There have been whispers that the Yankees are likely to have another rookie league team for 2013. The GCL rosters are filled three ways. The amateur draft, the DSL, and miscellaneous signings.With that, the Dominican Summer League, which is where the Yankees keep their young international talent to develop them for baseball in the USA, is going to play an even more important role in the Yankees farm system. Luckily the system is stocked with talent in their baseball program in the Dominican Republic, which has to be one of the major reasons for the decision to create another GCL team.
This list does not include new signees, or anyone who didn’t play at least a game in the Dominican Summer League this year. One caveat to this list is that you have to take DSL statistics with a grain of salt. They are still somewhat important, but the season is short and the competition doesn’t compare with rookie ball. It’s a big jump.
10. Erick Canela (Dominican Republic), RHP- At 22, Canela is one of the older players who will likely be coming stateside in 2013. He had a great season in 2012, with 70 IP, 70 K, a 1.29 ERA and just 13 walks. His fastball is 92-94 mph, and he throws a fast curveball and a changeup. He’ll have to move quickly but remember that the rules are different for international players, so he will be under team control for a long time. Control appears to be a strong point as well, so it will be interesting to see how well he makes the transition to the states.
9. Jose Figueroa, OF (Mexico)- Also on the older side, he will be 20 to start 2013. His tools aren’t the best of the players on this list, but he could not be left out of the top 10 with the damage he did in the DSL last season. Figueroa doesn’t have a standout tool, he’s on the slower side, and he is only 5’10, but he can really hit the ball. The major issue with him is that he is going to have to mash at every level if he wants to make it because he profiles as a corner outfielder. He hit .382/.458/.613/1.070 in 186 DSL at bats this season. He does hit lefty, which should work in his favor.
8. Chris Cabrera, RHP (Dominican Republic)- This 6-foot-0, 180-pounder will also be 20 to start next season, and he has been through a lot recently. He had a rib removed because of thoracic outlet syndrome. He throws 92-94 mph and is capable of going higher than that. He also throws a slider with great depth and a changeup. The changeup is a work in progress. Last year he pitched 57 innings and struck out 49 with a 2.84 ERA. He walked 28. His control has not yet come back after the surgery, but he will be an interesting one to follow when he comes stateside because his ceiling is immense
7. Renzo Martini, 1B (Venezuela) – 20 years old, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds. Not a great defender, but he can rake. He hit .290/.379/.493/.873 last season, and will be coming stateside to play in rookie ball in 2013. He had 5 homeruns, and he has excellent patience at the plate, as is indicated by his .379 OBP. He also is a good contact hitter, only striking out 27 times in 221 at bats. The patience in combination with power and contact make for a guy who sounds like he’s going to mash rookie ball next year. Look out for this kid, he could explode onto the scene. As is true with any first baseman, he’ll need to hit all the way up to make it.
6. Wilmer Romero, OF (Dominican Republic)- Romero is a big kid at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, and he has plus speed, a plus arm, and plus raw power. He is a potential 5-tool outfielder, and he was able to flash some of that potential this season in the DSL. His speed is a question mark, as he only stole one base in the DSL this season, but other than that he hit .298/.352/.511/.864 as an 18 year old, with six homeruns. He’ll likely be USA-bound in 2013, and will be fun to watch in the rookie leagues.
5. Abiatal Avelino, SS (Dominican Republic)- Just 18 to start next season, he will be stateside. He’s got a plus plus arm, plus athleticism, and average speed. He’s 5-foot-11, hits right handed, and weighs 186-pounds. His defense is the most impressive aspect of his game, but he really impressed with the bat in 2012. He hit .302/.398/.374/.772, and stole 20 bases in the DSL. If he can continue to get on base and steal bases, he could make one of the biggest splashes of any prospect coming over in 2013.
4. Christopher Tamarez, 3B (Dominican Republic)- Will be 19 at the start of next season, and he’s 6-foot-2, and 170-pounds. He was signed as a shortstop but has been moved to third because he is not as quick as some of the other shortstops in the organization. He plays a solid third base, and he’s got plus power and bat. He hit .338/.394/.504/.898 in the DSL, and had six homeruns and 18 doubles. With him, Romero, and Martini heading over next year, the rookie leagues will have no shortage of power. As emphasized above, it is problematic to look to closely at DSL stats, but power is power and these three have some of it.
3. Luis Severino, RHP (Dominican Republic)- Another one who can touch 96 mph, he dominated the DSL this season at the age of 18. With just a 1.68 ERA in 64.1 DSL innings in 2012, the 6-foot-0, 195-pounder will test his stuff against some rookie leaguers in what will be his age 19 season. He had 45 K and 17 BB last season, and just a .205 batting average against. He’s obviously a difficult pitcher to hit, and will be part of another crop of about five pitchers from the DSL that will come stateside and hopefully make a splash.
2. Dallas Martinez, RHP (Mexico)- He’s drawn some comparisons to Manny Banuelos because of his control and effortless motion, but he is one of the players on this list who is almost guaranteed to make a splash. His stuff is already good enough to succeed. His 93 mph fastball is the first thing that jumps out at you, and his impressive performance is the next. His secondary stuff is already extremely polished. He threw 65.2 innings of 2.19 ERA ball, with 54 K and 21 walks on the season. If the Yankees can find innings for him in rookie ball, (and they will if they truly are going to have another team) he will make a big splash.
1. Rafael DePaula, RHP (Dominican Republic)- Easily the most highly touted prospect in the DSL last season, there’s a reason for that. DePaula is a 6-foot-2, 212-pound monster who throws 92-95 and dials up to 97 mph with good life. He has a full repertoire, including a curveball, slider, and change up to go along with that fastball. The slider is plus already and the change is a work in progress. The curve is his fourth pitch. He will be 23 to start next season, so he’s going to have to move fast. Most expect that he will. He’s probably the only player on this list who could be a top 100 prospect in all of baseball by the end of 2013, although stranger things have happened.
Other names to watch out for: Brian Cuevas (SS out of the Dominican Republic) Luis Torrens (catcher just signed out of Venezuela), Yancarlos Baez (SS signed out of the Dominican Republic), Jesus Aparicio (C out of Venezuela), Simon De La Rosa (RHP just signed out of the Dominican Republic), Daniel Vavrusa (C out of the Czech Republic) Omar Luis Rodriguez (LHP signed from Cuba for $4 million), Alexander Palma (OF signed out of Venezuela).
Some of these other guys could be coming over in 2013 or 2014. If Omar Luis Rodriguez gets his visa issues taken care of, he’ll be in the states as well. As you can see there is a wealth of talent in the Dominican Republic right now. The sense is that most other teams in the league are really impressed with what the Yankees are doing at that level. If they continue to pump out solid prospects at the current rate, the Yankees will have a real surplus of top prospect talent in the not so distant future.