2010 Year In Review: DSL A's Hitters

Our 2010 Year in Review series continues, with a move from the mound to the plate. We take a look at the hitters for the 2010 Dominican Summer League A's.

Dominican Summer League A's
Team Batting Average:
.220 (26th out of 34 teams)
Team OBP: .332 (17th)
Team OPS: .633 (23rd)
HRs: 22 (tied for fourth)
Runs Scored: 274 (25th)

Note: Only players with at least 100 at-bats were covered in this article

The Dominican Summer League isn't a league traditionally built on offense, and that continued to ring true in 2010. Only three teams finished with team OPSs above 700 and two of those teams were from the same organization (the New York Yankees). The DSL A's were near the middle or bottom of the pack in most offensive categories, and the DSL A's finished third in a four-team Santo Domingo North division.

Michael Soto, in his second professional season, led the team with 210 at-bats and he also was the team leader in homeruns with five, although four of those came during the first month of the season. He had an up-and-down season, batting .300/.414/.529 in June, .135/.244/.203 in July and .288/.383/.348 in August. He finished with a .238/.346/.357 line overall. The corner infielder has a powerful right-handed swing and he has also shown good plate discipline, picking up 35 walks in 64 games. The native of the Dominican turns 19 later this month and showed enough potential this season that he is a candidate to play in the States in 2011.

One player virtually guaranteed to make the jump from the Dominican to the US next season is shortstop Wilfredo Solano, who played his first professional season in 2010. Solano was given the highest signing bonus in the A's 2009 international free agent class. The 17-year-old had 156 at-bats over 45 games in his debut season and he batted .179/.314/.192. Solano showed remarkable plate discipline for a player his age, drawing 30 walks against only 30 strike-outs, but he also managed only two extra-base hits. The A's had Solano participate in Oakland's US Instructional League camp to work on being more aggressive at the plate and he impressed the A's coaching staff with his improvements at the plate and in the field.

It is unclear whether Jose Sayegh, who was one of the A's highest profile position player signings on the international market in 2008, will make the jump State-side in 2011. Sayegh did improve on his .143/.196/.143 line from 2009, batting .183/.324/.254. He still hasn't hit for the power the A's expected him to, although he is still only 18-years-old (he will turn 19 in December), and he made significant improvements with his plate discipline, going from a 49:3 K:BB ratio in 2009 to a 51:25 K:BB ratio in 2010.

Like Sayegh, outfielder Anderson De La Rosa made incremental improvements at the plate in his second professional season. The right-handed hitter batted only .182/.284/.249 in 181 at-bats, but those numbers were up from the .153/.273/.176 line he had in 2009. De La Rosa turned 19 in mid-August.

Corner infielder Luis Baez was arguably the DSL A's top everyday position player in 2010. In 170 at-bats, he posted a .282/.328/.453 line. Tall and wiry at 6'3'', 165 pounds, the right-handed hitting Baez had 20 extra-base hits (including four homers) and was 10-for-15 in stolen base attempts. Baez was particularly good during the final month of the season, batting .328/.371/.484. It was the 19-year-old's third season in the DSL, so he may be ready to make the jump to the US in 2011.

Jose Rosario is another three-year veteran of the DSL. The first-baseman has improved his numbers each season, going from a 439 OPS in 2008 to a 524 OPS in 2009 and a 637 OPS in 2010. Throughout his young career, Rosario has shown good plate discipline, and that carried over into 2010, when he had 20 walks against 23 strike-outs in 158 at-bats. He also hit his first professional homerun in 2010, but managed only a .304 SLG. He will likely need to raise that number to jump to the US, given that he is a first-baseman.

Luis Osorio, a 19-year-old Venezuelan middle infielder, led the team with 15 stolen bases in 19 opportunities. He also showed a good eye at the plate, walking 31 times in 172 official at-bats. He hit only .227 with a .326 SLG, however, so he still has work to do. This was Osorio's third season in the DSL and he set career bests for at-bats, extra-base hits (14), homeruns (1), RBIs (16), stolen bases, walks and OPS (675).

Gabriel Santana and Rodolfo Penalo also saw a lot of time in the DSL middle infield this season. Santana, who turned 18 late in the DSL season, collected 135 at-bats in his second season as a pro. Like many of his teammates, Santana showed a decent approach at the plate, posting a .335 OBP despite a .234 BA. However, the 6'0'', 165 pound Venezuelan hasn't developed any power yet, as he managed only three doubles and no triples or homeruns in 45 games. His .255 SLG was down from his .262 mark in 2009, although his OBP improved by 46 points.

Penalo, who is five days younger than Santana, was second on the team among players who had more than 100 at-bats in OBP with a .371 mark. The diminutive shortstop (he is listed at 5'7'', 130) hit .243 and collected only three extra-base hits, however. For whatever reason, Penalo thrived when playing on the road, batting .340/.475/.426 in 21 away games (compared to .161/.277/.161 at home). Penalo is a speedster, but he is still undisciplined on the bases, as evidenced by his 12 stolen bases in 20 chances.

The OBP leader among players with at least 100 at-bats was catcher Reynaldo Mateo, who posted a .385 mark despite batting only .236. He walked 32 times in 157 official at-bats. Unfortunately, the 21-year-old didn't do much else at the plate, as he managed only a .312 SLG. He did steal six bases in seven chances, however. His season was a big disappointment compared to his 2009 campaign, when he hit .364/.481/.561.

One player who didn't reach 100 at-bats but deserves a mention here is shortstop Franklin Contreras, who was one of the team's top offensive players despite being limited to 25 games thanks to injury. In 67 at-bats, Contreras hit .284/.400/.448 with a 13:10 BB:K ratio. He also stole four bases in five chances. The 20-year-old Contreras made a huge improvement over his first two professional seasons, which saw him post OPSs of 537 and 448. Normally a switch-hitter, Contreras was limited by injury to swinging from the left-side for most of the season. If healthy, he could make the move to the US next season.

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