Dominican Summer League Top 20 Prospects Entering 2019
Teams are committing more resources than ever before to scouting the Dominican Summer League. They're hoping to pry away a sleeper or potential breakout prospect in a trade before he gets to the United States and his value spikes once more clubs see them and they perform at a higher level.
These are the top 20 prospects who played in the 2018 DSL. The list excludes players who jumped to the U.S. and already ranked in a league top 20 list last year, like Indians shortstop Brayan Rocchio.
Players are in alphabetical order, with ages listed as of today.
Eliezer Alfonzo, C, Tigers
Age: 19 | B-T: B-R | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 170 | Signed: Venezuela, 2016.
Eliezer Alfonzo was a catcher in the big leagues from 2006-11, mostly for the Giants, as well as time with the Padres, Mariners and Rockies. His son of the same name signed with the Tigers in 2016 for $40,000. Alfonzo posted a .414 OBP in the DSL in 2017, then returned to the league last year for five weeks before the Tigers pushed him to the Rookie-level Gulf Cost League in mid-July. Other players on this list may have louder pure tools and bigger upside, but Alfonzo distinguishes himself with a baseball IQ well beyond his years, great plate discipline and defensive maturity. Alfonzo blocks well and carries all the intangibles managers love to have in a catcher, including his work ethic, game calling, ability to handle a pitching staff and overall knowledge of the game. His 45 arm could still tick up half a grade, but it plays up because of his quick release and accuracy. Alfonzo's strike-zone discipline is his best offensive attribute. He doesn't have great bat speed or a classic swing, but he approaches his at-bats with a smart plan at the plate and self-awareness of his own strengths and weaknesses. Alfonzo doesn't chase or strike out much, using the whole field with doubles power, with power unlikely to ever be a big part of his game.
|Eliezer Alfonzo||2018||18||Tigers West||GCL||R||.217||22||69||7||15||1||0||1||12||9||9||3||.300||.275||.575|
Jorge Barrosa, OF, D-backs
Age: 18| B-T: B-L. | Ht: 5-7 | Wt: 165 | Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
Barrosa landed a considerable bonus for a 5-foot-7 player when the D-backs gave him $415,000 in 2017 out of Henderson Martinez's program. Barrosa earned a reputation as one of the more skilled game players in the 2017 class, a label that proved accurate in his pro debut, which ended in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Barrosa is a potential top-of-the-lineup hitter with innate feel for the barrel. He wraps his bat in his swing, but he has quick hands and short limbs, getting the barrel into the hitting zone quickly with the hand-eye coordination to make frequent, quality contact. As an amateur, Barrosa was a switch-hitter who dropped hitting from the left side leading up to his signing, though after turning pro he returned to switch-hitting and hit well from both sides last year. Barrosa has a good eye for the strike zone and occasional pull power, but he's mostly a gap-to-gap hitter whose offensive value lies in his on-base skills. He's a 55-60 runner and a smart baserunner, consistently getting the green light from his coaches and making good decisions picking his spots to run. Barrosa's high baseball IQ shows in center field, where he should be able to stick as long as he retains his speed, reading the ball well off the bat with sharp routes. His arm is below-average, though he makes accurate throws.
Osleivis Basabe, SS, Rangers
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 165 | Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
The Rangers had extra bonus pool space they had traded for to try to sign Shohei Ohtani. When Ohtani signed with the Angels in December 2017, the Rangers spent some of that money on Basabe, who got $550,000. As an amateur, Basabe was one of the better athletes and runners among the top 2017 international prospects, though several clubs had concerns about his pure hitting ability. The Rangers stayed on Basabe as an amateur after July 2 and saw him make progress offensively, which carried over into the DSL, where he ranked third in the league in batting average and had nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Basabe has quick hands that he uses well at the plate to snap the barrel through the zone. He can get out of control at times, chasing and losing his balance, but when he stays locked in and swings at strikes, he doesn't miss much. His power is mostly to the gaps with just enough to occasionally sneak one over the fence to his pull side, with the projection to be a 10-15 home run hitter. Basabe is a plus-plus runner who spent time at shortstop and center field as an amateur. He prefers to play shortstop, where he has a quick first step and his arm plays better than it does in the outfield, grading out plus.
Adanson Cruz, OF, Cardinals
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 185 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
In their first year under the penalty in 2017, the Cardinals gave their $300,000 maximum bonus to Cruz, who trained with Richard Encarnacion and Amauris Nina. The Cardinals were drawn to Cruz for his hitting ability, which he showed with an auspicious debut in the DSL. Long and lanky, Cruz has a sound swing from the right side and a mature hitting approach for his age. He's a selective hitter who stays through the ball well, hitting line drives to all fields. It's a hit-over-power profile, and how much power Cruz will develop is still a question mark, especially if he has to go to a corner. His power is mostly to the gaps right now with enough strength for occasional pull shots over the fence. Cruz primarily played center field last season. He has a quick first step off the bat and takes good routes, but he's a 45-50 runner and may still lose a step as he fills out, so his range might work better in right field. He had an average arm when he signed that has improved to become a plus tool.
|Adanson Cruz||2018||17||Cardinals Red||DSL||R||.304||46||161||29||49||9||5||1||30||32||39||8||.421||.441||.862|
|Adanson Cruz||2018||17||Cardinals Blue||DSL||R||.291||21||79||21||23||6||1||1||9||6||25||3||.374||.430||.804|
|Adanson Cruz||Minor League Totals||.300||67||240||50||72||15||6||2||39||38||64||11||.406||.438||.844|
Joerlin de los Santos, OF, Cardinals
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 175 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
While under the penalty in 2017, the Cardinals signed Adanson Cruz for $300,000 and they gave $250,000 to Joerlin de los Santos, who trained with Hector Evertz. De los Santos was one of the better athletes in the 2017 class, and while the Cardinals liked his bat-to-ball skills when he signed, he performed even better than expected in the DSL, ranking second in the league in batting average and fifth in both on-base percentage and OPS. De los Santos doesn't have the most classic, picturesque swing, but he has good hand-eye coordination and a knack for barreling the ball. He doesn't strike out much and, while he's not very big, he's strong for his size, making consistent hard contact with a swing geared for low line drives. He's a 70 runner, using his wheels to leg out extra-base hits and steal 30 bases in 64 games last year. De los Santos has a fringe-average arm and spent time both as an infielder and an outfielder as an amateur, but his tools fit best in center field. He's still learning to take better routes in the outfield, but he has closing speed to make up for missteps and should develop better reads and efficiency with more outfield experience.
|Joerlin de los Santos||2018||17||Cardinals Red||DSL||R||.359||64||234||66||84||18||6||1||28||41||36||30||.459||.500||.959|
Eddy Diaz, SS, Rockies
Age: 19 |B-T: R-R | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 170 | Signed: Cuba, 2017.
Diaz became the first amateur player from Cuba the Rockies ever signed, landing a $750,000 bonus in 2017. He established himself as one of the best hitters in Cuba's 15U national league in 2015, and he has kept it up his last two seasons in the DSL, a conservative assignment last year for a player ready for a more challenging level. Diaz has an exciting combination of hitting ability and athleticism in the middle of the diamond. Diaz tracks pitches well and doesn't strike out much, with a whiff in just eight percent of his plate appearances last year. He has a simple swing geared for line drives and an advanced approach, staying within the strike zone and using the whole field. Diaz is a bursty athlete with 70 speed and good baserunning instincts, swiping 54 bases (second in the league) with an 87 percent success rate. Diaz stands out more for his bat and speed than his defense, with some scouts thinking he might end up at second base, but he has a chance to stay at shortstop with the athleticism that will keep him up the middle.
Randy Florentino, C, Rangers
Age: 18 | B-T: L-R | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 175 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
With all the pitchers clubs have in their system and coming in for workouts, teams always need catchers to handle bullpens and tryout arms. The more the Rangers saw Florentino, though, the more he grew on them, and they ultimately signed him on July 2, 2017 for a $25,000 bonus after training with Yordany Ramirez. The early returns have been stellar, as Florentino ranked third in the DSL in OPS in his debut. Signed with a skinny build, Florentino added significant strength after, showing a good balance of patience and power from the left side. Florentino has good plate discipline (his 53 walks tied for third in the DSL) and a short stroke thats stays through the hitting zone for a long time. He has the power to hit 20-25 home runs, with the approach and loft in his swing to tap into that power in games. Florentino has a chance to stick at catcher, but his bat is ahead of his defense. He has an average arm that he used to throw out 27 percent of runners, but he needs to clean up his blocking and receiving.
Antoni Flores, SS, Red Sox
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 190 | Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
Flores was one of Boston's big-ticket signings from their 2017-18 class, signing for $1.4 million in 2017 after training with Henderson Martinez and Jose Ovispo. Leg injuries limited Flores to just 15 games last year in his pro debut, but he showed enough to boost his stock in that time. Flores doesn't have big power or speed, but he's a heady, instinctive player in all phases of the game with an advanced offensive approach for his age. Flores manages his at-bats well with a selective hitting approach. He controls the strike zone well and has good feel for the barrel, squaring up both fastballs and breaking balls and staying through the middle of the field well. His approach is geared to spread line drives around the field, with gap power that's ticking up as he has added strength to his wiry, broad-shouldered build. A 45-50 runner on the 20-80 scale, Flores has cleaned up the way he uses his lower half to be lighter on his feet and more under control at shortstop, with his footwork now a strength for him. He doesn't have the first-step explosiveness some clubs prefer at shortstop, but he's a smart defender who reads the ball well off the bat and can finish plays in the hole with accurate throws from a plus arm.
|Antoni Flores||2018||17||Red Sox2||DSL||R||.347||13||49||10||17||3||1||1||14||8||7||0||.439||.510||.949|
|Antoni Flores||2018||17||Red Sox||GCL||R||.250||2||4||0||1||0||1||0||0||1||1||0||.400||.750||1.150|
|Antoni Flores||Minor League Totals||.340||15||53||10||18||3||2||1||14||9||8||0||.435||.528||.964|
Ronny Henriquez, RHP, Rangers
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 165 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
For a $10,000 signing, the Rangers had ample history on Henriquez, who trained with his uncle. The Tricky League is an unofficial, informal summer league for players who just signed on July 2, since they can't play in official DSL games right away. Teams often supplement their rosters with amateur players they're evaluating, and Henriquez pitched for Texas in the Tricky League in two different seasons, so they saw him more than a dozen times. When Henriquez signed on July 2, 2017, he was a 17-year-old who was 5-foot-10 and threw strikes with a fastball up to 91 mph. Over the next year, his velocity soared. Henriquez was regularly operating in the low to mid-90s in the DSL and reached 98 mph. Henriquez is a shorter pitcher who doesn't get much downward plane on his fastball, but he combines power and feel, with a 1.2 BB/9 rate last year, finishing seventh in the league in ERA and fourth in strikeouts. His curveball and changeup both flash at least average, with his curveball slightly ahead at this point.
Five Reasons Why So Many Elite Prospects Made Opening Day Rosters
An exploration of the factors that led a near-record number of Top 100 Prospects making their MLB debuts during the first week of the season, reversing decades of front office behavior.
Miguel Hiraldo, SS, Blue Jays
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 175 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
Several scouts considered Hiraldo, who trained with Mon, as one of the best hitters in a strong 2017 international class. The Blue Jays signed him for $700,000 and he lived up to his reputation in the DSL, where he was one the league's top offensive performers. Hiraldo's swing is short and direct, albeit somewhat unconventional. He doesn't load his hands back to generate much separation with his swing, but his hands are so explosive that he is able to generate plus bat speed. With strong legs and forearms, Hiraldo has average raw power and hammers fastballs with an aggressive approach, though his selectivity and pull-heavy style will be tested against better pitching. Hiraldo is an offensive-minded player who most likely will end up at third base in the near future. He has good reactions off the bat and the arm strength for shortstop, but his footwork and range (and future range, given his body type) would fit better at third base.
|Miguel Hiraldo||2018||17||Blue Jays||DSL||R||.313||54||214||41||67||18||3||2||33||23||30||15||.381||.453||.834|
|Miguel Hiraldo||2018||17||Blue Jays||GCL||R||.231||10||39||3||9||4||0||0||3||1||12||3||.250||.333||.583|
Gilberto Jimenez, OF, Red Sox
Age: 18 |B-T: B-R | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 165 |Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
It's rare to find low-dollar position player signings out of Latin America who develop into legitimate prospects these days. Jimenez, who signed with the Red Sox for $10,000 in August 2017, might prove to be an exception. Jimenez didn't have much baseball background when the Red Sox signed him, but he showed good athleticism and aptitude, even if his game skills were crude. Jimenez made rapid progress and quick adjustments, standing out a few months later at Dominican instructional league, then continuing the upward trend in the DSL, where he was one of the league's top offensive performers. That's even more remarkable considering Jimenez signed as a righthanded hitter who started switch-hitting after he signed, with 80 percent of his DSL at-bats coming from the left side. Jimenez is one of the most electric athletes in the minors. Signed as a plus runner with an average arm, Jimenez now earns 70 grades for his speed and throwing. He's a true center fielder with a quick first step and the tools to be a plus or better defender. Jimenez still has some rawness at the plate with his approach, but he has explosive bat speed on a short, compact swing. His power is mostly to the gaps now, but he has the bat speed and strength projection to develop more impact, with his legs helping him stretch out extra-base hits. Jimenez is tooled up, but he's still learning a lot of the fundamentals, including on the basepaths after getting thrown out in 47 percent of his steal attempts.
|Gilberto Jimenez||2018||17||Red Sox1||DSL||R||.319||67||257||42||82||10||8||0||22||19||40||20||.384||.420||.804|
Malcom Nuñez, 3B, Cardinals
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 205 |Signed: Cuba, 2018.
Under the penalty in 2018-19, the Cardinals couldn't sign anyone for more than $300,000, which is the bonus they gave to Nuñez last year on July 2. Nuñez was arguably the best offensive player in his age group at the time he left Cuba, and while he ranked as the No. 26 international prospect going into July 2, his stock climbed significantly higher after his pro debut. Nuñez was eligible to play right after signing, so he went to the DSL, where he led the league in batting average, OBP, slugging and home runs. Nuñez is a physically mature player for his age with a strong, powerful build. He has the strength and bat speed to drive the ball with plus power, driving the ball out of the park from center field over to his pull side. His hands at times get out and around the ball, adding some length to his swing, but Nuñez has an advanced hitting approach for his age with an understanding of which pitches he can drive for damage. Nuñez has big offensive upside, although he's going to have to improve his defense to avoid a move to first base or an outfield corner. He has a strong arm and goes well to his backhand, but his footwork and agility need to improve and he will have to keep his conditioning in check to retain his mobility.
|Malcom Nunez||2018||17||Cardinals Blue||DSL||R||.415||44||164||44||68||16||2||13||59||26||29||3||.497||.774||1.272|
Liover Peguero, SS, D-backs
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 170 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
The D-backs have the makings of a promising 2017 international signing class. They gave their biggest bonus ($2.5 million) to Kristian Robinson, an outfielder from the Bahamas, and they have two 2017 signings on this list with Peguero and outfielder Jorge Barrosa. Peguero, who signed for $475,000, grew two inches and stood out for his combination of athleticism, hitting ability and physical upside. A hand injury slowed Peguero the first month of the season, but when he returned he hit well in the DSL before struggling upon his jump to the Rookie-level Arizona League in August. Peguero has an athletic, high-waist frame with a lot of space to add good weight. He has strong, quick wrists that help generate fast bat speed. He uses his hands well at the plate with a loose swing and good bat-to-ball skills. Better pitching gave Peguero trouble in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but he has a sound hitting approach for his age. Peguero's power is mostly to the gaps right now, but his strength projection and ability to backspin the ball suggests there's more impact coming. He's an above-average runner with a 55 arm, so Peguero has the tools and athleticism that give him a chance to stick at shortstop, but he's a mistake-prone fielder with a good chance of moving off the position, with center field or third base possibilities.
Matthew Peguero, RHP, Rays
Age: 19 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 205 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
The Rays fielded two DSL teams last year that went a combined 95-47 during the regular season, with Rays2 reaching the semifinals and Rays1 winning the championship. They had several intriguing players from those clubs, including Peguero, who signed for $110,000 in May 2017. Peguero signed right before the 2017 DSL season started and he struggled with his control that year, but he took a big leap forward in 2018. He has a strong, physical frame, a good delivery and throws strikes with a fastball that sat at 90-94 mph during the regular season. During the playoffs, he ramped it up, touching 96 mph. He shows feel to spin a hard curveball at 77-81 mph and for his changeup, which has good separation off his fastball. Between his strong frame, mechanics, control and three-pitch mix, Peguero has the attributes to remain a starter.
Fabian Pertuz, SS, Cubs
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 170 | Signed: Colombia, 2017.
Pertuz trained in Colombia with former big shortstop Orlando Cabrera before signing with the Cubs in 2017 for $300,000, the maximum bonus they could give while under the penalty. The Cubs sent fellow 2017 signings Luis Verdugo and Reivaj Garcia to the Rookie-level Arizona League last year, so they kept Pertuz in the DSL to get him everyday reps at shortstop, with the Cubs getting strong production from Pertuz and fellow shortstop Pedro Martinez on their other DSL club. Pertuz showed an advanced offensive approach for his age. He has a knack for the barrel and controls the strike zone, drawing more walks than strikeouts last year. He has mostly gap power now, with the strength projection to grow into average power eventually. How big Pertuz gets could dictate his future position. He's an average runner who doesn't have the typical first-step quickness teams often prefer at shortstop, but he's also a smart, heads-up player with good defensive instincts, along with the actions and strong arm for the position. If he goes to third or second base, he has the defensive attributes to be a potentially above-average defender at either spot with the offensive upside to possibly fit there as well.
Carlos Rodriguez, OF, Brewers
Age: 18 | B-T: L-L |Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 160 | Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
Milwaukee gave more money to Dominican outfielder Larry Ernesto ($1.7 million) in 2017, but a lot of scouts preferred Rodriguez, who the Brewers signed that year for $1.355 million out of Felix Olivo's program. Several scouts considered Rodriguez one of the best pure hitters in the 2017 class, and he lived up to that reputation in his pro debut. Rodriguez has a deep hand load and bars his arm out, but he has tremendous hand-eye coordination and bat control. He doesn't swing and miss much, striking out in just eight percent of his DSL plate appearances and spraying line drives to all fields. Signed with a small, slender build, Rodriguez has gotten a little taller and stronger, though he doesn't have much power and probably never will. Rodriguez recognizes pitches well and makes a ton of contact, though he could benefit from a more selective approach once he's facing better pitching. Rodriguez is an average runner, which gives some scouts concerns about his future in center field. However, he has terrific defensive instincts that help him compensate for less than typical speed for the position, reading the ball well off the bat with efficient routes, although with a below-average arm.
Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners
Age: 18 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 205 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
The Mariners paid $1.75 million to sign Rodriguez out of the MB Academy in 2017, when Rodriguez was one of the premium offensive threats in a strong international class. In most organizations, Rodriguez would have either started his career in the United States or at least jumped there once the Rookie-level complex leagues opened, but the Mariners prefer to keep all their first-year Latin American signings in the DSL. Rodriguez has the potential to be a masher in the middle of a lineup. He has a strong, powerful build with 35-plus home run potential. He has 70 power that he generates with ease from a loose, fluid swing with good rhythm and balance. His barrel stays on plane through the hitting zone for a long time, helping him make frequent, all-fields contact with a good idea of the strike zone, giving him a chance to be a high on-base, high-power threat. For someone his size, he moves surprisingly well with average speed underway, leading the DSL with nine triples while going 10-for-10 stealing bases. Rodriguez will slow down, but he takes pride in being a complete player, improving his defensive reads and routes, with a 70 arm that's his best defensive tool. He's so advanced that the Mariners are jumping him to low Class A West Virginia this year.
Junior Santos, RHP, Mets
Age: 17 | B-T: R-R | Ht: 6-8 |Wt: 220 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
The Mets signed Santos out of the Do Dreams Baseball Academy in September 2017 for a $275,000 bonus when he was 16. He was already 6-foot-6 at the time, then grew another two inches before the 2018 season started. There aren't many pitchers Santos' size, but young pitchers with long limbs often have trouble syncing up their mechanics, but Santos is an exception. He's an athletic pitcher with excellent body control for his size, walking just 1.2 batters per nine innings in the DSL before getting a late-season bump to the GCL. Santos has impressive touch and feel on the mound for a 6-foot-8 pitcher who pitched almost the entire 2018 season as a 16-year-old. He has also developed into a power arm. He reached 92 mph after signing with the Mets, then last year was throwing 90-95 mph and got up to 97 mph. Given that he's still 17, more velocity could come, and that fastball plays up because he generates so much extension out front. He shows feel for a three-pitch mix, with a slider that has good spin and late bite, though he needs to stay on top of the ball to keep it more consistent, as well as a changeup with good sink and fade.
Jose Tena, SS, Indians
Age: 18 | B-T: L-R | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 160 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
The Indians had a promising group of DSL talent last year, starting with shortstop Brayan Rocchio, who went to the United States last year and ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League. They also had Tena, a nephew of former Indians shortstop Juan Uribe, who signed with Cleveland for a $400,000 bonus in 2017 after training with Franklin Ferreras. He's a smaller-framed shortstop who projects to stick at the position. He has good defensive instincts, fielding the ball with soft hands and getting rid of it quickly with a tick above-average arm. Tena has easy actions in the field and in the batter's box, with a loose, simple stroke from the left side. Tena doesn't have much power and probably never will, but he has good bat control and doesn't strike out much.
Luis Toribio, 3B, Giants
Age: 18 | B-T: L-R | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 185 | Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
Under the penalty in 2017, the Giants gave a $300,000 bonus to Toribio to sign him out of the Dominican Republic that year. At the time, Toribio showed promising hitting ability with gap power and the strength projection to grow into bigger pop down the road. In his pro debut last year, that power came on quickly, with Toribio blasting 10 home runs that tied him for third in the league. Toribio blends patience and power from the left side of the plate. He has a good eye for the strike zone, working deep counts with the ability to drive the ball for above-average power and natural lift in his swing to leverage that power in games. That does create some holes, but he has solid bat-to-ball skills to keep his strikeout rate manageable. Toribio's arm strength ticked up to plus, but with a thicker, heavy frame, he's going to have to keep his body and mobility in check to stay at the position.