30 Prospects Generating Buzz In The Dominican Summer League


Image credit: Gabriel Rodriguez

One month into the Dominican Summer League season, prospects are starting to generate buzz and separate themselves from the pack.

Below are 30 players who have stood out so far in the DSL. Some were million-dollar signings, but several others were mid-range or more under-the-radar prospects who have leapt ahead of players in their own organization who signed for more money in January.

With the trade deadline nearing, many of these players are likely to come up in trade conversations as teams look to pry away prospects who are far from the big leagues in hopes of landing the next Junior Caminero before he reaches the full-season leagues and his value explodes. 

Jesus Made, SS, Brewers

When the international signing period opened this year, the Brewers made three big acquisitions. One of them was Made, a Dominican shortstop who got $950,000. He’s shown a good balance of tools and hitting ability in the DSL, where he’s batting .343/.439/.586 in 82 plate appearances with three home runs, 11 walks and 12 strikeouts. A switch-hitter at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Made has good strength and bat speed for a 17-year-old, flashing above-average raw power and driving balls with backspin.

He’s regularly on the barrel with hard contact and power that hasn’t come at the expense of a high swing-and-miss rate. He’s also a plus runner and his arm is plus as well, with the potential for his arm to end up a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Made’s offense is ahead of his defense, so while he should get a chance to stick at shortstop, his game would profile well at third base too, with center field another option given his wheels. 

Luis Peña, SS, Brewers

Another Brewers prospect, Milwaukee’s 2024 international class is off to a strong start between Made, Peña, shortstop Jorge Quintana and outfielder Jose Anderson, with Peña making a campaign to be the DSL Most Valuable Player. Hitting .486/.538/.700 in 78 plate appearances with five walks and just seven strikeouts, he’s fourth in DSL in OPS, with his mark the highest in the league for a 17-year-old. While his approach is aggressive and he might need to become more selective as he moves through the minors, his hand-eye coordination and flat swing path from the right side results in a low swing-and-miss rate.

At 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, Peña isn’t that tall, but he’s strong and explosive, with twitch that shows up in his bat speed, helps him drive the ball with authority and presents the potential for plus raw power. He’s an explosive runner too, with plus-plus speed that has translated to 23 stolen bases in 25 attempts through 19 games. He has a plus arm as well, though on defense it’s more his tools and raw athleticism that stands out than his actions. He should get a chance to develop at shortstop, but there’s a chance he could end up at third base. 

Elvin Garcia, SS, Orioles

Signed for $500,000 out of the Dominican Republic, the 17-year-old Garcia has shown a promising mix of tools and skills with more physical upside remaining in his 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame. He’s a switch-hitter with good plate discipline and a knack for finding the sweet spot to make contact at a high clip. He’s hitting .370/.507/.611 through 71 plate appearances, drawing more walks (14) than strikeouts (13). Garcia hasn’t homered yet and isn’t a big slugger, but he makes consistent quality contact with a lot of doubles and triples that should start climbing over the fence in the next few years as he layers on more strength. He’s an athletic shortstop with plus speed, a plus arm and smooth actions at the position, along with a high baseball IQ. He’s one of most exciting shortstops the Orioles have signed out of Latin America in years. 

Emil Morales, SS, Dodgers

Morales came into the DSL season with big expectations. He was the top signing this year for the Dodgers at $1,897,500 and came with exciting preseason reports on his offensive prowess. Morales has lived up to his reputation, batting .338/.471/.588 in 87 plate appearances, slugging four home runs with 17 walks and 20 strikeouts as a 17-year-old. Morales is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with the strength and bat speed that allows him to drive the ball with some of the best raw power of any hitter in the DSL, often posting triple-digit exit velocities.

While there has been a tick higher swing-and-miss to his game, he generally has shown a mature offensive approach with a sound righthanded swing. He drives the ball with consistent loft and damage and could grow into a 25-plus home run hitter. He’s a below-average runner who has improved his first-step quickness at shortstop and has a solid-average arm, though he does have six errors in his first 13 games. The Dodgers will probably continue to develop him at shortstop, but third base seems his most likely position as he gets closer to the big leagues. 

Gregory Sanchez, RHP, Rockies

Sanchez could end up the best pitching prospect in the DSL. A $285,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez ran his fastball up to 89 mph when teams were scouting him as an amateur, with the size, low-effort mechanics and physical projection that were all encouraging. Now 17 years old, he’s 6-foot-4, 190 pounds and has touched 97 mph while sitting at 93-96 mph with his lively fastball. He’s an athletic pitcher with still more space to add weight to his frame, so he could end up throwing 100 mph.

Scouts were split on whether Sanchez’s slider or changeup would end up his better secondary pitch, but so far he has leaned on his slider, which he has feel to spin with some power at 82-86 mph (though it’s mainly a fastball-heavy approach right now). He’s allowed only one earned run through 12 innings with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. 

Yairo Padilla, SS, Cardinals

Padilla is one of the most promising shortstops the Cardinals have signed out of Latin America in recent years and is off to a .324/.427/.471 start in 83 plate appearances. A switch-hitter who just turned 16 on June 28, Padilla is 6-foot-2, 170 pounds with a smooth swing that has good rhythm and balance. He recognizes pitches well and doesn’t chase much off the plate. His swing can get uphill at times, but he has shown good bat-to-ball skills and drives the ball well to both gaps. He already makes consistent hard contact, and with the way his swing works and how much room he has to still add more weight, he could end up with above-average power. He’s a plus runner with a plus arm, and while he has good actions at shortstop, there’s a chance he could end up outgrowing the position and head to third base. 

Jhonayker Ugarte, 3B/SS, Royals

Ugarte looks like a much different player now than he did when teams were scouting him as an amateur. A shortstop from Venezuela who trained in the Dominican Republic, Ugarte first drew attention for his solid swing and defensive skills at shortstop, but he has grown to 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, gotten stronger and taken a step forward offensively. He signed for $1.4 million and is batting .444/.557/.556 in 70 plate appearances with one home run, 13 walks and nine strikeouts. He has a simple lower half load with quiet hands in a compact righthanded swing, making contact at a high clip and showing a sharp eye for the strike zone.

Ugarte has been a line-drive machine in games and uses the whole field, making consistent hard contact with what could be bigger power to come in games once he learns which pitches to try to pull for damage. Ugartre has an above-average arm and has spent some time at shortstop, but as he’s gotten bigger, he has spent most of his time at third base, which looks more like his long-term defensive home. 

Joswa Lugo, SS, Angels

Lugo became the centerpiece signing of the Angels’ international class this year when they gave him $2.3 million. So far, he has shown some of the best power of any hitter in the DSL, hitting .408/.459/.632 in 85 plate appearances. Now 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, the 17-year-old shortstop has the strength and bat speed to flash plus raw power from the right side, with consistent hard shots off the barrel in games with exit velocities up to 110 mph.

It’s not an all-or-nothing swing, and his bat-to-ball skills are solid, but it is a free-swinging approach—Lugo has walked just five times—and he does get pull-heavy, so improving his pitch recognition and swing decisions will be key against better pitching. He’s an average runner who has a plus arm and will likely continue to get reps at shortstop in the lower levels, though some scouts think he could end up at third base or possibly an outfield corner. 

Yolfran Castillo, SS, Rangers

Looking for elite contact skills? There might be no better hitter in the DSL in that department than Castillo, a $647,500 signing this year from Venezuela. He has a long, lean frame (6-foot-3, 165 pounds) and is an extremely patient hitter. When he does swing, he rarely misses, showing outstanding hand-eye coordination and bat control from the right side of the plate en route to hitting .414/.552/.471 in 97 plate appearances with 22 walks and eight strikeouts. Castillo doesn’t have much power now, but thanks to the growth spurt that he hit from when he was a smaller, contact-oriented infielder early in the scouting process, there’s room for him to fill out and potentially grow into more extra-base damage. Castillo is an athletic defender at shortstop with plus speed, an above-average arm and good instincts. 

Gabriel Rodriguez, SS, Guardians

There’s a lot to like with Rodriguez, a $500,000 signing this year from Venezuela who is off to a .419/.621/.558 start in 66 plate appearances with one home run, 14 walks and five strikeouts. He plays with an ease of operation both at the plate and in the field, and he shows a high baseball IQ that’s no surprise given he’s the son of Brewers Venezuelan supervisor Jose Rodriguez. Aged 17, he’s 6 feet, 160 pounds with a short, quick lefty swing. He tracks pitches well, recognizes spin and doesn’t stray much outside the strike zone. His approach and hand-eye coordination lead to a high contact rate, the ability to hit all pitch types and a high OBP, albeit without much power yet. Rodriguez is a smooth mover at shortstop, where he has good hands, nimble footwork and good body control with an average arm. 

Dalvinson Reyes, RHP, Red Sox

There are some other pitchers in this group who throw harder than Reyes right now, but Reyes separates himself with a mix of physical projection and feel for pitching with starter traits. He’s 6-foot-5, 200 pounds with an easy, low-effort delivery, good arm action and the ability to fill the strike zone with a fastball that has been up to 93 mph. The pitch has good armside run and Reyes has the strength projection for continued velocity gains.

A $450,000 signing from the Dominican Republic, Reyes has feel to spin a mid-80s slider and throws a changeup that’s somewhat firm but has a lot of fade, with the ability to miss bats with both pitches. That has all led to Reyes being one of the best pitchers in the DSL as a 17-year-old, as he’s yet to allow a run in four games over 16 innings with 17 strikeouts and two walks. 

Luis Cova, OF, Marlins

On the surface, Cova’s slash line of .194/.351/.264 in 94 plate appearances doesn’t jump out, but there is still a lot to like with Miami’s big-ticket international signing from this year. The recipient of a $1.4 million bonus out of Venezuela, Cova is a lean, quick-twitch athlete in center field at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds. He has plus-plus speed, a quick first step and good range in center field with a solid-average arm. A righthanded hitter, Cova has little swing-and-miss to his game and does a good job of discerning balls from strikes. Cova has the bat speed to drive the ball well when everything is in sync—his exit velocity has been up to 106 mph—but his swing path leads to too many groundballs, something he will have to adjust.

Jose Paulino, RHP, Marlins

Paulino has some of the most electric stuff of any pitcher in the DSL. He’s 6-foot-3, 175 pounds with a fastball that has been on an upward trajectory since teams were scouting him as an amateur. He was reaching the low-90s then, was up to 96 mph by the time the Marlins signed him for $350,000 in January and he has since been up to 99 mph, sitting at 95-97 in games. It’s an outstanding fastball for a 17-year-old and he probably will crack triple digits at some point. He has tight rotation on a hard slurve for his breaking ball, with spin eclipsing 2,800 rpm at times, though he’s still learning to refine the shape of the pitch.

Paulino doesn’t yet have great feel for where the ball is going, which is why he has a 5.56 ERA in 11.1 innings with 12 strikeouts, eight walks and seven wild pitches. But there is big upside if he can learn to corral his stuff. 

Queni Pineda, C, Yankees

It’s uncommon for one of the top international catching prospects to come from the Dominican Republic, but Pineda is an exception, landing a $350,000 bonus in January. The 17-year-old righthanded hitter is batting .265/.446/.469 in 65 plate appearances with two home runs and more walks (16) than strikeouts (11). It’s a short, efficient swing from the right side with a selective approach that has enabled him to get on base at a high clip. Pineda produces consistent hard contact as well, with a swing path that leads to a lot of balls on the ground. But there’s a good mix of contact and impact in there for a young catcher. Pineda has an above-average arm and the hands to catch, though he does have six passed balls in 12 games. 

Ashly Andujar, SS, Rockies

Andujar got $1.7 million out of the Dominican Republic, making him Colorado’s top signing this year. He’s still 16, so he’s young for the class, and he’s one of the top shortstops in the DSL, hitting .305/.376/.390 in 93 plate appearances with 10 walks and 13 strikeouts. At 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, he has a wiry, high-waist frame that lacks much strength, but his impressive hand-eye coordination allows him to put the ball in play at a high clip from both sides of the plate. He’s an aggressive hitter who might need to become more selective in which pitches he swings at, but he’s a good fastball hitter who covers the plate well.

There is some sneaky hard contact for a young player with his slender build, but Andujar’s power is mostly for doubles and triples. An average runner, Andujar has good body control and game awareness at shortstop, where his quick-twitch athleticism, hands and plus arm should allow him to stick. 

Juneiker Caceres, OF, Guardians

Caceres doesnt turn 17 until Aug. 15, so he’s one of the youngest players in the 2024 class. He’s also been one of the best hitters in the DSL, batting .400/.493/.617 in 73 plate appearances with 11 walks and nine strikeouts. Signed out of Venezuela for $300,000, Caceres is 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, so while he’s not that tall, he is strong and doesn’t miss often when he swings. He’s a lefty with an uppercut path and an accurate barrel, which, along with a solid sense of the strike zone, leads to a high contact rate with loft.

While the Guardians sign a lot of high-contact hitters, Caceres separates himself with his ability to drive the ball with impact. His EVs have been up to 108 mph already, an elite number for a 16-year-old. While he doesn’t have a ton of physical projection, there’s already a good mix of contact skills and damage. Caceres has played all three outfield spots, likely settling in a corner as he gets closer to the majors. 

Alexander Almonte, RHP, Yankees

The Yankees seem to regularly identify and develop hard-throwing pitching prospects from Latin America, with Almonte looking like he could be the next in line. Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $275,000, Almonte is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound 17-year-old. His high-spin fastball is already inching up since the season began to touch 95 mph, while sitting at 91-94. He throws a power curveball in the low-80s with tight spin at 2,500-2,700 rpm that some call a slider, but by any name it’s able to miss bats. Almonte has a mid-to-upper 80s changeup, too, but hasn’t used it much yet. It’s been a good start to the season for Almonte, who has a 2.63 ERA, 12 strikeouts and six walks through 13.2 innings. 

Kifraidy Encarnacion, LHP, Marlins

The Marlins signed Encarnacion out of the Dominican Republic for $165,000 in January. He’s an 18-year-old lefty who is 6-foot-4, 185 pounds with power stuff and the physical projection for more velocity in the tank. He pitches anywhere from 92-97 mph and has reached 98, up from the 94 mph he was topping out at when he joined the Marlins. His mid-80s slider has excellent spin, at times eclipsing 3,000 rpm and has a chance to be a plus pitch. Encarnacion throws a changeup, too, but hasn’t used it much yet. Encarnacion’s control lags behind his stuff, but with a 2.55 ERA in 7.2 innings, 10 strikeouts and five walks over his first two starts, there aren’t many 18-year-old lefties on the planet who can stack up with his raw stuff. 

Kendrick Herrera, SS, Pirates

When the Pirates signed Herrera for $450,000 out of the Dominican Republic this year, his defense was his calling card. He’s a 6-foot, 175-pounds athletic shortstop with good lateral agility and hands/footwork to stick at the position. Early on, the offensive component of his game has been solid too, with Herrera off to a .291/.379/.382 start in 66 plate appearances with nine walks and 12 strikeouts. He has a solid idea of the strike zone for a 17-year-old to go with good bat-to-ball skills, and while there hasn’t been a lot of extra-base damage, he has shown the ability to put a surprising charge into the ball from the right side of the plate. 

Jose Dickson, SS, Tigers

There are a lot of traits to like with Dickson, who was a mid-range signing out of the Dominican Republic this year for $397,500. It starts with his defense and athleticism at shortstop, where he has the tools to stick, including good hands, footwork, body control and arm strength. A lanky 6-foot-2, 160 pounds at age 17, Dickson’s hand-eye coordination shows up in the field and at the plate, where he makes frequent contact with a solid grasp of the strike zone for his age, hitting .339/.473/.458 in 74 plate appearances with more walks (13) than strikeouts (10). There isn’t a lot of power there yet, but it’s a lot of hard line drives with the potential to grow into more extra-base juice once he fills out his wiry frame. 

Justin Gonzales, 1B/OF, Red Sox

Gonzales has spent some time in right field, but he is primarily a first baseman, which is typically a tough profile for teams to bet on with a 17-year-old, righthanded-hitting international prospect. The Red Sox bought in when they signed him this year for $250,000 out of the Dominican Republic. Gonzales is a massive, physically mature player for his age at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, and he already has plus raw power that could end up a plus-plus tool.

While a lot of young sluggers have an all-or-nothing approach, that isn’t the case with Gonzales. He uses the whole field, typically stays within the strike zone and doesn’t miss much when he does swing thanks to a fairly short stroke for his size. It’s led to an impressive .353/.436/.603 start through 78 plate appearances with two home runs. The nine walks and just six strikeouts are the most encouraging part of his offensive performance so far.

Eduardo Beltre, OF, Twins

Beltre missed the first couple weeks of the season coming back from a wrist injury, but he certainly looks like he’s back at full strength now. Signed for $1,497,500 out of the Dominican Republic, Beltre is hitting .375/.545/.688 in 44 plate appearances, already blasting three home runs with more walks (11) than strikeouts (5). He’s 5-foot-11, 175 pounds with big righthanded bat speed and flashes of above-average raw power. Scouts were split on Beltre’s pure hitting ability as an amateur, but he has shown a solid sense of the strike zone for his age. He’s a plus runner, getting some time in center field, though he has spent more time in right field this season.

Rainiel Rodriguez, C, Cardinals

Rodriguez has a knack for blistering baseballs to all fields the way few hitters his age can in the DSL. He was born in the Dominican Republic, spent time in Pennsylvania for high school, but moved back to the DR and signed this year for $300,000. He’s 5-foot-10, 197 pounds with stocky build, advanced strength and a short righthanded swing. Rodriguez can hammer a fastball out to any part of the park, already producing exit velocities up to 108 mph this season and a home run on Monday that traveled an estimated 474 feet. He will, however, have to tighten his approach against breaking stuff. Rodriguez will also need more work on the defensive side to be able to stick at catcher, but he has a strong arm with promising offensive upside, hitting .349/.405/.587 in 74 trips to the plate with three homers, five walks and 11 strikeouts.

Branneli Franco, RHP, Cardinals

The early results for Franco have been a mixed bag. He’s struck out 15 in 12 innings, but he’s also walked eight and allowed 12 runs.The Cardinals signed him for $800,000, their top bonus this year and the top amount for a Latin American pitcher in 2024. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he has a fastball that continues to climb higher, going from the mid-80s to the low-90s while teams were scouting him to reaching 94 mph by the time he signed and now sitting 93-96 mph in his short stints and touching 97. Franco has more room to fill out his still lean frame with long limbs and he doesn’t throw with much effort, so there’s a chance for more still to come.

Franco threw a curveball as an amateur but switched to a slider that he shows aptitude to spin with good lateral break at times at 82-85 mph. He has shown feel for a changeup but has focused just on his fastball/slider mix at the start of the season. Franco hasn’t commanded his fastball well in his early outings, but the stuff, delivery and physical projection are all there if he can turn that around. 

Yhoiker Fajardo, RHP, White Sox

The White Sox added a pair of tall, power arms from Venezuela this year with Fajardo and Orlando Suarez, with both pitchers up to 95 mph. So far Fajardo has been the most impressive, posting a sparkling 32-3 K-BB mark to go with a 4.57 ERA over 21.2 innings through his first five starts. Signed for $400,000, Fajardo pitches with his fastball anywhere from 90-95 mph and throws all of his pitches for strikes. He’s 17 and has more space to add weight to his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame, so there should be another velocity jump coming.

He’s a good athlete with an easy delivery that he repeats well from a consistent release point on all of his pitches. His low-80s slider isn’t a particularly high-spin pitch, but it has short, late break that has been able to miss a lot of bats. He’s mainly a fastball/slider pitcher with an occasional hard changeup that’s still in its early stages of development.

Anderson Brito, RHP, Astros 

Brito is a 5-foot-10 righthander from Venezuela who turns 20 on July 7 and is making his pro debut after signing at the end of 2023. The early results have been impressive: An ERA of 0.66 in 13.2 innings with a 20-6 K-BB mark. He’s not just a smaller, crafty pitcher carving up younger hitters either. Brito’s fastball parks at 94-97 mph, can reach 98 and has good riding life up in the zone. Brito shows feel to manipulate his secondary pitches too, with good spin and sweep on his slider and a fading changeup that he hasn’t thrown much yet. Brito could end up a sneaky under-the-radar signing, with 17-year-old righthander Kevin Santana (fastball up to 95 with a high-spin curveball but early control troubles) another one to watch on the DSL Astros pitching staff. 

Dioris De La Rosa, RHP, Angels 

De La Rosa has had some of the best results among first-year pitchers in the DSL. Through his first four starts, he has an ERA of 0.47 across 19 innings to go with 21 strikeouts and eight walks. He’s also doing it with stuff that has spiked since he signed in January for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic. De La Rosa is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and was up to 93 mph coming into the spring. Now he’s up to 96 mph, sitting at 91-94. He shows feel to spin a slider at 2,300-2,500 rpm, a pitch that he is still learning to refine and is ahead of his nascent changeup. De La Rosa and righthander Ubaldo Soto—who is repeating the DSL, but is still 17 and pitching well with a fastball up to 97 mph—are both arms to watch on the Angels staff. 

Paulino Santana, OF, Rangers

The surface-level slash line doesn’t jump out with Santana—a 17-year-old center fielder hitting .243/.430/.329 in 93 plate appearances—but there has been a lot to be encouraged by in terms of his future. Signed for $1,297,500 this year, Santana is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound lean, athletic righthanded hitter with a short swing and a selective approach. He has more walks (19) than strikeouts (14), showing good patience, pitch recognition and the bat control to make consistent contact when he does swing. Power hasn’t shown up in games yet for Santana, which might be because his approach can become too contact-oriented at times instead of taking more chances to drive certain pitches for more pull side damage, but he makes hard contact. There’s plus speed as well that gives him a good chance to stay in center field. 

Esteban Mejia, RHP, Orioles

The Orioles signed Mejia out of the Dominican Republic for $175,000 in January. The 17-year-old righthander had been up to 93 mph at the time and reached 95 in early spring outings. Now his fastball seldom dips under 93 after making another jump that has him reaching 98 mph and sitting at 93-96. At a listed 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him crack 100 mph eventually, but he’s already overpowering hitters in the DSL, where he has a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings over four starts, striking out 15 with five walks. Mejia’s fastball was his main pitch as an amateur, but he has quickly developed a slider that he shows aptitude to spin to get a good amount of swing-and-miss. 

Leonardo Pineda, OF, Rays

Pineda, 17, was the top signing this year for the Rays, getting a $1.75 million bonus in January. He’s hitting .297/.446/.484 through 83 trips to the plate with 16 walks and 23 strikeouts. He’s 5-foot-11, 185 pounds with a strong, compact build and the ability to whistle the barrel through the zone with big bat speed to drive the ball for impact. His exit velocity in games has already been up to 107 mph, and there’s the potential for plus raw power.

The risk with Pineda is that he’s an aggressive hitter with a pull-heavy approach, which has led to a higher swing-and-miss rate that better pitchers could exploit unless he’s able to make adjustments. He’s an average runner, which might ultimately push him to a corner as he gets closer to the majors, but so far the Rays are developing him as a center fielder, where he’s getting good reads off the bat and has an above-average arm.

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