Back in 2012, we posted a top ten prospect list for the Pirates players in the Dominican Summer League. With the DSL season ending last Saturday, it’s time to see how these players have progressed in the last two years. This list was based of a combination of scouting reports, stats, player’s size and age, as well as their signing bonus. Each of the last two seasons, we have been able to get a lot more first-hand scouting reports of the players during the season, so the 2013 and 2014 list should be better. The top ten list also depends on the overall talent of the team, so you can’t hit on all ten players because no minor league team will have ten legit prospects that actually pan out. The 2014 list will be posted later this week.
Rated tops overall in 2012 was Julio de la Cruz. He hadn’t played a game yet, but he got a $700,000 signing bonus and had a great scouting report. He is in the GCL this year as an 18-year-old, posting a .619 OPS. That’s not a strong OPS and his 6:30 BB/K ratio also doesn’t look good, but de la Cruz is putting up similar numbers as he did in the DSL last year, so he didn’t lose anything moving up a level. He plays third base, but likely won’t be able to stick there. If he starts to hit like the Pirates thought he could when he signed, they will find a spot for his bat.
Michael de la Cruz was ranked second and just like Julio(no relation) his ranking was based on his scouting report and bonus, because he had not played a game yet at that point. Michael de la Cruz was the Pirates best player in the DSL last year, a potential five-tool center fielder with excellent plate patience. He still has a decent walk rate this year, but he has not hit at all. MDLC has had some injury issues, as well as some problems adjusting to life in the U.S. as a 17-year-old. He still has the most potential of anyone on this list, but he has basically had a lost season this year.
Third-ranked Maximo Rivera was slightly old for the list, but he was coming off a huge season in the DSL. Rivera is now at West Virginia, where he has a .410 OPS in 20 games. Earlier in the year, he played well at Bristol and moved up when injuries opened up a couple roster spots. He doesn’t have much upside at this point, but he is still young enough to not totally write-off.
Catcher Yoel Gonzalez was the youngest player on the list. He just turned 18 earlier this month and he is catching full-time in the GCL. Gonzalez is strong defensively and he has shown slight improvements at the plate over his only season in the DSL. If the list was updated he would move up to third place.
The fifth place player is still in the DSL and finally broke through this season. Starter Richard Mitchell was one of the younger players in the league in 2012 and didn’t pitch much. He slowly worked his way up, seeing more time last year and he’s pitching terrific this season. Mitchell will likely end up right around the same place on the 2014 list and he should see starting time in the GCL next year. He may even move up to Bristol, because he has advanced fastball control and can throw his change-up for strikes.
Catcher Danny Arribas was ranked sixth and he has hit like a prospect each of the last three years. He has a .768 OPS with Bristol this season. He prospect status is questionable because he will be 22 next month and he’s still at a low level. If he can move up to West Virginia next year, that would help his case.
Oderman Rocha was a lot like Rivera, older than average for the DSL, but he put up great results. Rocha was used each of the last two years as an emergency filler in the Bradenton bullpen, coming over from Extended Spring Training and that usually isn’t a good sign. He has seen limited time each year, so his prospect status is in doubt.
Pitcher Leandro Rodriguez got an $80,000 bonus and pitched in the Dominican Prospect League prior to signing. He was held back by age verification and then pitched in 2012 and looked good. He has been injured all of the last two seasons(shoulder surgery), but he is still in the system.
Second baseman Pablo Reyes was ranked ninth, which was probably a good for spot for him at the time, though a revised list would have him much higher. Reyes is with Bristol now and he’s hitting well. He was called the best pure hitter in the DSL last year among Pirates players. The scouting reports were right, as he skipped right over the GCL and he has a .733 OPS as a 20-year-old this year.
The tenth ranked player was Adrian de Aza, who had a great scouting report when he signed for $150,000 in 2010. He struggled in his limited playing time and word was that he rarely gave a good effort on the field. Then he left the team on his own last year, truly wasting his potential.
Among the players missed, though mentioned on the “others to watch” list, was outfielder Tito Polo. Also unranked was Alexis Bastardo, another outfielder who is comparable to Polo. Both were ranked 5/6(Bastardo fifth) in last year’s rankings. Polo would rank #2 on a revised list and Bastardo would probably ranked fifth or sixth. See video of Polo below.
Pirates Game Graph
Pittsburgh: The Pirates are 3.5 games behind St. Louis for the first Wild Card spot. They are 1.5 games behind San Francisco for the second spot. They are currently five games back from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
Indianapolis: The Indians are six games back in the International League West, and six games back in the Wild Card with eight games left in the season.
Bradenton: The Marauders are tied for second place with Fort Myers in the Florida State League South trailing Palm Beach by one game. They need to win the second half division to make the playoffs, unless Fort Myers wins the second half title. Fort Myers won the first half title, so if they also win the second half, then the team with the second best overall record would make the playoffs. In the overall standings, Bradenton is two games behind Palm Beach for the second best record. The Marauders have seven games left in their season, three against Fort Myers.
Minor League Starter of the Day: In Altoona tonight, Angel Sanchez will get his fifth start since being picked up off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. Prior to his last start, we took a look at his prospect status and where he would fit into the Pirates system. He didn’t do himself any favors in that game, giving up four runs on eight hits in six innings. Bradenton is in a fight for the playoffs(see playoff push above) and Jason Creasy will try to help them get to the postseason tonight. He will also try to bounce back from a recent rough streak. He has a 5.84 ERA in four August starts. Creasy has issued just 20 walks in 136.1 innings this season. He has thrown 28.1 innings more than last year. West Virginia is off today. The DSL season ended Saturday. You can read the final weekly recap here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (67-63) vs Cardinals (70-59) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (4.18 ERA, 127:57 K/BB, 118.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (68-68) @ Columbus (74-62) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jake Brigham (4.33 ERA, 69:26 K/BB, 89.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (56-77) vs Richmond (74-60) 7:00 PM
Probable starter: Angel Sanchez (4.91 ERA, 16:4 K/BB, 22 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (72-60, 37-26 2nd half) vs Ft Myers (78-54) 6:30 PM
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (4.02 ERA, 89:20 K/BB, 136.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (51-78, 31-30 2nd half) @ Lexington (55-78) 7:05 PM 8/26
Probable starter: TBD
RK: Bristol (19-44) vs Elizabethton (36-27) 7:00 PM
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (18-37) vs Blue Jays (17-37) 12:00 PM
Probable Starter: Gerardo Navarro (4.89 ERA, 15:11 K/BB, 46 IP)
DSL: Pirates (34-36)
Andrew Lambo homered on Sunday, his ninth of the season with Indianapolis. He also hit one while on rehab in the GCL. Lambo homered twice on Monday, then again on Saturday, which is shown below.
Tito Polo has been one of the best hitters for the GCL Pirates this year. He is hitting .281/.363/.445 in 146 at-bats, with 15 extra-base hits and seven stolen bases.
8/24: Pirates claim Bobby LaFromboise. Designate Tommy Field for assignment.
8/21: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Altoona on rehab.
8/21: Yunelky Adames released.
8/21: Oderman Rocha and Nathan Sopena promoted to Jamestown.
8/21: Julio Vivas promoted to Bristol.
8/21: Andrew Dennis placed on disabled list.
8/21: Indianapolis places Nevin Ashley and Blake Davis on disabled list.
8/21: Wirfin Obispo clears waivers. Outrighted to Indianapolis.
8/20: Gerrit Cole activated from disabled list. Brent Morel assigned to Indianapolis.
8/20: Jacoby Jones placed on disabled list. Francisco Diaz activated from DL.
8/20: Felipe Gonzalez promoted to Bradenton. Jake Burnette promoted to West Virginia.
8/20: Matt Curry assigned to Altoona. Drew Maggi placed on disabled list.
8/19: Andrew McCutchen activated from disabled list. Michael Martinez sent to Indianapolis.
8/19: Josh Bell placed on disabled list. Ralph Henriquez activated from DL.
8/19: Adam Wilk placed on disabled list.
This Date in Pirates History
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players were born on this date, plus there are two transactions of note. In 1959, the Pirates dealt away power-hitting first baseman Ted Kluszewski. The two players they received back played a total of nine games in a Pirates uniform, so it did not work out well, although the Pirates won the World Series the following season. On this date in 1912, the Pirates acquired Wilbur Cooper from the minor leagues. He would go on to win more games with the Pirates than any pitcher in franchise history. You can read a bio of Cooper here and the full article on this date here, which also includes a game recap from the 1979 season.
On this date in 1910, the Pirates defeated the Brooklyn Superbas by a 4-3 score in the 12th inning. Third baseman Bobby Byrne hit a double in the bottom of the 12th, then stole third base and stole home for the win.
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.