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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

9/2/22 :  Just Sayin

Winning a championship at any level is a big deal - especially at the professional level.  The Phillies White team being crowned champions of the 2022 Dominican Summer League ( DSL ) is an accomplishment that should be celebrated organization wide. From my perspective team building is important, while winning championships in the minor leagues isn’t necessarily considered a primary goal by some organizations nor does it need to correlate to individual player development the camaraderie established from winning definitely is a positive.  The Phillies DSL championship that was won yesterday has been a long time coming, only the second in their Dominican League history ( first was in 1999 ) and the first since the Phillies established a full time development academy building in 2017.

Since the Academy was opened in Boca Chica the two Phillies teams ( Red & White ) have a regular season winning percentage of .536 ( 349-301 ) - last year there were no playoffs in the league however the Phillies White team won the San Pedro Division ( as they did again this season ) and team members were rewarded with division championship rings.

From the four seasons prior to this one ( 2020 was a lost year due to the pandemic ) the Academy has sent 39 position players state side ( most notable to date is Johan Rojas - currently with AA level Reading ) and 36 pitchers ( includes “big arms” Jaydenn Estanista, Jean Cabrera, Nicoly Pina & Cristian Hernandez ) and while no player from the Boca Chica Academy has reached the major leagues yet considering this is only the fifth year of operation that’s not a discredit despite the impatience of many fans as the players I’ve mentioned are all in their early twenties still.

This year the Phillies Red team finished with a record of 36-23 and just barely missed the playoffs ( went to tie breaker ) while league champions Phillies White won the San Pedro Division with a 40-19 record and went 6-1 in the playoffs.  Team White went 17-4 in August and 23-5 ( .821 ) in their final 28 games ( including the playoffs ) en-route to the league title.

Standout players on Team White include 17 year old shortstop William Bergolla ( .380 BA in 71 regular season AB’s ), 18 year old Catcher/Infielder Leanardo Rondon ( .340 BA in 125 regular season AB’s ), 18 year old outfielder Jorge Garcia ( .308 BA in 177 AB’s ) and 18 year old outfielder Raylin Heredia ( 6 for 12 ( .500 ) with 2 doubles, 2 RBIs and a walk in the playoffs ).  They were joined for the playoffs and championship series by Team Red standout 18 year old infielder Marco Soto ( .371 OBP in 203 regular season PA’s ).

Pitching standouts on Team White included 19 year old right hander Maxwell Hernandez who led the league in ERA during the regular season ( 0.72 in 49 1/3 IP ) and also posted a 0.82 ERA in two playoff/championship round appearances totaling 11 innings.  Nineteen year old RH Danyony Pulido also had a strong season posting a 1.82 ERA in 11 regular season starts ( 49 1/3 IP ) and making two starts in the playoff/championship round - the second one on three days rest.  Relievers Saul Alcala, Saul Teran, Douglas Mijares and Ezequiel Ventura were key as innings eaters and pitching out of inherited runners jams in the playoffs.  Nineteen year old league all-star RH Jesus Querales joined Team White for the playoffs after posting a 1.64 ERA and 7 saves for Team Red during the regular season in 15 appearances ( 22 IP ) - in the playoffs he yielded no runs in 3 appearances ( 3 1/3  IP ) and posted a save.  Twenty year old Hermes Astudillo was the Team White closer during the regular season. 

Playing for team Red this season was perhaps the most exciting arm in the academy in 17 year old RH Enrique Segura who shows a mid nineties fastball and posted a 2.32 ERA in 13 games ( 42 2/3 IP ) this season.  Seventeen year old lefty Edwar Chirinos is another Team Red pitcher who I watched and came away impressed - he posted a 2.49 ERA in 13 games 25 1/3 IP.   Don’t sleep on a potential big arm reliever in RH Jonh Henriquez who’s shown the ability to post upper nineties velocity.

Just sayin - it’s a freaking big deal to win a championship - at any level of baseball - as fans we should celebrate the 2022 DSL Champions Phillies White team along with the organization - as a Phillies minor league advocate I sure am and am both very happy and proud for all those involved from top management on down to my field side seat or video review chair.  Am excited and anxious to see which young players will participate in Fall Instructs Camp which opens on September 13th at Carpenter Complex.  I love baseball and find my team spirit embedded in the outlook going forward - but hey we can’t ever lose sight of the successes as they come as well - that’s the recipe for a Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️ 🤓.

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