the upper 70s. He is a converted shortstop who showed athleticism and natural feel to spin the ball. His command is scattershot but the tools are there to blow away hitters at the lower levels and one day fit as a power reliever.
Matt's Prospect Breakout Team For 2023
These are my picks for the young players most likely to break through to Top 100 Prospects status in 2023, one player at each position.
Jordarlin Mendoza, RHP, Yankees
Mendoza was a low-dollar sign out of the Dominican Republic in June of 2021. He made one appearance that summer before getting a full workload last season. He led the DSL with 77 strikeouts in 55 innings. Mendoza, who is a converted outfielder, has a clean arm action and an excellent feel to spin the ball. He pairs a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a high-spin breaking ball. He has feel for a changeup, but it’s a third pitch at this point. With further development, the entirety of his pitch mix could be above-average.
Jaison Chourio, OF, Guardians
The younger brother of Brewers top prospect Jackson Chourio, Jaison has a different skill set but is an interesting prospect in his own right. He made a ton of contact in his first foray in pro ball, striking out at a clip of just 12.6%. He also drew 40 walks (against just 22 strikeouts) while posting excellent rates of chase (21%) and zone miss (10%). He’s more of a table-setter than his brother, but should be worth watching once the Arizona Complex League kicks into gear this summer.
Santiago Suarez, RHP, Rays
Suarez—who moved from the Marlins to the Rays in the deal that brought Xavier Edwards and JT Chargois to Miami—joins Byron Chourio as players on the list who were traded before coming stateside. He debuted just 10 days after signing with Miami and showed a combination of athleticism and polish that made him an enticing lottery ticket. All three of his pitches—fastball, curveball and changeup—have a chance to be 50s or 55s on the 20-80 scouting scale. His changeup is the least developed pitch in his arsenal, but it showed promise in the DSL. He could have the ceiling of a back-end starter.