20 Dominican Summer League Prospects With Breakout Potential


Image credit: Yolfran Castillo

Most people—or at least those of us who follow first-year international prospects—know who the big names are who signed on Jan. 15. We highlighted 15 of the top players to watch this year in the Dominican Summer League.

A lot of the best future big leaguers won’t be the million-dollar signings. Part of that is just a numbers game. There are years when close to 1,000 international players sign, but there are usually just 40 to 50 who sign for at least $1 million. 

Yet even by the time players sign their contracts on Jan. 15, the bonus might not necessarily reflect a player’s value. Players often reach agreements to sign with a team multiple years before they can officially sign, so teams every year have players who signed for lower or mid-range bonuses who might have surpassed players who got more money. Sometimes a player ends up getting so much better that the team ends up revising his bonus to a higher amount than their initial agreement. 

Who are the breakout prospects to watch in the DSL this year? To call someone a breakout candidate for this exercise, I’m ruling out anyone who signed for a top 50 bonus this year—basically anyone who signed for $800,000 or above, since those are the big-ticket signings. For more on them, we have a story on 15 big international prospects to watch in the DSL. We also put pitchers in their own bucket with reports on 20 of the top pitching prospects in the DSL

These are 20 position prospects in the DSL who have breakout potential.

Dexters Peralta, SS, Yankees

Peralta has a lot of arrows pointing up. He’s a $500,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic at 16 with a lean, athletic build (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) that has potential for significant strength gains. It’s a smooth, low-effort swing from both sides of the plate with good path and feel for the barrel. He drives the ball well from gap to gap now with loft in his swing and the bat speed for him to develop at least average power. He’s a plus runner and a good athlete at shortstop with a strong arm. Catcher Queni Pineda, shortstop Christopher Sanchez and speedy center fielder Browm Martinez give the Yankees three more sleepers to watch in the middle of the field in their DSL lineup. 

Yairo Padilla, SS, Cardinals

Padilla could end up being one of the better shortstops the Cardinals have signed in years. He’s a 16-year-old switch-hitter signed for $760,000, the highest bonus the Cardinals gave a position prospect in 2024. He offers a good blend of physical projection (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) and hitting ability with a chance to stick at the position. He has hit well in games, staying calm and balanced with the ability to recognize pitches and make frequent contact. His swing path generates loft, with flashes of power now that should grow once he’s physically mature. There’s a chance Padilla gets too big and outgrows shortstop, but he has the actions for the infield and a plus arm that could get even stronger once he fills out. Padilla and catcher Rainel Rodriguez are two big bats to watch in the DSL Cardinals lineup. 

Gabriel Rodriguez, SS, Guardians

Rodriguez isn’t quite as tooled up as some of the other top prospects in the DSL, but he has the actions, instincts and all-around game skills that make him one of the top players to watch in the league. Signed out of Venezuela for $500,000, Rodriguez is 6 feet, 160 pounds at 17 with a quick, direct cut from the left side. He has a good eye for the strike zone, picks up spin and has the hand-eye coordination that leads to a high contact rate against both fastballs and soft stuff. He’s a potential high OBP hitter with doubles power and the potential for more impact to come once he layers on more strength, with what should be a hit-over-power game. His instincts are evident at shortstop, where he’s an athletic, fluid mover with good hands, footwork and ability to make off-balance throws on the run with an average arm. 

Roldy Brito, SS, Rockies

Signed for $420,000 out of the Dominican Republic, Brito is one of the more electric athletes in the DSL. And while there are plenty of other good athletes there who are still fairly raw for their age, Brito combines quick-twitch athleticism with a knack for putting the ball in play. He’s a 17-year-old, switch-hitting shortstop whose speed grades out at the top of the 20-80 scale. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, he’s a high-contact hitter who has grown into the strength to occasionally pull a ball over the fence, but with an approach that caters more to line drives and using his wheels to leg out doubles and triples. Brito has spent time both at shortstop and center field but since signing has been focused on developing at shortstop. 

Raily Liriano, OF, D-backs

Liriano signed for $400,000 out of the Dominican Republic because of his tools and athleticism, a high-risk, high-reward play with some rawness to his game. The early signs have been encouraging, with Liriano hitting a home run in each of his first four DSL preseason games. He’s 6-foot-2, 160 pounds at 17 with raw power that’s flashing plus now and could end up a 70 on the 20-80 scale. He’s a plus or better runner, making him a potential power/speed threat. Scouts who saw Liriano as an amateur had concerns about swing-and-miss, especially against breaking balls, and a pull-happy approach, but he has worked to try to shorten his swing. He has the speed for now to develop in center field, where he’s learning to improve his instincts, and has an above-average arm if he does have to go to right field. 

Angel Guzman, SS, Blue Jays

A 5-foot-11, 160-pound switch-hitter, Guzman signed out of the Dominican Republic for $767,500. He was a high-profile player as an amateur with his mix of athleticism and hitting ability. He has a smooth, compact swing and a low swing-and-miss rate, using the whole field with a line-drive approach and gap power. He’s a plus runner with a chance to stick at shortstop with his athleticism, lateral agility, actions and an above-average arm. 

Anderson Navas, C, Phillies

Navas just looks different. He’s 6-foot-4, 180 pounds at 17, so he’s tall for a catcher, but he’s loose and flexible behind the plate. His best tool is his arm, a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He’s an accurate thrower who even with a longer arm stroke is consistently under 2.0 seconds on his pop times and under 1.9 seconds on his best bolts. He’s still polishing his receiving, but he’s athletic (even running plus underway now, though that will back up) with the raw tools there for him to be a standout defender. It’s a power-over-hit offensive profile, with some swing-and-miss that comes from length in his righthanded swing, but a chance to develop into a power-hitting catcher. He signed for $250,000 out of Venezuela and gives the Phillies two potential breakout players up the middle in the DSL along with speedy center fielder Nathan Cijntje from Curacao. 

Elvin Garcia, SS, Orioles

The Orioles signed Garcia out of the Dominican Republic for $500,000, landing a 17-year-old shortstop with a balanced skill set. He’s 6-foot-2, 165 pounds with good feel for the barrel from both sides of the plate, making frequent contact with a line-drive approach and gap power. Garcia is starting to be able to drive the ball out to his pull side and should have more power to come once he fills out his wiry frame. He’s a good athlete and a plus runner with a good chance to stay at shortstop. Garcia is a high baseball IQ player with smooth actions and a plus arm. 

Yolfran Castillo, SS, Rangers

Castillo and outfielder Paulino Santana were two of the top signings this year for the Rangers, who will be strong up the middle this year in the DSL. A Venezuelan shortstop signed for $647,500, Castillo was a smaller player early in the scouting process but hit a growth spurt to 6-foot-3, 165 pounds. He had good bat-to-ball skills before he grew and that has held as he’s gotten bigger and made swing adjustments, with more physical upside now to grow his gap power into bigger home run juice. He’s a plus runner whose physical development will in part guide his future defensive home, but he has the athleticism, instincts and above-average arm that gives him a good chance to handle shortstop. 

Gabriel Guanchez, C, Mariners

Guanchez was one of the top catchers this year when he signed out of Venezuela for $500,000 and he continued on an upward trend. He’s 6-foot-2, 195 pounds with the hands and plus arm to stick at catcher. That stood out early on during the amateur scouting process, but the offensive development Guanchez has shown over the past year has been particularly encouraging. He has shortened his righthanded swing, shown more bat speed and hit well in games, driving the ball for hard contact from a flat path geared to use the opposite field. There are flashes of above-average power that he could start to tap into more in games as he learns which pitches to try to pull for damage. 

Andreimi Antunez, SS, Rays

A Venezuelan shortstop signed for $300,000, Antunez has all the traits to develop into a plus to plus-plus defender. He’s 5-foot-10, 150 pounds at 17 with clean hands and feet to float around the position. A tick above-average runner, Antunez is an instinctive defender with quick reactions off the bat and a good internal clock, capable of making the acrobatic grabs and finishing plays with a plus arm. At the plate he’s a contact-oriented hitter with a sound swing and can square up good velocity surprisingly well for a young hitter without much strength yet in a hit-over-power profile. 

Amauri Ramirez, OF, Astros

Ramirez, 17, was born and raised in the United States, but he moved to the Dominican Republic and signed for $597,500 as an international free agent. His instincts for the game are on display when he’s at the plate and in the field. It’s an easy lefthanded swing that’s smooth and simple. He stays balanced, which helps him track pitches, pick up spin and put the ball in play at a high clip with a good sense of the strike zone. There’s more space to fill out his 6-foot-2 frame and add to the power that he’s already flashing to his pull side and become an average or better tool. He’s an average runner, so it’s not prototype center field speed and could end up moving him to a corner at higher levels, but his reads and routes are advanced for his age. 

Ronald Ramirez, SS, Tigers

The Tigers spread their bonus pool space around this year and, after giving their biggest bonus to third baseman Nestor Miranda, came away with a host of intriguing, up-the-middle athletes. One of them is Ramirez, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic who signed for $197,500. Ramirez is 5-foot-11, 170 pounds with quick-twitch athleticism and a knack for putting the ball in play with his short righthanded swing. It’s a quick swing with fast hands and gap power that could rise with strength gains. His quick-twitch actions show up in the field too. He’s an above-average runner with at least an average arm and should stick up the middle, whether it’s at shortstop or second base. Ramirez and Jose Dickson, another Dominican shortstop the Tigers signed this year, give the Tigers a pair of breakout candidates in their DSL middle infield. 

Jose Castro, OF, Marlins

Some of the best power for a first-year DSL player belongs to Castro, a righthanded hitter who signed out of the Dominican Republic for $450,000. He’s 6-foot-3, 180 pounds and an explosive mover in the batter’s box, blasting the barrel through the zone to launch balls deep over the fence. Between his explosiveness and strength projection, he should end up with at least plus if not plus-plus raw power, though it does come with some swing-and-miss risk. He’s a likely corner outfielder who is athletic for his size and has a plus arm that could get stronger. Between Castro and Dominican shortstop Yordani Martinez (a 5-foot-7 switch-hitter who makes a ton of contact), the Marlins have two intriguing breakout candidates in the DSL with contrasting profiles.

Alfredo Benzan, SS, D-backs

Benzan’s game has changed significantly since teams scouted him as an amateur. He’s grown three inches since then to 6-foot-2, 165 pounds leading into his signing for $550,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a 17-year-old with a simple swing from both sides of the plate and good hand-eye coordination to put the ball in play. Benzan can drive balls to the alleys now and has a lot more room to project strength and future power on his still lean frame. As he’s gotten bigger, it’s less likely that he stays at shortstop. There’s no question on his arm—it’s plus and might end up a grade higher—and he’s an above-average runner, with third base or center field both potential landing spots if he does have to move off shortstop. 

Hayden Alvarez, OF, Dominican Republic

The Angels made Alvarez one of their top signings this year ($685,000) after he showed a balanced set of skills. He has grown to 6-foot-3, 190 pounds at 17, still growing into his body but he typically takes quality at-bats, has good strike-zone judgment and is starting to drive the ball with occasional home run power and the strength projection for a lot more impact to come once he’s physically mature. Alvarez is an instinctive defender who moves well in center field, though how his physical development affects his speed will be key for where he ends up playing. He’s an average runner, so if he ends up getting faster with more strength, he could stick in center, otherwise he could head to a corner. 

Yensi Rivas, SS, Mets

The Mets paid Rivas $500,000, landing a 17-year-old switch-hitter with a contact-oriented approach from the Dominican Republic. He has the bat control to put the ball in play at a high clip and has started to add more strength to his 6-foot, 170-pound frame that’s led to deeper shots into the alleys with a hit-over-power offensive profile. He’s an average runner with an above-average arm who moves his feet well in the middle infield, whether it ends up being at shortstop or second base long term. 

Oliver Tejada, OF, Giants

Tejada is one of the more intriguing power hitters in the DSL. Signed for $147,500, he’s a burly 5-foot-11, 180 pounds at 17 and strong for his age. His combination of strength and bat speed produces big power that should end up becoming a plus or better tool. Power is Tejada’s calling card and he has shown encouraging signs of being able to get to his power in games. It’s an offensive-driven profile for Tejada, who is probably limited to left field. Tejada and catcher Santiago Camacho, a good hitter and receiver, are both potential breakout candidates in the DSL for the Giants. 

Nestor Urbina, SS, Twins

Urbina had a good track record of hitting as an amateur player in Venezuela before he signed for $397,500. He’s 16 with a thicker 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, so while there’s not the same physical upside relative to some of the other players on the list, Urbina has shown an advanced bat from both sides of the plate. He has a compact swing with a knack for barreling the ball from line to line with gap power. Urbina could get time at shortstop but projects better as an offensive-oriented second baseman, with an arm that could play at third base as well. 

Anthony Longo, C, Royals

Last year the Royals signed Venezuelan catcher Ramon Ramirez, who hit .344/.440/.615 in 41 games and was one of the best prospects in the 2023 DSL. This year, their scouts identified another Venezuelan catcher with promising traits in Longo, a 17-year-old who got $227,500. He hit well in games when he was in Venezuela with a compact swing to make contact at a high clip and a solid eye at the plate. He’s a righthanded hitter who’s 6 feet, 160 pounds and will need to get stronger to grow into more extra-base damage. He’s an athletic catcher with a tick above-average arm.

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