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Arizona Diamondbacks Minor-league Review: Dominican League

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As the minor-league season wraps up, let’s look at how each of our affiliates have done. We start with the two rosters in the Dominican Republic.

WBC: Dominican Republic v Cuba Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

As is increasingly popular - there are now 42 teams taking part - the Diamondbacks went with two rosters in the Dominican Summer League this year. I’m not sure if there was a particular logic to players being assigned to one team or another, but the results of the two teams was certainly very different. The #1 D-backs crushed the competition in the Baseball City division, going 49-20 to win by 12.5 games. The #2 D-backs, on the other hand... 22-47, and were dead last in the South division. All categories below are for the two teams combined. But before we get to this season, let’s revisit the players we picked as our DSL hitter and pitcher of the year for 2015.

Hitter Juan Araujo moved to the US system and spent most of the season in the Arizona Rookie League, where he turned 18 in June, before getting a cup of coffee with Missoula at the end of the campaign. Strikeouts were a bit issue, Araujo fanning 76 times in 214 PA, a 35.6% PA which fed into his .216 batting average. He did hit eight home-runs, and was young even by AZL standards, so shouldn’t be dismissed yet. Pitcher Franklyn Soriano was also in the AZL, and struggled early, putting up a 6.51 ERA over his first six games. He did settle down after his 21st birthday on July 21st, appearing in seven further contests, with a 3.72 ERA, and striking out 27 in 29 innings.

Hitting (min 100 PA)

  • Hits: Jose King, 84
  • 2B: Osvaldo Santilien, 15
  • 3B: Luis Lara, 5
  • HR: Lara, 6
  • RBI: Lara, 51
  • SB: Jesus Marriaga, 24
  • BB: Lara, 37
  • SO: Marriaga, 71
  • BA: Eduardo Diaz, .358
  • OBP: Diaz, .449
  • SLG: Diaz, .496
  • OPS: Diaz, .945

Diaz’s phenomenal early numbers got him a plane ticket to Phoenix, where he joined the AZL roster. However, he struggled with the transition, batting .229 with a .583 OPS. His departure left Luis Lara, a relative elder statesman in the DSL, at the ripe old age of 21, to carry the #1 D-backs offense. His 51 runs driven in was second in the league, with his six home-runs tied for third. The third-baseman also walked more often than he struck out, with a K:BB ratio of 37:34. I’m not certain where he had been previously, but it’s an impressive start, although Lara now needs to show he can hit non-teenage pitching.

Pitching (min 20 IP)

  • Wins: two tied with 6
  • Losses: Luis Estepan, 8
  • ERA: Yeison Santana, 0.58
  • Sv: Nestor Ramirez, 18
  • K: Bryan Valdez, 86
  • BB: Estepan, 36
  • WHIP: Santana, 0.669
  • K/9: Angelo Almonte, 11.7
  • BB/9: Valdez, 0.7
  • K/BB: Valdez, 17.2

Valdez anchored the #1 D-backs, going 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA over 67.2 innings. The most outstanding number though, was his K:BB ratio of 86:5. That’s no misprint. Five walks all year, with a K-rate higher than fellow left-hander Robbie Ray. The resulting 17.2 ratio was easily best in the DSL, only one other pitcher even reaching ten. However, he turns 22 in November, and should be dominating. [In the same way as Cuban Jorge Despaigne, who signed with the D-backs, and pitched in the DSL as a warm-up; he’ll be in the Arizona Fall League next month] So, I’m going with the younger Yeison Santana, a 19-year-old in his third DSL season. He suddenly seemed to click, the ERA plummeting from 5.65 last season, and all the peripherals following suit. He didn’t allow a single home-run in 46.1 innings, and just three earned runs, with a K:BB of 59:6.