Oakland A's MLN: Dominican Instructs

The Oakland A's Dominican Instructional League camp marked the first opportunity for the A's to see prized international free agent signing Michael Inoa take the mound in organized, competitive game play. Find out how he and a few of the A's other top international prospects fared in Dominican Instructional League divisional play inside…

At the conclusion of the Oakland A's US Instructional League camp, which is held at the A's minor league complex in Phoenix each fall, the A's hold another instructional league camp for their international prospects at their complex in the Dominican Republic. This season, there was an extra buzz surrounding the A's Dominican Instructional League, as right-hander Michael Inoa made his official debut as a member of the A's organization. Inoa was signed to a record-breaking $4.25 million signing bonus by the A's on July 2nd. The 16-year-old spent the next few months at the A's Dominican academy, working on developing a throwing program with the aim of having him ready to pitch in game action at the Dominican Instructional League camp.

The Dominican Instructional League, like its US counterpart, is a teaching league first-and-foremost. The games are, at times, rather informal and all stats from any "instructs" league should be taken with a grain of salt. Stats are not kept with the exact precision that they are kept during the regular season and are often hard to come by. Scout.com has acquired the stats for the A's players for the divisional games that they played during the Dominican Instructional League.

The A's Dominican instructs team faced off in 20 games as part of a four-team Santo Domingo North Division league. The other three teams in the league were the Philadelphia Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Seattle Mariners. The A's squad finished third in the four-team league, with St. Louis claiming the "division crown."

Inoa threw 8.2 innings spread out over four games against Santo Domingo North division teams. In those 8.2 innings, the 6-foot-7 right-hander didn't allow a run. He gave up seven hits and one walk and he struck-out eight. The A's Dominican instructs team pitching staff was generally very solid, as the team finished with a 1.36 ERA. In 138.2 intra-divisional innings, A's pitchers struck out 173 and walked 60 while allowing only 86 hits.

Omar Duran, another one of the A's more high-profile international signings, posted a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 innings of work. The lefty competed for the A's Dominican Summer League team this past season and he showed promise by striking out 37 in 34.2 innings. However, his control was a problem, as he walked 34. Duran had similar statistics during instructs. He struck-out an impressive total of 10 batters, but he walked seven.

Deivi Jimenez, who had a 3.81 ERA in 49.2 innings for the A's DSL team 1 in 2008, posted a 2.89 ERA during instructs. In 9.1 innings, he struck-out 15 and walked only one. Rene Merestil, a lefty from Haiti who had a 6.69 ERA for the A's DSL team 2 in 2008, allowed one run in 12 innings of work during instructs. He struck-out 12 and walked four. Ricardo Penalba, who struck-out 12 in 9.1 innings for the A's Arizona Rookie League team in 2008, struck-out 10 and walked only one in eight instructs innings. Penalba's AZL A's teammate Pedro Vidal struck-out 10 and walked two in 6.2 innings.

At the plate, the A's prospects weren't quite as successful, although the entire league was skewed towards pitching. Outfielder Robin Rosario, who signed a six-figure bonus deal with the A's last winter and then hit .281 in the DSL in 2008, led the division with three triples, but hit only .135 in 37 at-bats overall. First baseman Franklin Hernandez, who hit very well during the AZL regular season and the A's US Instructional League camp, reached base at a .417 clip in five games at the Dominican instructs. Neudy Clime, who had a .424 OBP for the A's DSL team 2 in 2008, had a big Dominican instructs season. In 31 at-bats, he hit .323 with a .417 OBP.

Wilfredo Sosa, a shortstop, hit only .200 in 31 games for the AZL A's in 2008, but he collected five hits in 10 at-bats during Dominican instructs. Two of those hits were doubles. Outfielder Kelvin Rojas improved from a .216 average in the DSL to a .300 average with a .382 OBP in 30 at-bats during instructs. Jensi Peralta, one of the A's signing bonus players from last winter, continues to struggle at the plate. Peralta hit only .156 during the DSL season and he had only one hit in 13 at-bats during instructs.

A's Ink Spanish Radio Deal

Earlier this week, the A's announced that they had signed a five-year deal with the Spanish Beisbol Network to broadcast all 162 regular season games in Spanish on KDIA (1640 AM) and KDYA (1190 AM). The contract begins with the 2009 season. This will be the first time in A's team history that all 162 games will be broadcast in Spanish.

KDIA Radio will broadcast all of the A's night games, while KDYA will handle the day games. Veteran baseball announcer Amaury Pi-Gonzalez, a familiar voice to Spanish-language Bay Area sports fans for generations, will be the lead announcer on those broadcasts. Pi-Gonzalez has been announcing games for 31 years. He began his career announcing A's games in 1977. He is an elected member of both the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame and the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame.

"This announcement represents a milestone for the Oakland Athletics," said Ken Pries, the A's vice president of broadcasting and communications, said in a release issued by the team. "Our Spanish-speaking fans have provided tremendous support and loyalty over the years, and it gives us great pleasure to reach this agreement to offer non-stop, start-to-finish coverage of our games to this valued audience. We thank KDIA/KDYA and the Spanish Beisbol Network for their tremendous cooperation in making this deal a reality."

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