Welcome to this year’s first edition of the Dominican Summer League Roundup. It’s a place where every Sunday at noon I will be recapping the events of the week for the Cubs Blue and Red teams in the Dominican Summer League. Occasionally, there will also be some news from the Dominican. For the most part, though, I’ll be going over what happened with the Red team and the Blue team and then picking some players of the week as well as breaking down some statistics.
When I look at stats from the Dominican, I do find them interesting. But I also take them with a grain of salt. Success in the Dominican is not a prerequisite or a precursor for a future prospect performance. Just because a guy hit well or pitched well in the Dominican does not mean they will do so stateside. However, it doesn’t hurt in order to head north.
Let’s get to the action this week.
The Blue Team 4-1
This team sits in first place in the San Pedro Division of the Dominican Summer League. Most of their success comes from winning close games. On Friday, they actually had the biggest offensive output of the week scoring 13 runs. One reason that they’re doing so well is that they are not making errors and they’re getting a lot of walks, which is odd to see in the Dominican. The top IFA signing from January, Derniche Valdez, only hit .100 on the week but it is still early. There were several other players, who stepped up, including Edward Vargas, who hit .429 on the week with 3 RBI.
The Red Team 2-3
One thing is for certain, the Red Squad can hit. However, their pitching struggled to find its feet all week long. Heading into Saturday’s game, they had a negative run differential before putting up a 12 spot against the Red Sox. Yesterday saw SS Ludwing Espinoza hit his first home run as a pro. Up to that point he’d been struggling. Catcher Yidel Diaz leads both squads in RBI with five while hitting .333. Outfielder Daniel Benschop went 3-for-4 yesterday to raise his average to .333 while catcher Carlos Altuve is hitting .429 in the limited role and Angel Cepeda is hitting .400 in just 5 ABs. My guy, Oferman Hernandez, is hitting .286 after week one. Pitcher Alfredo Romero tossed the longest outing of the week yesterday going 5 scoreless with 2 Ks. He was the runner up pitcher of the week. 16-year-old Emannoel Madeira threw 3 innings and allowed 1 run in his first start. He’s a big kid at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds already. I have put him on my watch list.
Hitter of the Week
Leonel Espinoza of the Blue team hit two home runs and drove in four on the week. He also stole three bases while hitting .750 with an OPS of 2.300. That’s a pretty good three-game stretch!
Pitcher of the Week
Zhiorian Imbriano is a 20 year old left-hander in his third season in the Dominican. He threw 3.2 innings in his first start and struck out four. He allowed just one hit while walking only two. Opponents hit just .083 against him and he had six groundouts to one air out. That’ll do.
As you can probably tell, I didn’t really go into a lot of detail about any of the pitchers other than Imbriano. Players are still getting stretched out on the mound and the Cubs coaching staff is still trying to find out what the roles are going to be for each arm. After the first two or three weeks, we will have a better idea of who’s going to be starting and who’s going to be relieving.
We could also see four new players join the Cubs two squads next week once they pass their physicals. Yesterday I wrote about the Cubs getting three more players in international free agency to go along with Brander Guevara, who they signed last week. Hopefully we will get to see them soon!,