2013 Dominican Summer League Cards preview

In a new location, the Cardinals begin their seventh season in the Dominican Summer League.

June 1st marks an important milestone in the minor league season. As the calendar is flipped, the final day of play is held in extended spring training camp in Jupiter, Fla. Ready to leave the back fields behind, over 60 players are looking forward to donning their new team uniforms for the short-season schedule.

Of course, these holdover players will soon be joined by another three dozen or so new recruits. The majority will be sourced from the 2013 First-Year Player Draft to be held this Thursday through Saturday but there will likely be some free agent signings as well.

This Saturday is also opening day of the 2013 Dominican Summer League season. There is significant change for the St. Louis Cardinals' presence there, both on and off the field.

This season, the Cardinals will be playing their games for the first time at the Las Americas complex. This is an interim step to the Cardinals getting their own new academy. At Las Americas, they join the Washington Nationals. The original tenants at Las Americas were the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies.

With their new location near Santo Domingo, the Cardinals have changed their division alignment from the Boca Chica Northwest Division to the Boca Chica South. There, they join seven other clubs: the Nationals, Orioles (#2 team), Cubs, Reds, Mets (#1), Yankees (#1) and Pirates (#2). The Cards will also play a handful of games against the clubs from the San Pedro de Macoris Division – the Braves, Tigers, Brewers and Blue Jays.

This year's schedule consists of 72 games, with contests starting at 10:30 AM. Two-game home-and-away series are the norm, with three series per week. Play occurs six days weekly, with Sundays off. The All-Star Game will be held on Sunday, July 21 with playoffs scheduled to begin August 26.

In terms of team on-field personnel, information is still incomplete. The challenge of getting a firm roster is hampered by where newly-signed players are in their approval process at any given point in time.

I expect to get this cleared up soon, but at this point, MiLB.com lists 10 new Cardinals, of which six are pitchers (including four lefties) and four are infielders. Each now has a player profile in our database with the limited information about them that is currently available.

Name Pos Bat Thw Ht Wt DOB
Andy De La Cruz P L L 6' 1" 185 8/29/1994
Frendy Gavin P L L 6' 0" 170 9/14/1994
Derian Gonzalez P R R     1/31/1995
David Oca P L L     7/4/1995
Ronald Sanchez P R R 6' 5" 180 9/20/1993
Rigobert Urena P L L 6' 4" 170 2/8/1995
Jorge Baez 3B R R 5' 11" 180 3/17/1994
Allen Cordoba SS R R 6' 1" 175 12/6/1995
Ruben Encarnacion 2B S R 6' 0" 170 6/8/1994
Yunior Sanchez SS S R 5' 11" 160 6/12/1995

There will undoubtedly be some releases to report, as well. There are a half-dozen players from the 2012 roster whose status I am trying to clarify, including Robelys Reyes. The second baseman with the ongoing inability to secure a US visa may be reaching the end of his career.

The DSL Cardinals team roster page here at The Cardinal Nation has been updated as well. Be aware that 2012 DSL Cards currently in extended spring training camp are still being carried on the 2013 DSL roster until they have officially been assigned to a new US-based team. They are denoted by "EST" instead of a jersey number.

While at least 14 players from 2012 have graduated to the US, a number of last year's playing time leaders return. They include second baseman Jeffry Cerdas (46 starts) plus outfielders Bladimil Franco (53) and George Araujo (51). The entire 2013 rotation will be new as will be the closer.

Three expected DSL leaders spent part of extended spring training camp in Florida before returning to the Las Americas complex. They are Venezuelan catcher Joshua Lopez ($475,000 signing bonus), Panamanian shortstop Edmundo Sosa ($425,000) and Nicaraguan right-handed pitcher Ronald Medrano ($100,000). Another high-bonus player from the most recent July 2 class is Venezuelan outfielder Luis Bandes ($350,000).

Manager Fray Peniche is back for a third season after piloting his 2012 club to a 37-33 record, good for fourth in the division. New hitting coach Kleininger Teran moves over from the Gulf Coast League after playing in the system for the prior eight seasons. Bill Villanueva starts his sixth season guiding the DSL Cardinals pitchers and coach John Matos, an infield specialist, returns as well.

As always, our Minor League Notebooks will include the daily DSL Cardinals results starting with Sunday morning, June 2.

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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