Cards Dominican Instructional League 2014

The St. Louis Cardinals are running their annual instructional league camp in the Dominican Republic.

Though the St. Louis Cardinals fall instructional league camp has concluded for 2014, another started on October 15. This one is located at the organization’s Dominican Republic academy. The goals in these fall camps remain the same – to help younger players improve their skills in a teaching environment.

The six-week program is geared toward individualized work. While there are some games, much of the instructional efforts occur in intersquads and during repeated drills.

Demographics

At least 34 players, all either new signees or Dominican Summer League veterans, are participating in the program, which runs through November. The mix is 16 pitchers, including six left-handers, and 18 position players, all ranging in ages from 16 to 20.

That does not mean all the players are Dominican, however. In fact, from this year’s group, they only outnumber non-Dominicans 18-to-16. 13 Venezuelans, two Panamanians and one Colombian are among the participants.

Experience levels

Only one of the players, catcher Joshua Lopez, has appeared in official game action in the United States. The 18-year-old batted .194 in 36 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2014.

In addition to Lopez, three others have two years of professional experience. They are pitchers Estarlin Arias, Will Changarotty and David Oca. 20 other fall invitees played their first official action in the 2014 Dominican Summer League.

The 20 include one especially notable player, pitcher Junior Fernandez. Signed for a $400,000 bonus this July 2nd, the 17 year-old pitched right away in the DSL before becoming the only one of the 34 to participate in both the US and Dominican fall camps this year.

That leaves 10 players who are taking the field for the first time as Cardinals. One, first baseman Dariel Gomez, signed last December, but did not play in the 2014 DSL.

July 2nd class

Three other fall first-timers were announced as July 2nd signees along with Fernandez, but were signed to 2015 contracts. They will make their official debuts in next year’s DSL. They are pitcher Sebastian Nunez, shortstop Starlin Balbuena and second baseman Esequiel Delgado.

The final six in fall camp are new recruits, added since July 2. They are headlined by third baseman Elehuris Montero, whose $300,000 signing we covered here on September 11.

The most recent five, all pending the completion of the normal approvals, include three pitchers, a catcher and an infielder. Four hail from Venezuela. They are left-handed pitcher Fabian Blanco, 16, righty Cristhian Lugo, 17, catcher Leandro Cedeno, 16, and shortstop Edwin Figuera, 17. The fifth is 17-year-old Dominican right-hander Diego Cordero.

That increases the Cardinals signing total from this year’s July 2nd class to 10 players, all of whom are participating in this camp.

On the way out

As the Cardinals plan for next summer’s 35-man DSL roster, some players will be brought to the US for extended spring training, but at the other end of the spectrum, a number of releases off the 2014 DSL roster are expected soon, as well. We will share that information when it is made available.

Also, one player previously announced as conditionally signed back in May, 19-year-old Jeikel Feliz, did not become a Cardinal after all. The right-handed pitcher failed his physical and his contract was voided.

Coaches

DSL Cardinals manager Fray Peniche is leading the instructional league activities. The DSL coaching staff as well as US-based coaches and coordinators are also spending time working with the young players. They include DSL pitching coach Bill Villanueva, hitting coach Erick Almonte and coach John Matos.

St. Louis Cardinals Dominican Republic Instructional League Roster

Pitchers (16) Ctry   T Ht Wt Age
Alvarez, Juan DR   R 6-4 180 17
Arias, Estarlin DR   R 6-1 201 20
Blanco, Fabian VZ   L 6-0 160 16
Casadilla, Franyel VZ   R 6-3 175 17
Changarotty, Will VZ   R 6-1 171 19
Cordero, Diego DR   L 6-3 170 17
Diaz, Oneiver DR   R 6-2 160 18
Estevez, Angel DR   R 6-2 175 17
Fernandez, Junior DR   R 6-1 180 17
Gavin, Frendy DR   L 6-0 179 20
Gonzalez, Junior DR   R 6-3 175 17
Lugo, Cristhian VZ   R 6-2 190 17
Narvaez, Jesus VZ   L 6-2 180 17
Nunez, Sebastian DR   R 6-1 165 17
Oca, David DR   L 5-8 155 18
Perez, Enrique COL   L 6-2 180 17
             
Catchers (4) Ctry   B/T Ht Wt Age
Cedeno, Leandro VZ   R/R 6-3 195 16
Lopez, Joshua VZ   R/R 5-10 210 18
Melendez, Dylan VZ   R/R 6-2 180 19
Ortega, Dennis VZ   R/R 6-2 178 17
             
Infielders (10) Ctry Pos. B/T Ht Wt Age
Balbuena, Starlin DR SS R/R 6-2 175 16
Cordoba, Allen PAN SS R/R 6-0 169 18
Cotes, Oscar DR SS R/R 6-2 165 17
Delgado, Esequiel DR 2B S/R 6-0 170 16
Figuera, Edwin VZ SS R/R 5-10 155 17
Flores, Luis DR 2B S/R 6-0 188 17
Gomez, Dariel DR 1B L/R 6-4 190 18
Linares, Hector DR SS R/R 6-0 160 17
Montero, Elehuris DR 3B R/R 6-2 200 16
Rodriguez, Carlos VZ 1B R/R 6-2 220 17
             
Outfielders  (4) Ctry Pos. B/T Ht Wt Age
Luis, Carlos DR OF R/R 6-4 180 18
Luna, Andres VZ CF R/R 5-11 175 17
Rivera, Jonathan PAN OF R/R 6-1 185 17
Talavera, Carlos VZ CF S/R 6-2 175 18

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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