2021-22 International Reviews: Los Angeles Dodgers
In some years, the Dodgers have put a big chunk of their bonus pool money toward one player, like they did when they signed catcher Diego Cartaya in 2018 or outfielder Luis Rodriguez in 2019. This year, the Dodgers spread their budget around to a deep mix of position players with advanced feel for hitting and pitchers with starter traits.
Top Of The Class
The biggest signing of the class for the Dodgers was Samuel Muñoz, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic who has also spent time at third base. More than anything, Muñoz stands out at the plate. He has grown to 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and still shows a smooth, compact swing from the left side. Muñoz has an advanced approach for his age, manages his at-bats well with good strike-zone judgment and the ability to send the ball the opposite way. Muñoz shows occasional pull power, with a hit-over-power profile now but the physical projection to grow into more home run juice as he fills out. Muñoz showcased for teams as a corner outfielder before signing, but he has also been taking ground balls at third base. He is still likely to get most of his playing time this year in the outfield, but he should get reps at third base as well, giving him a bit more value if he can play there.
Names To Know
Jeral Perez, SS, Dominican Republic: Perez developed into one of the better hitters in the Dominican Republic for this year. He’s 6 feet, 180 pounds with a pretty swing from the right side. He has advanced, polished hitting mechanics for his age, which combined with good plate discipline has led to strong game performance. Perez shows power in games, too, and doesn’t have to sell out to get to it, generating over-the-fence pop to his pull side without much effort. An average runner, Perez will develop at shortstop but could end up elsewhere, possibly as an offensive-minded second baseman.
Accimias Morales, RHP, Venezuela: Morales has a starter look between his body, delivery, stuff and pitchability. He grew a few inches over the scouting process up to 6-foot-4, 190 pounds and can run his fastball up to 93 mph with natural sink, pairing it with a sharp breaking ball that could develop into an out pitch for him.
Josue De Paula, OF, Dominican Republic: Born in New York and signed out of the Dominican Republic, DePaula is a second cousin of former NBA guards Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair. He’s a 6-foot-4, 190-pound lefty with promising offensive upside, showing good bat path and adjustability to his swing and flashes of power now that should only grow given how much strength projection is left in his frame. De Paula is athletic for his size, but he’s a corner outfielder whose offensive ability will drive his value.
Luciano Romero, RHP, Venezuela: Luciano is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds with a nice delivery that hits a lot of checkpoints and a trending-up fastball. He was more mid-to-upper 80s for much of the tryout process, but he has since reached the low 90s with the arm speed and physical projection for more to come, along with feel for a breaking ball.
Mairoshendrick Martinus, SS, Curacao: Martinus is one of the better hitters to come out of Curacao in recent years. He has a solid approach from the right side, controlling the strike zone well for his age with good contact skills and more power coming once he fills out his 6-foot-3, 170-pound frame. Martinus will develop at shortstop, where he has a chance to stick and has a plus arm.
Raynerd Ortega, SS, Venezuela: Ortega projects to stick at shortstop and shows good bat control from the right side of the plate. Ortega is a skinny 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, so getting stronger will be critical for him to be able to do more damage on contact, but the shortstop's ability and bat-to-ball skills are intriguing if more strength comes.
Javier Peña, C, Dominican Republic: Peña had been an infielder who looked like maybe a future second baseman, but he moved behind the plate around a year and a half ago. If that sticks, that enhances his value, but his best tool is the righthanded raw power he’s able to generate from his 6-foot, 185-pound frame, with a power-over-hit profile.
Early in the scouting process, Venezuelan shortstop Oswaldo Osorio showed good game awareness and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Later on, he grew to 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, growth that helped him jump out more as a player who looks like he could stay at shortstop with good feel for hitting from the left side. Venezuelan catcher Victor Rodrigues was an offensive-minded catcher who showed promising hitting ability but looked like he might move off the plate. His defense has since taken a significant jump forward, making his profile much more intriguing if he can remain a catcher.