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Diamondbacks Minor League Season in review: Dominican Summer League

We begin our tour of the Diamondbacks affiliates in the Dominican Republic, where our youngest players get their start in professional ball.

Firstly, a few quick notes. This is entirely a statistical overview, and I accept that this is thus missing a very major element of prospect evaluation. I can't say if, for example, a pitcher's ERA is inflated because he was instructed to work on his breaking pitches, or if a hitter's ERA dropped as he looked to go to the opposite field. A great approach to the game which, as luck would have it, is not reflected in results, merits nul points from the jury here.

Overall
  • Team record: 35-37 (4th of six)
  • Runs scored: 374 (5.19 per game)
  • Runs allowed: 387 (5.38 per game)
Hitting
  • Age: 18.3 (league average: 18.3)
  • BA: .251 (.254)
  • OBP: .338 (.340)
  • SLG: .341 (.340)
  • OPS: .679 (.680)
  • SB/CS: 110/48 (95/51)

As mentioned, this is a very young league, and it's one where power is almost non-existent - across the entire 38 teams (a number of franchises run two squads), only two players in the DSL reached even double-digits in home-runs, which isn't a lot, even allowing for a relatively short 72-game schedule. However, the overall run-environment is quite high, at 5.02 runs per game. Strikeout rate league-wide sits at 19.1%, and walk rate at 9.7%; the respective figures for the DSL D-backs were 19.6% and 9.5%. The team was almost exactly at league average for the triple-slash stats, but an above-average running game helped push our offensive production a few ticks higher.

Leaders (min 100 PA for rate stats)
  • Runs: Yan Sanchez (56)
  • Hits: Sanchez (79)
  • 2B: Juan Araujo (23)
  • 3B : Frank Polanco (6)
  • HR: Mailon Arroyo (5)
  • RBI: Araujo (47)
  • BB: Gerson Jimenez (39)
  • K: Arroyo (80)
  • BA: Sanchez (.290)
  • OBP: Oscar Moreno (.392)
  • SLG: Araujo (.396)
  • OPS: Jimenez (.769)
  • SB: Sanchez (29)

Jimenez may have led the team overall, but that should be treated with caution, since he is in his third season with the DSL,and will turn 21 in December, making his positively geriatric by league standards. This was his best season, and a K:BB ratio of 30:39 is also good, but it's well past time for the Colombian-born Jimenez to produce States-side. Of the younger players, infielder Sanchez (mostly a shortstop this year) had a .754 OPS, 172 points better than in his first season, and also proved a threat on the base-paths. However, our MVP here is outfielder Juan Araujo, who only turned 17 in June, had a .734 OPS and led the team in total bases,

Pitching
  • Age: 18.4 (19.0)
  • ERA: 3.97 (3.75)
  • WHIP: 1.409 (1.382)
  • K/9: 8.0 (7.6)
  • BB/9: 4.4 (3.8)
  • K/BB: 1.84 (1.97)

The DSL Diamondbacks' pitching is likely what explains their sub-.500 record overall, though they did have a relatively young staff (by age, they were 8th out of the 38 teams).  They did strike out slightly more than average, but also seemed to have some control problems collectively. That appears not just in a walk total ranked eighth, but also in the 97 hit batters - that works out at 1.35 per game! - which trailed only the DSL Tigers. Defense didn't seem bad, with a fielding percentage of .956 that ranked 13th (league average was .952), although as you can imagine given the players' youth and experience, that was the lowest of any level.

Pitching leaders (min 20 IP for rate stats)
  • Wins: Argenis Hiciano (6)
  • Losses: Javier Ferrand and Yeisen Santana (5)
  • ERA: Franklyn Soriano (2.02)
  • Saves: Nestor Ramirez (10)
  • K: Soriano (76)
  • BB: Ferrand (39)
  • WHIP: Nestor Ramirez (0.890)
  • K/9: Delvi Ramirez (11.5)
  • BB/9: Nestor Ramirez (1.4)
  • K/BB: Nestor Ramirez (5.50)

I'm sure there's a story behind Delvi Ramirez. He's a 23-year-old playing in the DSL, whose K-rate led the team as he fanned 29 batters in 22.2 innings... but walked even more, giving up 30 bases on balls and hitting eight! Still, that's better than Albar Salas who pitched 2.2 frames and walked fifteen hitters. Might have been a mistake signing there...On the plus side, 19-year-olds Nestor Ramirez and Franklyn Soriano had excellent numbers in their first seasons, the latter fanning 76 in 62.1 innings, and the former posting a K:BB ratio of 33:6 [league average is below 2:1]. Maybe Nestor is the next Silvino Bracho? But Franklyn Soriano gets the Cy Young for this level, as a starter.