The Dominican Summer League held its annual all-star game today and the Pirates team sent four players to the game including three players who made the starting lineup. Thirdbaseman Diego Goris, outfielders Jesus Vasquez and Raul Fortunato and pitcher Aneudy Merejo all represented the Pirates in the game.
Raul Fortunato batted third and went 0-2 with a walk. He is a speedy 20 year old centerfielder who has shown great improvements this year. After batting .161 and .209 his first two seasons in the DSL he has a .321 avg, .899 OPS . His 25 stolen bases ranks him 5th in the league. He is batting .409 in 19 July games and his 4 home runs this year is two more than he hit his previous two seasons combined.
Jesus Vasquez batted cleanup and went 1-4 with a double and an RBI. The 19 year old leftfielder has had an MVP type season so far. Prior to this season he had played two years in the league and he took a small step backwards last season after an impressive rookie year in 2009. This year he is batting .379, 2nd highest average in the DSL. His 1.106 OPS and 40 RBI’s both lead the league. Jesus is hitting .500 in 17 July games and he was named to the 2009 DSL all-star game as well.
Diego Goris batted 7th and played 3B going 0-2 in the game. He is a 4th year player in the DSL so this will be his last season in the league and he is making the most of it. Despite playing 4 years already he is still just 20 years old and has played well this year. He was a surprise return to the league as he hit .310 last year which would usually get a 3rd year player promoted to the states. He has the 3rd highest batting average in the league this year hitting .365 and he makes great contact striking out just 13 times in 167 AB’s. Prior to this year his baserunning was questionable but he has stolen 9 bases in 11 attempts this season.
Aneudy Merejo faced just one batter getting the 3rd out in the top of the 9th on a groundout to SS. The 20 year old 2nd year player went 4-2 2.95 last year in 22 relief appearances. He has pitched even better this year going 4-0 1.65 in 17 relief appearances and he has struck out 28 batters in 27.1 IP. He is low-end on the prospect scale as he is a small RHP at just 5″10 155 and he has never started a game
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Great article, thanks. I enjoyed getting to know some of these guys. Who do you see making the biggest splash first in the pros? Or do you think it will all be based on position necessity? Thanks again!