Six Cardinals Taken in Dominican League Draft

If a half-dozen St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers decide to play winter ball in their homeland, their initial assignments are set.

The Dominican Winter League held their Dominican-born first-year player draft on August 18. Six St. Louis Cardinals farmhands were selected over several rounds. They include Angel De Jesus (Toros del Este), Oscar Taveras (Aguilas Cibaenas), Audry Perez (Aguilas Cibaenas), Carlos Martinez (Aguilas Cibaenas), Starlin Rodriguez (Leones del Escogido) and Ronny Gil (Gigantes del Cibao).  


Even though all six were named, this does not mean any will play this coming winter season.  If they choose to participate, they must go through training camps, much like extended spring training with major league clubs, and make the cut.  If they play this winter, most if not all could end up in the lower-level Dominican Republic Parallel League.


DeJesus, 22, made the move from the starting rotation to middle reliever as he was promoted from Short-Season Rookie-Level Johnson City to Single-A Quad Cities.  He is finishing up his fourth season in the Cardinals organization as the River Bandits look ahead to the playoffs.  The San Cristobal, Dominican-born hurler came up through the Dominican Summer League pipeline.


The right-handed reliever has made 39 relief appearances this summer, posting a 2-2 record, 6.64 ERA, and four saves.  He has allowed 79 hits, 48 runs (44 earned), five home runs, 30 walks, and struck 43 out over 59.2 innings.


Taveras, 19, currently manning the outfield for the Quad Cities River Bandits, has batted injuries after making the jump from Johnson City since last season.  The Puerto Plata, Dominican-born hitter is finishing up his third season in the Cardinals organization after coming up through the Dominican Summer League.


The left-handed hitter has played in 73 games going 109-for-286 (.381) with 24 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 59 RBIs, 167 total bases, 50 runs, 30 walks, one stolen base, 49 strikeouts, four caught stealing, .440 OBP, .584 SLG, and 1.024 OPS.


Perez, 22, recently placed on the seven-day disabled list at Double-A Springfield, has alternated playing time with Charles Cutler, Travis Tartamella, and Nick Derba all season.  The Sabana Grande, Dominican-born catcher is finishing up his fourth season in the Cardinals organization and came up through the Dominican Summer League.


The right-handed hitter has played over two levels this season, starting out at A-Advanced Palm Beach before being promoted to the Texas League in May.  He has appeared in a total of 81 games going 85-for-316 (.269) with 19 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBIs, 137 total bases, 35 runs, seven walks, 42 strikeouts, .287 OBP, .434 SLG, and .720 OPS.


Martinez, 19, has become the Latin phenom of the Cardinals organization since getting his identity squared away with Major League Baseball.  After being the most dominant pitcher in the Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League in 2010, Martinez has quickly risen up the ranks, making stops at Single-A Quad Cities and now A-Advanced Palm Beach.  But the quick rise may have caused some stress on the right-handed starter as he has been hit pretty hard in his last four outings and was dealing with a hip injury that shelved him for a week.


The Colinas De Sur, Dominican-born hurler has made a total of 17 starts (over both Quad Cities and Palm Beach) posting a 6-4 record and 3.95 ERA.  He has allowed 72 hits, 38 runs (35 earned), three home runs, 40 walks, and struck 93 out over 79.2 innings.


Rodriguez, 21, was snatched up by the Cardinals following his release by the Tampa Bay Rays organization after a handful of games in the Dominican Summer League. He has become one of the top hitters and second basemen in the farm system.  The Santo Cristobal, Dominican-born switch-hitter began his third professional season with Single-A Quad Cities and in mid-summer was promoted to A-Advanced Palm Beach.


Rodriguez has played in a total of 81 games (between Quad Cities and Palm Beach) and gone 84-for-287 (.293) with 16 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 32 RBIs, 120 total bases, 42 runs, 17 walks, seven stolen bases, 67 strikeouts, seven caught stealing, .349 OBP, .418 SLG, and .767 OPS.


Gil, 22, has also put his past aside after sitting out one-year for false identification and has taken over the starting shortstop position at Single-A Quad Cities this season. Just two years ago, he was one of the top hitters in the Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League.  Gil began the 2011 season in extended spring training but within a month was promoted to the Midwest League.


The San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican-born switch-hitter has played in 80 games going 80-for-302 (.265) with 14 doubles, three triples, one home run, 32 RBIs, 103 total bases, 56 runs, 24 walks, 17 stolen bases, 74 strikeouts, two caught stealing, .321 OBP, .341 SLG, and .662 OPS.  Gil brings a much needed speed to the organizationthat hasn't been there for years, but his defense is lacking with 26 errors (.922 FLD%).


Rainel Rosario (Escogido), Luis De La Cruz (Aguilas), Ivan Castro (Aguilas), and Edgar Lara (Azucareros) were all selected in the 2010 Dominican League draft with only Rosario getting any playing time out of the four.  Castro has since been released by the Cardinals organization.  


Among the others that had or have ties to the Cardinals (in the last year) and participated in the Dominican League last winter were Miguel Batista (Aguilas), Pedro Feliz (Gigantes), Tyler Greene (Aguilas), Evan MacLane (Estrellas), Victor Marte (Licey), Matt Pagnozzi (Azucareros), Oneli Perez (Licey), Francisco Samuel (Estrellas), and Raul Valdes (Azucareros).


The Dominican Winter League opens its season on October 22nd with an All-Star game scheduled against the Venezuelan League on December 13th.



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