The Boston Red Sox farm system is filled with talent, but that does not guarantee success for the minor league affiliates. In Brandon Magee‘s DSL Red Sox offensive review, he details the ups and downs of the rookie league team’s 2015 season.
The Dominican Summer League is a clash of cultures. Players from around the Caribbean, South America, Central America and even Europe begin their quest for baseball stardom in the academies of the Dominican Republic. Each has shown enough promise or has skills that can be further developed. Some blossom immediately and move quickly to the United States for more advanced work. Some take years of tinkering to finally move to the next stage. Some never advance.
As we look at the various performers for the Red Sox in the Dominican Summer League, keep in mind that these players are a long, long way from Fenway. We can’t even find photographic evidence that some of these players exist. While the next Stolmy Pimentel or Frankie Montas may be present, it is also possible no one ever sniffs a major league park.
While we normally begin our review with the Most Valuable Pitcher, this year a pair of pitchers were promoted out of the DSL during the season, a rarity.
The first of the two was Anderson Espinoza, who was promoted after a mere four games in the DSL. While it is probable that his promotion was in the works before either the DSL or Gulf Coast League began their season (the DSL begins their season three weeks earlier), Espinoza did nothing to dissuade the notion that his pitching was the catalyst. In 15 innings, Espinoza gave up 13 hits and 3 walks while striking out 21 batters. The 17-year old would help to lead the GCL to a Championship and would end his season with the full-season Greenville Drive.
Roniel Raudes, on the other hand, ended his DSL season with an ERA of 3.52. However, his ERA ballooned in his final DSL performance, allowing seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, four more runs than he had allowed in any other performance during his stellar debut season. He was also “penalized” as all of his runs allowed were considered earned. Unlike Espinoza, Raudes was not simply a strikeout artist; he was a master of precision. Over his eleven starts in the DSL, Raudes allowed 46 hits and three walks over 53 2/3 innings. He also struck out 63. Like Espinoza, Raudes helped to lead the GCL to the Championship.
Most Valuable Pitcher
Even without considering Espinoza and Raudes, the number of pitchers in contention for this distinction were numerous. But it is hard to ignore Darwinzon Hernandez and his 1.10 ERA over 65 1/3 innings. There are questions with Hernandez, a 1.30 WHIP is unusually high for a pitcher with an ERA so low. And while he did not give up an earned run in his final seven appearances (34 2/3 innings), he did allow six unearned runs. However, his 22 hits and 11 walks in that period, along with his 41 strikeouts, shows an undeniable progression over his first nine appearances (19 walks, 33 hits, 26 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings).
Denyi Reyes was another contender for MVP, pitching a team high 75 innings in 15 games and putting up a stellar 7-1 record. Like Raudes, Reyes was a master of precision, walking three batters during the season while allowing 73 hits and striking out 63. Also like Raudes, his ERA of 2.88 is due in part to only allowing four unearned runs.
Yorvin Pantoja put up a perfect 4-0 record with a 2.35 ERA in 14 starts and 69 innings. Pantoja was similar to Hernandez, walking 29 and giving up 53 hits, while striking out 66.
In his second season with the Red Sox, Alejandro Rodriguez saw his innings increase threefold to 60. Over 14 starts, Rodriguez put up a 4-6 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Rodriguez gave up 61 hits and 23 walks while whiffing 47 batters.
19-year old Eduard Bazardo showed potential in his first professional season, striking out 55 batters in 57 2/3 innings. However, he also showed rough patches, with half of his 14 starts lasting 4 innings or less. On the season, Bazardo went 3-6 with a 4.37 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
In his first professional season, Junior Espinoza showed power pitching potential, striking out 63 batters in 56 2/3 innings over 13 starts. Espinoza went 2-4 with a 4.13 ERA, walking 20 and giving up 55 hits, including a team high five home runs.
Jose Zacarias went 1-4 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 50 innings of work over 13 appearances. Zacarias struck out 50 batters while walking only eight, however he allowed 55 hits, including four dingers.
Victor Garcia started 12 games for the DSL2 squad, putting up an ERA of 2.40 despite a 3-5 record. Over 45 innings, Garcia struck out 50 batters. Garcia was extremely stingy with the hits, allowing only 25, but was also generous with the base on balls (25) and the hit by pitches (8).
Gary Calvo saw time with both DSL teams this season and also pitched as a starter and a reliever. Over 37 1/3 innings, Calvo put up an ERA of 4.58 with an even uglier RA of 6.99. Like Garcia, Calvo was stingy with the hits (27) but generous with the base on balls (29) and HBPs (7).
Christopher Acosta had two seasons in one. In his first 4 games, Acosta went 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA, allowing 21 hits in 12 2/3 innings. After being shut down for a month, Acosta showed the potential that earned him a $1.5 million signing bonus. In his final six games, Acosta put up an ERA of 2.45, giving up 15 hits and three walks in 22 innings of work.
Hildemaro Requena saw action in 16 games, throwing 52 2/3 innings while going 1-4 with a 2.73 ERA. While Requena was largely stingy with baserunners (44 hits and 11 walks), he was hit hard, allowing 15 extra-base hits including four home runs. Requena struck out 35.
Luis Colmenares pitched 50 innings in 16 appearances, putting up a 3.06 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. Colmenares was a hard man to hit, allowing only 33 hits, but he walked 26 and hit seven. Colmenares struck out 38.
Ryan Oduber threw 46 2/3 innings in 14 games mostly in relief, putting up a 3.50 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Oduber was generous with the hits, allowing 54, while walking eight and striking out 31.
Warlyn Guzman pitched in 40 innings over 18 games for both DSL squads. Guzman put up a 3-2 record with a 1.80 ERA. Guzman allowed 46 hits, with only eight doubles and a triple augmenting 37 singles, while striking out 28.
In his first professional season, native Italian Nicolo Clemente saw action for both DSL teams. In 18 games over 39 1/3 innings, Clemente put up a 3-3 record with a 2.97 ERA. Clemente struck out 24, while allowing 36 hits and 11 walks.
In his fourth season in the Dominican, Jervis Torrealba threw 38 1/3 innings in 14 appearances. Torrealba put up a 4-1 record with a 3.05 ERA, striking out 33 while allowing 36 hits and 19 walks.
Edilson Batista had a rough first season with the Red Sox, going 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. In 36 innings, struck out 18 and allowed 50 hits and 17 unearned runs.
16-year old Jose Gonzalez saw action in 12 games, throwing 36 innings while putting up a 4.50 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Gonzalez showed potential, striking out 27 while walking only 9, but will need to start limiting hits (44) as he progresses.
In his third season in the DSL, Ritzi Mendoza regressed. In 29 2/3 innings over 16 games, Mendoza put up a 6.37 ERA, allowing 37 hits and 11 walks while whiffing only a dozen.
Roberto Medina pitched 23 innings in 17 appearances in his first season. Medina went 3-1 with a 2.74 ERA, allowing 20 hits and 14 walks while striking out 18. Medina also allowed more unearned runs (8) than earned runs (7).
Traded to the Red Sox by the Nationals for bonus slot money, Ramses Rosario saw action in seven games for the Sox. Rosario pitched 17 2/3 innings, putting up a 1.53 ERA with 12 strikeouts.