The Dominican winter league held their draft on Thursday night, as first-time eligible players from the Dominican Republic are drafted by the six teams in the league. Any player from the Dominican Republic who played their first year of full season ball in 2022 is eligible for the draft, with a total of 353 players eligible and only 96 players selected. Those teams that select them, now hold their rights during the winter league season if they choose to play in the Dominican Republic. The Pittsburgh Pirates had four players selected last night.
Rodolfo Nolasco was selected in the sixth round, taken 35th overall by Estrellas de Oriente
Luis Peralta was taken in the tenth round, 64th overall by Tigres del Licey
Cristian Charle was taken in the 11th round, 71st overall, joining Nolasco on Estrellas de Oriente
Joelvis Del Rosario was taken in the 13th round, 78th overall to Gigantes del Cibao
Pitchers are usually selected later in the draft because they know that teams are unlikely to let young pitchers play winter ball, especially starters, so the order selected isn’t the best indicator of perceived talent from the Dominican team scouts. Based on talent, Joelvis Del Rosario would likely go much higher if he wasn’t a 21-year-old starting pitcher. In other words, someone who profiles as a AAAA utility player is much more valuable to these teams because he’s likely to play every year and put up solid results in the league.
All of these players are unlikely to play this winter because the talent level in the Dominican winter league is well above Low-A, with a very large majority of the league having Triple-A experience (approximately 85% each year) and good percentage also have some big league time.
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.