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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

8/3/23 : Did Ya Know 🤷‍♂️- Phillies DSL Notes

Since the Phillies Dominican Academy opened in 2017 the combined winning percentage of the two clubs to date is 425-305 (.582) with Phillies White at 233-136 (.631) and Phillies Red at 192-169 (.532).  The Phillies White club has never had a losing record in the six seasons since the Academy opened (2020 was cancelled) and over the past two seasons has tallied a 72-27 mark which is an outstanding winning percentage of .727.👀

The 2021 Dominican Summer League (DSL) Phillies teams (Red & White) had a combined record of 69-44 (.611 winning percentage) which continued a trend of on field successes for the two clubs, in 2022 the two teams went a combined 76-42 (.644 winning percentage) and this year they are 54-26 (.675 winning percentage).  The 2022 Phillies White team won the DSL championship.

Outfielder Johan Rojas played the 2018 season for the DSL Phillies Red team as a 17 year old and posted a .320 batting average in 259 AB’s that summer, he’s the first from the 2017 to present Academy classes to graduate to the major leagues.  RHP Cristian Hernandez was also on the 2018 Red roster as a seventeen year old, like Rojas he’s now 22 and is having a very solid season at AA Reading as a bulk reliever, last Fall he was an All-Star in the Arizona Fall League.

Shortstop Erick Brito and outfielder Leandro Pineda were members of the 2019 Phillies White team as seventeen year olds, both are now playing for High A Jersey Shore.  Brito has been a stellar defender there since being promoted from Clearwater earlier this year and Pineda has shown flashes of the offensive skill set he possesses, Leandro just turned twenty-one in June and is one of the younger players in the South Atlantic League.

During 2021 Fall Instructs I was excited to see a group of hurlers who had strong success in the 2021 DSL season -  I wrote the following that October;  “RH Oswald Medina (19 yrs old  - 2.16 ERA in 58 1/3 IP), RH Jayden Estanista ( 20 yrs old from Curaçao - signed 11/19 ), RH Manuel Urias (20 yrs old - Mexico - signed 3/18 - 1.75 ERA in 39 DSL games ( 175 IP ) over three years), RH Eiberson Castellano (20 yrs old - 1.09 ERA in 33 IP), RH Estibenzon Jimenez (19 yrs old - 1.59 ERA in 45 1/3 IP for Phillies White), LH Joel Valdez (1.63 ERA in 55 1/3 IP) and RH Jean Cabrera (19 yrs old - 1.54 ERA in 52 2/3 IP) have impressed.  What has stood out to me is the compact deliveries each present, smooth and quick with a simple aligned approach - very well coached.”

All of those pitchers have since pitched at least at the Low A level, Valdez was traded to the Yankees in November of 2021 and has progressed to the High A level, he’s now a starter for their Hudson Valley team.  Urias was taken in the 2022 Rule Five minor league draft by the Astros, he’s pitching for their low A Affiliate in Fayetteville.  Medina, Estanista, Castellano, Jimenez and Cabrera have all pitched for the low A Clearwater Threshers this season as have fellow 2021 DSL teammates Giussepe Velasquez and Jonathan Petit.  Medina and Estanista are currently on the injured list.  Jimenez has pitched very well, especially during the month of July.  Cabrera has made 15 appearances and shown flashes of what got him selected as the 2021 Paul Owens Award winner. Castellano has battled back from setbacks this season and is now getting regular innings, he’s got a ton of ability and hopefully it blossoms. I’ve raved about Estanista for awhile now, he just made a rehab appearance with the FCL club yesterday, with proper focus and good health he can certainly climb the ladder.  While he didn’t play in any DSL regular season contests 1B/3B Felix Reyes was signed in February of 2020 and tutored at the Academy before making his stateside debut in 2021, he’s been a key run producer (49 RBIs in 52 games) for this year’s Clearwater Threshers and has shown the power bat we’ve seen the past couple of years on the backfields of Carpenter Complex.

The 2022 DSL class has thus far produced four stateside key contributors - infielder William Bergolla (18 yrs old) is playing well for the Threshers, smart toolsy player with quick hands and great baseball instincts ,he posted three quarters of a cycle in last night’s game.  Outfielder Raylin Heredia (19 years old) is a Florida Complex League all star who’s amongst the league leaders in multiple categories and for those of us who’ve watched him play in person is a legitimate prospect, has multiple top level tools.  Infielder/Catcher Leonardo Rondon is a gamer with great bat to ball skills, tremendous energy and leadership and excellent baseball acumen.  RHP Jonh Henriquez has pitched very well for the Clearwater Threshers, he’s posted a 12-1 record with a 3.35 ERA as a bulk reliever and has shown big movement fastball capabilities that align with very good secondaries and an ability to sequence pitches, he’s fun to watch.  We are also high on RHP Enrique Segura whose FCL numbers don’t reflect what he may become, has really good stuff.

Catcher Eduardo Tait, infielder Starlyn Caba and pitcher Luis Gonzalez were DSL All-Stars this season, along with others such as young hurlers like Angel Liranzo, Pedro Peralta, Kleyderve Andrade, Joel Heredia, Jeffrey German and Alexis De La Cruz the pipeline continues with potential stateside future contributors.

The merits of having an owned and dedicated Dominican Academy are showing, keep in mind that players are usually teenagers when they begin there so a five and a half year progression (again 2022 was lost) to date with the talent we are seeing stateside is reflective of the investment.  Will also restate that there are seven current Latin Phillies alumni playing in the major leagues (all but one developed prior to 2017), Johan Rojas, Seranthony Dominguez & Ranger Suarez with the Phillies, Mauricio Llovera with the Red Sox, Hector Neris with the Astros, Carlos Carrasco with the Mets and Luis Garcia with the Padres and 56 Phillies international signees who’ve played in the show since 1997.

Just sayin - Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

2023 DSL All-Stars Eduardo Tait, Starlyn Caba and Luis Gonzalez

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