Picture of Adan Sanchez via his Instagram
I hope you’re sitting down for this. The Arizona Complex League and the Dominican Summer League have reached the halfway point in the season. It feels like they just got started and they did, just six weeks ago. When their seasons conclude next month, some of the players in Arizona will matriculate to Myrtle Beach but most of the Dominican players will stay in Boca Chica for the fall and winter. Just a few of the top ones will come north for instructs.
This is not been the greatest year for any of the three rookie league teams in terms of wins and losses. But that’s not really the point of rookie league. It’s to develop players to get them ready for the next step in their development. In the Dominican, that’s more acculturation stateside and, for Arizona, it’s developing the process that they’re going to do each and every day in full season baseball.
After yesterday, the Mesa Cubs are 10–19. There have been a lot of offensive highlights this summer like Moises Ballesteros, Cristian Hernandez, and Ismael Mena. However, the pitching is a huge concern as there are very few players with ERA‘s under four. It is a hitter’s league because the air is a little dry and the ball carries a little bit better, but it’s been a tough year for Cub pitching prospects there. One highlight, though, is the performance of starting pitcher Kenyi Perez who had an ERA of 1.68 with 20 Ks in 14.2 IP heading into yesterday’s start.
Meanwhile, down in the Dominican, neither team has really lit up the box scores on a daily basis. The Blue team is 10-21 while the Red team is 9-22. Each team has a couple of hitting prospects that are doing well along with a few pitchers that seem to be keeping their heads above water. Outside of Adan Sanchez, no one’s really taking the league by storm. There are guys that are having good seasons, which we will talk about later
The big news of the week In the Dominican was that a few more players made their debut on Thursday including OF Andres Bonolis.
In Mesa, Koen Moreno pitched well for the second week in a row. This time he went 2.2 innings and did not allow a run or hit but he did walk three guys. However, he also struck out five. This is a very good sign that he has thrown two good starts in a row. I’m looking forward to next week making it three.
One of the more interesting things to come out to Arizona this week was that Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter listed his top 10 Cubs prospects in Arizona. It’s a pretty good list and it’s pretty hitter heavy as we suggested several times this year (including today). The only quibbles I have would be that I would include Mr. Moreno, probably at number three or four.
Arizona Phil’s ACL Cubs Top 10 prospects right now:
1. Cristian Hernandez, SS (org Top 5)
2. Moises Ballesteros, C (org Top 15)
3. Pedro Ramirez, 2B-3B (org Top 30)
4. Michael Arias, RHSP (ex-SS)
5. Kenyi Perez, RHSP
6. Cristian More, OF
7. Elian Almanzar, RHRP
8. Raino Coran, RF
9. Rafael Morel, 3B
10. Ismael Mena, CF
Phil‘s list got me thinking of who the top 10 prospects would be in the Dominican.
I put together a list but it is not something I would go around repeating or sharing. It’s based solely on stats with maybe a little bit of hype. But without video or seeing them in person, I really can’t fully evaluate. The only thing I can tell you is player A is doing this statistically and player B is doing that. So, it is almost all on the stat line.
Here are my 10 top players in the DSL.
Adan Sanchez, C, 3B, 17 years old – .319/.801 OPS
What I like is he seems to be pretty consistent. Every day seems to be 1-for-3 and he comes out after the sixth inning because of the heat, which is normal and precautionary.
Jefferson Rojas, SS, 17 – .277/8 SBs
He got off to a hot start this year, cooled off, and now looks to be heating up and he’s also played off the position a couple of times
Raul Guzman, OF, 18 – .294/.797 OPS
I am starting to get a little interested in Mr. Guzman as he has been leading off quite a bit and having a lot of 2-for-4 and 2-for-5 days.
Jose Herrera, 1B, 19 – 3 dingers in 9 games
If you wanna talk about pure power in the DSL, this is your guy. He hit a home run in the first AB of the of the season and then got plunked in the head the next AB. He is now back and the power is returning.
Carlos Garcia , LHP, 20
He is currently suspended for this season and 20 games of next year. He tested positive for a banned substance. When he returns, he’s going to be 21 years old but he dominated the DSL last year with an ERA under 2.00. Hopefully he gets assigned to Myrtle Beach and the last 20 games of that 80 game suspension can be over fairly quickly.
Gabriel Agrazal, RHP 6-foot-1 18 yo – 0.60 ERA in 7 Starts
Every time I look up, he’s gone four innings and has allowed one or zero runs. He also strikes out a little more than a batter per inning.
Kevin Valdez, LHP, 6-foot-4 18 yo – 2.18 ERA in 6 Starts
The more he pitches, the better he gets. He’s a pretty good sized kid which leads me to believe that he and the Cubs figured something out already.
Diego Dugarte, RHP, 6-foot-1 18 yo – 2.49 ERA in 7 games, 4 starts
He’s done very well this year doing a mixture of starting and relieving.
Oferman Hernandez, OF, 18 yo – .259/.411 OBP
He struggled last year at just 17 but is rebounding this year after working hard in the off-season. I watched him every week on Instagram go through his workouts. He looks a lot stronger and hopefully that will get him stateside for next summer at the age of 19.
Alexis Hernandez, SS, 17 – .235 avg in July with an .879 OPS
If we divide up his splits, June was not good (and that’s putting it nicely) while July has been much better as he crossed the Mendoza line. He may take a little while longer to develop than his brother, but we just need to let him learn to do what he needs to do.
Honorable Mentions – Jose Escobar, Esmarly Tatis, Julio Valdez, Joan Delgado, Geuri Lubo, Scarlyn Lebron, Fraimin Marte.