• Steve Potter

The DSL


Got word yesterday that a former teammate of mine has died from the Coronavirus ... he was about my age. Hits home a bit closer when it’s people ya know ...


I’ll continue passing the social distancing time with some more Phillies baseball research ... here’s a look at Latin America history ...


Dominican Summer League Phillies ( DSL ) :


The DSL was founded in 1985 and currently consists of 45 teams playing in 6 divisions ... it became the sole Latin America based professional summer league when the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) disbanded after the 2015 season ( the Phillies still maintain a training Academy in Venezuela and had affiliated teams, either shared with other MLB organizations or singularly sponsored, in the VSL from 1998 to 2015 ). Every major league team now has an affiliate in the DSL with 14 teams including the Phillies having 2 teams.


I found this quote in an article written by Jesse Sanchez of MLB in 2018 ... “All DSL players -- most teams have around 80 -- live at their academies and their day usually starts at 5:30 a.m. with breakfast. There's just enough time to lift weights and get early batting and fielding practice before first pitch at 10:30 a.m. each day. After the games, the prospects eat lunch and go to class. They usually have dinner between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., followed by a little free time before bed. There are no DSL games Sunday.”


The earliest I could find records of the Phillies involvement in the DSL was in 1993 when they shared a team with the Giants and Astros. The following season they shared a team with the Cardinals. That partnership continued thru the ‘95 season until in 1996 the Phillies fielded their own team in the league.


I couldn’t find any detailed league records on players till 2006 but I did find that the Phillies club was league champions in 1999. The Phillies DSL team was listed as a “working agreement” till 2009 when it became shown as an affiliate ... Manny Amador is the first to be on the Baseball Reference website as a Manager in 2010.


Some of the Phillies Latin America signees skip the DSL and go directly to the Gulf Coast League after maybe initially beginning in what’s known as the Dominican “tricky league” where young prospects get their first taste of pro baseball - it’s an unofficial league akin to Extended Spring Training contests.


There have been a few Phillies players who’ve advanced from starting in the DSL to the big leagues ,keep in mind that I only found detailed player records beginning with the ‘06 season : Pitchers Yohan Flande (2006 ), Lendy Castillo ( ‘07/10 ), Dario Alvarez ( ‘07/‘08/‘09 ), IF Jonathan Villar ( ‘08 ), Pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla ( ‘09 ), Hector Neris ( ‘10 ), Seranthony Dominguez ( ‘12/‘13 ) and Edgar Garcia ( ‘14 ) ...


Players who reached the major leagues that played for the Phillies in the VSL ( I could only find detailed player records beginning with the ‘05 season ) include : Pitchers : Sergio Escolana (‘05/‘06), Severino Gonzalez (‘11/‘12), Ricardo Pinto (‘12), Ranger Suarez (‘12/‘13/‘14), Edubray Ramos (‘13/‘14) plus 2B Cesar Hernandez (‘07/‘08) and C Willians Astudillo ( ‘09/‘10/‘11).


The Phillies made a significantly larger investment in player development in the DSL when they built their own Domincan Academy, it opened in 2017 ... prior to that they had leased - 4 different sites over the initial years of fielding their own team from 1996 to 2016 ... a big step forward to build and control their own site ... I gotta get there for a visit some day 🤔


They began fielding two teams in the DSL in 2016 ( Phillies1 and Phillies2 ), in 2017 with the opening of the Phillies Academy those teams were re-named Phillies Red and Phillies White.


From my perspective the larger investment and presence will start to show dividends in the not so distant future ...


Pitchers such as Manuel Silva, Victor Santos, Gabriel Yanez, Cristian Hernandez, Jordi Martinez, Nicoly Pina, Manuel Urias, Jonas De La Cruz, Ramon Rosso, Maikel Garrido, Juan Miranda, Eduar Segovia, Israel Puello, Jose Jimenez and Rafael Marcano ...


Infielders such as Jonathan Guzman, Edgar Made, Guarner Dipre, Alexeis Azuaje, Nicolas Torres, Jose Tortolero and Juan Herrera ...


Outfielders such as Simon Muzziotti, Luis Matos, Johan Rojas, Jose Cedeno and Jefferson Encarnacion ...


and Catchers such as Juan Aparicio, Juan Mendez and Freddy Francisco are just some of the recent Phillies DSL players on this observer’s radar that I’d expect to climb the ladder ... most began their careers when the club went to the 2 team DSL investment with an expanded developmental staff in the Dominican league and at the Academy.


It will pay off ... Patience is not our strong suit as Phillies fans but I see it coming


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

 
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