Summary: The Dominican Summer League Padres scuffled in 2017, finishing with a dismal 24-47 record, which placed them in last place in the eight-team Baseball City division. The team struggled offensively, hitting just .224/.337/.311, which in the bottom quartile in the league. On the mound, the team struggled as well, pitching to a 4.26 ERA, which was also near the bottom of the league. The struggles are not hugely surprising after the Padres chose to have nearly 20 members of their 2016 international free agency class open their professional careers in the U.S.
Level: The Dominican Summer League is the lowest level of the minors and, after the demise of the Venezuelan Summer League, is the only foreign-based professional league affiliated with Major League Baseball. Players at this level are typically signed out of countries in Latin America, as players born in the U.S. or Canada are not permitted to play in the league. The league was formed in 1985 and the Padres had their first full affiliated team in the league in 1997. The most famous alumni of the DSL for the organization are Rymer Liriano, Frank Garces, and Dinelson Lamet.
Player of the year: C/1B Blinger Perez, .270/.368/.380.
At MadFriars, we typically don’t spend much time covering the DSL because information is difficult to obtain and we have not had the opportunity to travel there … yet. Perez, 18, was signed by the Padres as a minor league free agent out of Venezuela in April of 2016.
He had a very strong season on the island, producing a 12% walk rate and just a 14% K rate. His .270/.368/.380 slash-line was 23% above league average and he eventually earned a promotion to the Arizona League where got 17 plate appearances.
The organization has a ton of catchers in the rookie leagues and they figure to draft a few more in June, although Perez did see some action at first. He is not considered to be a big-time prospect but his eye at the plate makes him a name to watch.
Pitcher of the Year: RHP Moises Lugo 2-2 1.97 ERA 64 IP, 50 H, 20 R 14 ER 17 BB 54 K
Lugo, 19, signed as an international free agent last March and was easily the best pitcher for the DSL Padres. The Dominican teenager pitched to an ERA below two and allowed two runs or less in 11 of his 13 starts. His best start came in July against the Reds’ affiliate, in which he pitched six shutout innings while striking out nine.
As an older international signee, Lugo will be in Peoria for extended spring training in 2018 and will look to build on a solid professional debut when he arrives stateside.
Two outside the MadFriars’ 2018 Top 20.
(1) C Alison Quintero
How Acquired: 2016 International free agent
Avg OBP SLG PA BB/K Hits XBH HR
.174 .278 .281 52 6/15 8 3 0
2017 Highlights: Quintero, 17, came to the U.S. for spring training and was slated to spend the year stateside, but after a fluke injury during extended, he went back to the DSL in July. The Padres’ top catcher in the vaunted signing class of 2016, Quintero was the best prospect to see time for the DSL Padres, although he got into just 17 games. He had a three-hit game but hit just .174/.278/.281 in an extremely limited sample of 52 plate appearances.
Negatives: Statistics in the short-season leagues should be taken with an extreme grain of salt – especially following an injury. That said, Quintero’s performance didn’t set the world on fire.
Projection: Quintero was Baseball America’s #22 prospect in the 2016 international signing class, signing with the Padres for $830,000. Ben Badler praised Quintero for “having great flexibility and agility throughout his body, which helps him block the plate and receive well.” (Source: https://www.baseballamerica.com/international/scouting-reports-top-international-prospects-july-2/#CJsAFroxShBzvek5.97). His offensive game is more a work in progress.
MadFriars’ Assessment: At just 17, Quintero is still one of the youngest players in the organization. While he is not a blue-chip prospect in a deep system, his athleticism behind the plate and quick reactions seemingly make him, as of now, a defensive-first catcher. The 2018 season will be a reboot for the Venezuelan, who was brought back to the US and will work in extended spring training.
(2) SS Tucupita Marcano
Position: Shortstop/Second Base
How Acquired: 2016 International free agent
AVG OBP SLG PA BB/K Hits XBH HR
.206 .337 .253 209 34/15 35 6 0
2017 Highlights: Maracano did not produce much offensively for the DSL Padres in 2017, although he did lead the club with 10 stolen bases. The young infielder finished the season strong, going 6-for-17 in his last four games — his best stretch of the season.
Negatives: Marcano’s offensive output was 17 percent below league average — and he had just six extra-base hits in over 200 plate appearance and a .047 ISO doesn’t scream power projection.
Projection: Maracano signed in 2016 for $320,000 and displayed the ability to make contact and draw walks. While the command of pitcher’s in the DSL rivals what you would see in the Avocado League, Maracano walked in over 16% of his plate appearances and struck out just in just 7.2% of those appearances. He will need to fill out more to be anything more than a slap hitter but his bat-to-ball skills were the best on the DSL roster in 2017.
MadFriars’ Assessment: Maracano doesn’t have the physical tools of some of the bigger names of the 2016 July signing class, but his ability to draw walks and make contact merits keeping an eye on him. He will need to add a little muscle over the next few years but will have the opportunity to do so while working in Peoria this season.
Up Next: We take a look at some of the top players for the Padres’ two AZL squads.