2012 Year In Review: DSL A's

Over the past five years, the Oakland A's have committed significant resources towards their international scouting department. Some of the fruits of that investment can be found at the A's Dominican complex and on the organization's Dominican Summer League team. We take a look at the DSL A's 2012 season.

Team Overview

It was another rough season for the DSL A's in terms of wins and losses, as the A's Dominican Summer League affiliate finished second-to-last in the Santo Domingo North division with a 26-41 record. They were 22.5 games behind the DSL Mariners, who finished with a 50-20 record.

As a team, the DSL A's finished in the bottom third of the league with an OPS of 634. Their 16 homeruns as a team landed them in the middle of the pack, but their .313 SLG was in the bottom third, as was their .321 team OBP. They struggled on the bases once they got there, as well, stealing 60 bases while being caught 53 times as a team.

On the mound, the A's were one of the better teams in the DSL. With a 3.29 ERA, the DSL A's finished in the top-third in that category. They struck-out only 423 batters in 588.1 innings, but they were among the most stingy staffs in terms of issuing walks (228). DSL A's pitchers also did a good job keeping the ball in the park, allowing only 15 homeruns all season. As a staff, DSL A's pitchers combined on six shutouts, good for a tie for sixth in the league.

DSL A's Batters

Although the team struggled as a unit at the plate, there were a few bright spots for the DSL A's. Andy Paz-Garriga was the star of the team in his second professional season. The Cuban-born catcher was the A's first international signing from Europe (Paz-Garriga emigrated to France in grade school and played high school baseball in France). He appeared in 26 games in 2012 and posted a .317/.417/.415 line. In 2011, Paz-Garriga had a .315/.451/.356 line in nine fewer at-bats. Paz-Garriga has yet to homer as a pro, but he has more walks than strike-outs and a career .316 batting average in 155 at-bats. He is a strong candidate to make the jump to the US at some point in 2013.

Another talented backstop could join Paz-Garriga on that journey. Diego Ledezma had a breakthrough season at the plate after four poor years in the DSL. The native of Venezuela batted .288/.377/.409 in 66 at-bats. He collected his second pro homerun and even stole two bases without being caught.

Outfielder Sandber Pimentel was a player who was watched closely this season, as he made his professional debut after signing for a six-figure bonus with the A's last December. The 6'3'' Pimentel didn't hit for power as a 17-year-old rookie, but he did show an impressive approach, posting a .430 OBP and a 30:28 K:BB ratio. His overall line was .261/.430/.322. Pimentel homered once and had two doubles and a triple.

Finishing just ahead of Pimentel on the OBP leaderboards for the DSL A's was 18-year-old Robert Martinez. The native of Puerto Rico had a .273/.442/.333 line in 33 at-bats. The speedy Martinez was the A's 19th-round pick this season out of Ramon Quinones Medina in Puerto Rico.

Another patient hitter was infielder Gabriel Santana, who played most of the season at 19-years-old. In 133 at-bats, Santana managed a .406 OBP. He walked 19 times and showed remarkable bat control, striking out only 10 times. The native of Venezuela finished with a .271 BA and a 752 OBP. After four years in the DSL, he may be ready for the jump to the US in 2013.

Infielder Argenis Raga was the DSL A's All-Star representative after he hit .342/.413/.477 before the All-Star break. Raga, who turned 18 in late July, slumped badly after the break, however, and finished with a .265/.332/.355 line in 234 at-bats. Raga, a native of Venezuela, is in his second season as a professional.

Outfielder Anderson De La Rosa led the DSL A's with four homeruns. The now 21-year-old had his best season in the DSL, posting a .239/.332/.411 line in his fourth year in the league. De La Rosa also added five triples and 12 doubles.

Another veteran of the DSL – Jonesy Zarraga – finished second on the team with three homeruns. The three homeruns matched his career-best total, which he achieved during his first professional season in 2009. Zarraga posted a .230/.319/.366 line. He established a career-high in stolen bases with 11 (in 16 chances) and in RBIs (17). He was second on the team in stolen bases.

Infielder Rodolfo Penalo led the team in stolen bases with 17 (23 chances). The 5'7'' switch-hitter walked 25 times in 53 games to post a .337 OBP despite batting only .225. Penalo also added a homer, five doubles and five triples in a career-high 173 at-bats.

Yairo Munoz was another high-profile international free agent signing by the A's last off-season. The 17-year-old shortstop got 105 at-bats in his first professional season and posted a .229/.297/.352 line with seven doubles and three triples. He hit .270 with runners on base and he drove-in 22 runs in 32 games. Munoz missed all of August with an undisclosed injury.

Outfielder Jesus Rivas, an amateur free agent signing before the 2011 season, struggled in his second professional campaign. The native of El Tigre, Venezuela posted a 560 OPS and he struck-out 41 times in 186 at-bats. Rivas did homer three times. He also committed 11 errors. On the upside, his numbers were an improvement from his 2011 campaign, when he posted a 451 OPS.

After hitting .288 with a 774 OPS last season for the DSL A's, first baseman Jose Rosario slumped to a .196/.283/.261 line in 153 at-bats in 2012. It was his fifth season in the DSL. Shortstop Wilman Martinez also took a step back in 2012, posting a .204/.284/.233 line in 103 at-bats. Although Martinez is in his third season in the DSL, the infielder from Venezuela is still only 19.

Jose Chavez, a free agent signing out of Saltillo, Mexico, made his A's organization debut this season. He hit .250/.321/.313 in 96 at-bats. Chavez hit .320 over his first 19 games, but struggled during the final few weeks of the season.

Other players making their professional debuts on the A's DSL squad included the A's first amateur signing out of Colombia, Luis "Barry" Hernandez (255 OPS in 57 at-bats) and Mitchell Martes of Aruba (three hits in 18 at-bats).

DSL A's Pitchers

The DSL is a pitcher-friendly league, but the DSL A's staff was still one of the better staffs in the league in 2012. Cristhian Perez was one of the aces of the staff. The right-hander from Venezuela posted a 46:9 K:BB ratio and allowed only one homerun in 68.1 innings pitched. He posted a 1.77 groundout-to-flyout rate and had a 1.98 ERA. Perez has improved in each of his three seasons in the DSL and may be ready for a jump to the US in 2013.

Fellow Venezuelan right-hander Carlos Navas was another standout for the DSL A's. Navas, who turned 20 in August, posted a 54:11 K:BB ratio and didn't allow a homer in 65.1 innings. His 1.38 ERA was helped by 11 unearned runs allowed, but he still limited DSL hitters to a .219 average and posted a solid 1.39 groundout-to-flyout rate. In his last 50 innings, Navas walked only six batters while striking out 43.

Young Ronald Herrera impressed in his first professional season. The diminutive right-hander (5'10'') from Venezuela struck-out 44 in 58.1 innings and posted a 2.47 ERA. Herrera, 17, allowed only one homerun and he maintained a positive groundout-to-flyout rate (1.12). He struggled with his command at times (20 walks), but for his first pro season, Herrera held his own.

Angel Duno, 18, made his professional debut this season as a late-inning reliever for the DSL A's. He saved four games and allowed only eight earned runs in 39.2 innings. His K:BB ratio was mediocre (26:15), but he was a groundball machine and he didn't allow a homerun. Duno's command also improved as the season went on.

Veteran Alex Nolasco made significant progress in 2012. After three consecutive seasons of walking more batters than he struck out, Nolasco posted a 37:17 K:BB ratio in 48.1 innings. The now 22-year-old lefty allowed only one homerun and had a 3.35 ERA.

Fellow lefty Victor Veliz walked only 13 in 51.1 innings. The 18-year-old from Venezuela was a rare flyball pitcher on the DSL A's staff. He allowed three homeruns and opposing batters hit .293 against him. Veliz was much more effective (1.95 ERA and a 23:5 K:BB ratio) before the All-Star break than after (7.23 ERA and a 12:8 K:BB ratio). This was his second season in the DSL.

After two seasons interrupted by a suspension for performance enhancing drugs, Leonel Benzant finally had a full season on the mound in 2012. The hard-throwing right-hander struggled. He posted a 19:18 K:BB ratio and he coughed up four homeruns, while posting a 6.30 ERA. The 6'6'' right-hander will turn 21 in December.

Eduardo Almonte made bugs in the infield dirt in stadiums around the DSL endangered species. The 22-year-old lefty induced more than four groundouts for every flyout. He also posted a 30:14 K:BB ratio and a 3.25 ERA in 36 innings as a reliever.

Kevin Ferrera has showed good arm strength in his first two professional seasons, but command continues to be a major issue for the 19-year-old. He struck-out 32 in 34.2 innings, but he also walked 25. In 44.1 career innings, Ferrera has 44 strike-outs, but he has also walked 37.

Another lefty who has struggled with his command is Darwin Gonzalez. The Venezuelan walked 22 in 34 innings this season after issuing 31 in 40.2 innings in his professional debut season last year. Gonzalez had a 3.98 ERA last year but his command issues caught-up with him this season. He had a 6.09 ERA.

Alejandro Vargas, an international free agent signing from Panama, made his professional debut this season. The 17-year-old right-hander struck-out 15 but he walked 10 and he allowed a .343 opponents batting average. His 7.13 ERA reflected those numbers.

Left-hander Reynaldo Hoyos, who also signed out of Colombia this off-season along with Luis Hernandez, also made his professional debut this year. He walked 15 and struck-out 12 in 17.2 innings, but he was very difficult to hit. Opponents batted only .173 against him and he didn't allow a homerun while generating a 2.88 groundout-to-flyout rate.

Former outfielder Robin Rosario continued his transition to the mound this year. The strong-armed right-hander allowed only five hits in 12.2 innings, but he walked eight. Rosario struck-out six. He tossed 7.1 innings last year for the DSL A's.

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