2012 Dominican Summer Cardinals team review

The rookie-level Dominican Summer League Cardinals finished with a winning record for the third time in four years.

In 2012, the Dominican Summer League Cardinals competed in the eight-team Santo Domingo North Division. While they failed to make the playoffs, the club had a more successful season than the year prior.

The team began with two victories in their first two games on June 2nd and 4th, before generally alternating wins and losses. After the Cards cranked out five consecutive wins through June 25, they went five over .500 at 12-7. The rest of the way, the DSL Cards were one game under .500, with a final tally of 37-33.

The Cardinals came into the mid-season break with a 19-16 record, due in large part to their pitching. The young staff logged an aggregate ERA of 3.17, good for 11th in the 35-team league. They threw the ball past their opponents with regularity as their strikeout total of 288 was third-most.

On the other hand, the first-half offense was exceptionally weak. As such, the team's overall record was a bit surprising. The Cardinals were last in runs scored, with their .219 batting average and team OPS of .608 third from the bottom of the 35 DSL clubs.

The Cardinals featured two 2012 DSL All-Stars, catcher Luis Cruz and pitcher Luis Perdomo, both of whom competed in the mid-season game. In August, Perdomo was rewarded with a promotion to the Gulf Coast League.

After going 11-10 in August, the Cards' final two games were canceled due to rain. They ended up residing one game out of third place, 13 games behind the division-winning Mariners.

It was the DSL Cardinals' third winning season in the last four. Manager Fray Peniche's second club showed a major improvement over their dreadful 27-44 mark in 2011.

The Cardinals offense, while still below average, improved some from the first half as they finished 26th of 35 in runs scored overall. They were 30th in OPS at .617 and 29th in home runs with just 10 as a team in 70 games. In one positive, the Cardinals were 12th in taking walks.

The post-break pitching was on a slight uptick from their earlier trajectory, with a season-ending staff ERA of 3.12, eighth-best in the DSL. They finished third in strikeouts and probably would have been in second had they been able to play their final two games. The Cards were 16th in walks issued.

Looking ahead, Cruz will be joined by pitchers Fernando Baez, Dewin Perez and Juan Perez for their US debuts in the Cardinals fall instructional league later this month. The others will compete in the Dominican version of instructs, which begins at the Cardinals academy on October 15.

Expect some of the more advanced members of the 2012 DSL Cardinals to be invited to extended spring training in Jupiter, Fla. starting in April.

Link to master article with all 2012 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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