2007 Cardinals Dominican Summer League Intro

This year's DSL opens play on June 2 and runs through August 24. The St. Louis Cardinals field one of 34 League teams for 2007.

While the St. Louis Cardinals' entry in the 2006 Dominican Summer League was not a great success in terms of won-loss record (30-36, fourth place, 12 games out of first), there were a number of standout performances.

Following the season, the organization gave two player awards.

The Position Player of the Year was first baseman Francis Rojas (.324 average, .407 on-base, 36 RBI in 216 at-bats) and the 2006 Pitcher of the Year was left-hander Hector Cardenas (1.53 ERA, .170 opposing batting average, 51 strikeouts and 34 walks in 47 innings pitched). Both players are currently in the USA, participating in Extended Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida.

Other offensive standouts included catcher Ivan Castro (.312 average, 35 RBI), outfielder Jairo Martinez (eight home runs) and shortstop Guillermo Toribio (18 stolen bases). Some of the top pitchers were right-handers Andres Rosales (62 strikeouts in 43.1 innings), Omar Javier (2.72 ERA), fireballer Francisco Samuel, Carlos Gonzalez (41 Ks in 31.2 IP) and Angel Tapia (2.13 ERA).

The Dominican Summer League, founded in 1985, is a somewhat fluid environment from year to year. There were 31 teams in six divisions last season, including three organizations that had so many prospects they fielded two clubs – the Yankees, A's and Nationals.

The 2006 Cardinals competed as one of five squads in the Santo Domingo North Division, along with the two teams from the Oakland A's plus the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners entries. The Yankees I squad defeated the Mariners, three games to one, in the 2006 league championship series.

To hear Cardinals Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow recap the 2006 DSL campaign for the organization's position players, click here and for the pitchers, click here.

Looking ahead, the DSL's 22nd season will begin this year on June 2nd. 1,200 athletes in five divisions are expected to take part in a schedule of 72 games, running seven days a week through August 24th. The circuit's All-Star Game is scheduled on Sunday, July 22.

For 2007, there are now 34 teams in the DSL, as the Blue Jays and White Sox have added second teams this season and the Devil Rays also joined the league.

The Cardinals' Santo Domingo North Division remains intact from 2006. What is unique about the League's format is that teams compete only within their own division all season long. With five teams in the Cards' division, that means one team gets every fifth day off. The schedule for the five-team divisions includes games seven days a week.

The schedule format is different in the eight-team divisions as those squads play Monday through Saturday and take Sunday off, but still compete exclusively in-division during the regular season.

2007 DSL Divisions and Teams

Boca Chica North (8) - Red Sox, Dodgers, Devil Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays II, Royals, Yankees II and Giants.

Boca Chica South (8) - Diamondbacks, Cubs, Twins, Indians, Rockies, Reds, Yankees I and Blue Jays I.

Santo Domingo North (5) - A's I, A's II, Phillies, Cardinals and Mariners.

Santo Domingo West (5) - Tigers, Nationals I, Nationals II, Padres and Mets.

San Pedro de Macoris (8) - Braves, Orioles, White Sox I, White Sox II, Astros, Angels, Pirates and Rangers.

Once the 2007 Dominican Summer League Cardinals roster is announced, we will have it right here at the best source for St. Louis Cardinals system news and information, The Birdhouse, stlcardinals.scout.com.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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