2011 Year In Review: DSL A's Hitters

Our "2011 Year In Review" series continues with a look at the hitters on the Oakland A's Dominican Summer League affiliate.

DSL A's Offense At A Glance
Team BA: .231 (12th worst out of 33)
Runs Scored: 260 (sixth fewest in the league)
Team OPS: 620 (sixth worst in the league)
Team Stolen Bases: 56 (fourth fewest in the league)

Team Slugging Percentage: .294 (sixth worst in the league)

Note: this article covers all hitters who had at least 70 at-bats for the DSL A's this season.

The A's Dominican Summer League was mediocre all around this season. The squad finished dead last in the Santo Domingo North division with a 24-46 record and, not surprisingly, the team's offense was one of the worst in the DSL. There were, however, some individual bright spots.

There was no brighter star for the DSL A's in 2011 than outfielder Vicmal De La Cruz. Making his professional debut after signing with the team to a six-figure bonus last off-season, De La Cruz posted a team-best 891 OPS in 58 games. He walked 37 times against only 27 strike-outs and collected 19 extra-base hits. De La Cruz was the MVP of the DSL All-Star game and his .318 average was 10th-best in the league. De La Cruz also finished ninth in the league in OPS and seventh in OBP (.438). Although De La Cruz won't turn 18 until the end of November, he is already on a fast track. The A's sent him to Phoenix for the team's US Instructional League and he has a strong chance to make his regular season debut in the US next season. He is arguably the most intriguing prospect to come out of the A's Dominican Academy since the Jose Ortiz/Angel Berroa days.

Another exciting prospect emerging from the A's Dominican Academy is third-baseman Renato Nunez. Nunez was the A's big name July 2nd signing in 2010 and the Venezuelan had a solid professional debut in 2011. He led the team with five homeruns and posted a 708 OPS in 53 games. Nunez struggled with his plate discipline (only six walks in 194 at-bats) and his defense at third (30 errors), but the A's believe he has the capacity to make great strides in both areas. He also saw his production taper off considerably during the final few weeks of the season, not an uncommon occurrence for a young player getting used to the grind of professional baseball for the first time. Nunez will be 17 until next April and the A's love his power potential from the right-side. He has joined De La Cruz at the A's US Instructional League camp and, like De La Cruz, could suit up for a US affiliate in 2012.

Although he only appeared in nine games for the DSL A's this season, Shawn Duinkerk is the third position player from the A's 2011 DSL squad to be invited to the US for Instructs. Duinkerk, a native of Aruba, is a raw prospect who pitched and played in the outfield as an amateur. The A's like him in the outfield and, while he didn't have much time to show his skills during the DSL season, Duinkerk did display some plate discipline, walking five times in those nine games.

Another recent international free agent signee who opened eyes this summer in the DSL is catcher Andy Paz-Garriga. The Cuban-born, French-raised backstop posted an 807 OPS in 73 at-bats towards the end of the DSL season. The 6'0'' right-hander hit .315 and walked more frequently than he struck-out. Catchers are typically brought along a little more slowly than other position players, but if Paz-Garriga continues to shine during the A's Dominican Instructional League, he could get a look in the US at some point in 2012. He is 18-years-old.

Middle infielder Luis Osorio made a big leap forward in 2011. After three DSL season of hitting no better than .232, Osorio raised his average to .307 in 2011. He posted a .375 OBP and a career-best 761 OPS. Osorio, 20, is a switch-hitter from Venezuela.

First-baseman Jose Rosario also saw a nice improvement with his numbers in 2011. A member of the A's Dominican Academy since 2008, Rosario has raised his OPS by roughly 100 points each season. Unfortunately, he started his career with a 439 OPS in 2008, but the climb has been steady and he posted a solid (for the DSL) OPS of 774 in 2011. He also hit .288 with a .381 OBP. Rosario has yet to show the power typical of a first-baseman, but his plate discipline has always been excellent. He turned 21 in September.

Middle infielder Gabriel Santana led the DSL A's with 205 at-bats in 2011. The native of Venezuela completed his third season in the DSL. He posted a solid 21:24 BB:K ratio and bumped his OBP from .335 in 2010 to .363 this season. Santana has yet to display much power and his base-running is still a work-in-progress. The A's have time to be patient with Santana, however, as he will be 19 for nearly all of next season.

Rodolfo Penalo, the 5'7'' switch-hitting middle infielder, missed much of July and collected only 80 at-bats in his second professional season. The Dominican native hit his first career homerun and raised his average from .243 to .250. He also maintained a solid K:BB ratio for a second straight year. In 2010, he walked and struck-out 18 times each. This year, he walked 11 times and struck-out 12 times. Penalo turned 19 at the end of August.

Outfielder Anderson De La Rosa also did a good job getting on-base this season. In 29 games, he walked 15 times and struck-out 17 times, posting a .362 OBP. The right-handed hitter fared well versus right-handed pitchers (783 OPS), but managed only one hit and two walks in 18 at-bats versus southpaws. The Dominican native turned 20 in August. This was his third season in the DSL and his first with an OBP above .300.

Wilman Martinez was yet another DSL prospect who saw a jump in his walk totals in 2011. The 18-year-old Venezuelan walked 22 times (against 26 strike-outs) in 160 at-bats. His .337 OBP was more than 100 points higher than his .225 BA. The power still hasn't developed for the 5'11'', 205 pound third-baseman and he is likely slated for another year of seasoning in the DSL.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the DSL season was the continuing struggles of outfielder Jose Sayegh, who was signed to a large bonus out of Venezuela before the 2009 season. In his three seasons in the DSL, Sayegh has yet to hit for a better than .200 average. This season, he slumped to a .133/.252/.171 slash line in 105 at-bats. The 6'2'' corner outfielder has yet to hit a professional homerun. He will be 20 on December 7th.

Diego Ledezma is another Venezuelan prospect who has yet to live up to the expectations bestowed on him when he signed as an amateur free agent. The 6'5'' catcher hit only .165 with a 403 OPS in 91 at-bats for the DSL A's in 2011. This was his fourth season in the DSL and he has yet to crack the 600 OPS plateau. He has also had trouble staying healthy. His 91 at-bats this season were a career-high. Ledezma turned 21 in August.

Outfielder Jesus Rivas was one of the youngest players on the DSL A's roster this season, having just turned 17 in March. The Venezuelan outfielder showed his inexperience with a .179/.235/.216 slash line. Rivas did show an uptick in production during the final month of the season. He hit a season-best .250 in August with a .340 OBP. The young Rivas will be given plenty of time to develop.

Four months younger than Rivas, catcher Argenis Raga also got his feet wet this season in the DSL. The native of Venezuela got off to a very slow start, but finished his season on a hot streak, batting .286 in 63 August at-bats. Raga was a contact hitter this season, walking 10 times and striking out 15 times in 155 total at-bats. He will likely get a second season in the DSL.

With 25 walks, outfielder Alfredo Sosa finished second on the team behind De La Cruz. Unfortunately, he led the team with 44 strike-outs and collected only six extra-base hits in 137 at-bats. The 18-year-old Sosa was in his second season in the DSL and he saw a decline in nearly all of his stats, with the exception of the walk total.

After missing nearly all of last season, Jonesy Zarraga was healthy and compiled 126 at-bats for the DSL A's in 2011. The 19-year-old outfielder batted .206 with a .306 OBP and eight stolen bases, which tied him for second-most on the team. Unfortunately, he was also caught stealing six times. Zarraga had only three extra-base hits and no homeruns in 2011. In his debut season in 2009, he homered three times and added four triples and five doubles.

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