The Dominican Summer League season was supposed to wrap up on Saturday, but rain forced the cancellation of the last two games. Those were the only two rain outs for the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate all season and coming during the last two days of the season, the games were wiped out. The Pirates finished with a 34-36 record. In the upcoming days, we will recap the season for the hitters and pitchers with scouting reports on each player and also give our top ten prospect list.
This last week of the season saw one player return from an injury, while another player was released. Last week, we mentioned that starting pitcher Luis Escobar was shutdown due to an appendectomy and his season was over. Catcher Mikell Granberry missed three weeks due to a back injury. He returned to action this week and got into all four games, going 3-for-10 at the plate. It was important to prove that he was healthy to end the season. Granberry did just that and said he felt fine afterwards.
First baseman Yunelky Adames was released on Thursday. He was a fourth-year player and nearing age 24, so he had limited upside. He hit .275/.365/.409 in 54 games this year and led the team with 38 RBIs. Adames was really tearing the cover off the ball early last season, before an ankle injury put him out of action for the last two months. The Pirates needed to promote his to the States for next season, or release him and they decided early that he wasn’t going to be in their future plans. Adames was the second Pirates player released this year. Pitcher Jesus Perez was let go in mid-June after just one appearance.
With just four games played during the last week, everyone saw limited playing time. It should be no surprise that the best player this week was All-Star second baseman Raul Siri. He was easily the best player on the team all season and he went 5-for-14 with two doubles and four walks in the last four games. He finished the season as the DSL leader in doubles and he placed third in slugging(.521), third in total bases(124) and his .955 OPS was the fourth best.
Third baseman Jhoan Herrera went 3-for-10 with two walks and a .900 OPS. He finished the season strong, hitting .421 in his last ten games. Herrera recovered nicely from the ankle injury that occurred during Spring Training in the States and caused him to return to the DSL for playing time.
Left fielder Edison Lantigua went 4-for-13, drove in four runs and walked twice in three games. He wasn’t as highly touted as right fielder Jeremias Portorreal, but Lantigua ended up having the much better season. The young outfielders got two of the three highest bonuses during last year’s July 2nd signing period. Lantigua started the season strong and finished just as well, while Portorreal went 1-for-8 in the last week. He did draw four walks, so it wasn’t a lost week. Portorreal’s final triple slash line was .167/.289/.240 in 204 at-bats, with 73 strikeouts.
Shortstop Adrian Valerio went 3-for-18 with two walks during the last week. He finished August with a .240/.256/.280 slash line in 18 games, his worst month of the season. Valerio finished first on the Pirates in at-bats, second in hits, doubles and total bases, trailing Raul Siri in each category.
Center fielder Victor Fernandez had a couple nice games to round out his season. He was affected by a hamstring injury that cost him time in late June. Fernandez was 10-for-11 in stolen bases early in the year, but ended up going 4-for-8 in stolen bases during his last 26 games. For a player that was called “easily the fastest player on the team”, that second set of numbers shows that he probably wasn’t 100% after the injury. Fernandez finished one behind outfielder Sandy Santos for the team lead in stolen bases. Santos also picked up eight outfield assists, tops on the team.
On the pitching side, Yeudy Garcia and Richard Mitchell were the two best pitchers on the team all season. Both of them had rough outings to finish up their seasons. Garcia gave up four runs over four innings, while Mitchell allowed five runs(three earned) in 1.2 innings. They finished as the team leaders in innings pitched, with Mitchell throwing 65 IP over 14 starts and Garcia getting in 59.2 innings in his 13 starts. Garcia had a 2.41 ERA, which was tops among starting pitchers on the Pirates. Mitchell came in at 3.05, third behind Garcia and Francis Rodriguez. Garcia also led the team with 47 strikeouts.
Rodriguez pitched well, but as a 21-year-old player in his third season, he needed to put up numbers like he did to get attention. He had a 2.91 ERA, a .223 BAA and a 1.06 WHIP. In his start this last week, he gave up four runs over four innings.
The Pirates bullpen did poorly for most of the season and they never had a true closer. Eight different pitchers had at least once save and Ramon Garcia led the team with three saves. Edgardo Leon led relievers with 36.1 innings pitched, but he also led all pitchers with 37 walks and his 7.68 ERA underlines the fact his struggles weren’t just control related. He had a .303 BAA and a 2.23 WHIP. The best reliever was Luylli Miranda, who had a 1.35 ERA in 26.1 innings. He also turned 22 years old before the season started, so he was too old for the league.
Most of the bullpen was young, so they should return many of the same players next year. It’s likely that 2-3 of them will see time in the starting role, though the Pirates have signed five pitchers for six-figure bonuses and all five should see decent time on the mound next year for the DSL Pirates.
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.