The 2013 season
The Cubs (50-21) won the Boca Chica South by 4.5 games over the Pirates and spent most of the season in first place after going 22-5 from June 17- July 19. Cubs pitching fired five shutouts during the streak and the offense reached double-digits four times. The Cubs finished with the second best record in the 35-team DSL and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs.
In the DSL semi-finals, the Cubs faced the Tigers (49-23) winners of the San Pedro de Macoris division and a first-round winner against the Pirates. The Cubs made five errors in Game 1 falling 7-5 after holding a 4-0 lead after four innings. A 12-hit attack powered a Game 2 win as the Cubs evened the best-of-three series with a 9-3 victory. In the deciding game, the Cubs got two runners thrown out at home and the Tigers scored in the top of the ninth for a 2-1 win. The Detroit affiliate fell to the Rangers 3-1 in the best-of-five championship.
You can expect several players from this year's DSL roster to make the trip to Mesa in the spring of 2014. Players from last year's roster who made the trip stateside include position players Francisco Sanchez, Wilfredo Petit, Jeffrey Baez, Kevin Encarnacion, Mark Malave; and pitchers Carlos Rodriguez, Luis Villalba, Angel Mejias, Daury Torrez, Alex Santana, Luis Guillen, Jorge Diaz, and Victor Garcia.
At the Plate
The Cubs were in the top seven of most of the offensive categories finishing third in the 35-team league with 35 triples and fourth with 341 walks in 71 games. They were fifth in runs (385), RBI (300) and sixth in SLG (.345), OBP (.353), and stolen bases (135).They were seventh in hitting .250, and OPS .698. OF Shamil Ubiera won the DSL RBI crown with 56.
Second baseman Dalfis Ortiz, a DSL all-star, was the Cubs best hitter but only played 47 games, not playing after July 31. The 21-year-old was 2nd in the league in hitting (.343), triples (9), and slugging (.506); and finished third in OPS (.922). He walked 25 times with 23 strikeouts and was 14-21 in SB.
Shamil Ubiera had his second straight solid season in the DSL hitting .301/.375/.441 leading the league in RBI (56), third in hits (77), 5th in doubles (18), and 7th in total bases (113). The 20-year-old (turns 21 on Sept. 28) outfielder shows some pop hitting four homers for the second straight year to go along with 13 stolen bases. The six-foot right-hander had a big month of August with 23 RBI in 21 games hitting .381/.429/.571 and was 35-80 (.407) with RISP on the year.
One player making huge strides was 20-year-old third baseman Adonis Paula, who went from a .186 hitter in 2012 to finishing second in the DSL with 55 RBI. Paula hit .281/.387/.415 in 69 games with 3 homers and 15 doubles. The right-handed bat hit .342/.468/.526 in August and .344 (45-131) with runners on base during the season. He improved his BB/K ratio from 9:36 to 36:50.
Another prospect improving his skill set was 20-year-old speedster Jenner Emeterio who finished third in the league with 37 stolen bases and was 7th in walks with 49. Not much power in the right-handed bat as 49 of his 53 hits were singles. Emeterio was 20-56 (.357) with 23 RBI with RISP.
OF Roberto Caro, 20, was 4th in the DSL with 8 triples and led the Cubs with 47 runs hitting .254/.378/.376 with 18 stolen bases. The switch-hitter hit .400 against left-handed pitching and walked 39 times with 49 strikeouts in 242 plate appearances.
22-year-old Antonio Valerio did a majority of the catching duties (45 G) hitting .258/.317/328 with 23 RBI and 9 doubles. He was named to the all-star game. Jose Paniagua, 19, split time between first base (31 G) and the outfield (30 G), leading the Cubs with seven assists (.206/.304/.306). Varonex Cuevas, 21, (.260/.374/.358) played 53 games at short with 13 stolen bases.
Two of the Cubs top international signees the past two years struggled in the DSL. Luis Acosta, (2011 $1.1 million bonus) hit .122/.255/.187 with two homers and seven RBI in 123 at-bats. The 18-year-old played 61 games last year (.197/.293/300). Frandy Delarosa made his pro debut after signing for $700,000 last year. The 17-year-old played in 11 games in June going 3-39 with 20 strikeouts. Delarosa is headed to the Fall Instructional League.
On the Mound
One of the big reasons for the Cubs success this year was the arms as they tied for the DSL lead with 10 shutouts and were 3rd in ERA at 2.49. They allowed the second fewest runs in the league and finished third in strikeouts. Twenty-five different pitchers took the mound for the Cubs including Juan Paniagua, one of the Cubs top prospects who pitched in four games while he waited to get a visa to the states.
18-year-old Jose Paulino (5-3, 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) may have punched his ticket for a spring visit to Mesa leading the team in starts, innings, and strikeouts. The 6-foot-2 left-hander fanned 71 (6th best in DSL) while walking 12 in 58 innings. In his last four regular season starts his line was 21 IP, 11H, 1R, 4BB, 22K.
Hector Perez (4-3, 1.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) is another pitcher likely headed stateside after improving both his strikeout and walks rates over his first two pro seasons. The 6-foot-1 right-hander only weighs 157 pounds but fanned 62 in 57.1 innings while walking 13. The 20-year-old didn't allow a run in his final 14.1 innings.
Signed in November of 2012, Jose Zapata made an impressive debut as the 20-year-old went 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA, throwing 56 innings, third on the staff. The right-hander had a BAA of .181 and after surrendering seven runs in a start on Aug. 1, allowed five hits and no runs over his last 14 innings. Zapata's WHIP of .80 would have led the league if he would have qualified but fell two innings short. Zapata was named a mid-season all-star.
Another pitching logging innings as a starter was left-hander Frailin Figueroa (5-1 1.27 ERA), fourth with 49.2. The 18-year-old improved his swing and miss fanning 9.6/9, over three strikeouts more than his debut season in 2012. Figueroa stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 203 pounds, so he has the frame of a big league pitcher but needs to display improved command—4.3BB/9. Even with the high walk rate, hitters had a hard time making contract with a .161 BAA.
21-year-old Carlos Llano served as the team's closer for most of the season going 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA with six saves in 19 games. Llano pitched in long relief at the end of the season tossing five scoreless frames with seven strikeouts on Aug. 1. He finished the season with 10.9 K/9.
Four players signed as part of the 2012 International Class made their debut in the DSL this season. Standing 6-foot-5, Luis Hernandez (2-2 2.50 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) made nine starts for the Cubs tossing 39.2 innings in his debut season after signing for $80,000. The 18-year-old had some problems repeating his delivery with 17 walks but showed some swing and miss with 28 strikeouts and a BAA of .233. Hernandez may need more innings before coming stateside but with his size, is an arm to keep an eye on. The same can be said for the other three as they are all over 6-foot-4. Jose Morel, a 6-foot-6 left-hander, started two games in August pitching shutout ball for five innings. The 18-year-old walked five and fanned seven. 18-year-old Oscar De La Cruz logged 11 innings in four games allowing eight earned runs on 16 hits. The 6-foot-4 right-hander fanned 12 and walked five with a BAA of .364 in his first taste of pro ball. Wagner Disla, 17, pitched in four games (5IP, 5H, 6ER, 6BB 3K) as the 6-foot-4, righty surrendered a pair of homers.
The Cubs also got a look at Jefferson Mejia, part of this year''s International signing bonanza who inked a $850,000 deal on July 2. The 18-year-old made his pro debut on Aug. 12, allowing two runs on two hits with a strikeout. The 6-foot-7 right-hander displays a fastball in the low 90s and made three starts with a line of 9IP, 6H 3ER, 3BB, 6K. He will participate in the Fall Instructional League in Mesa that begins Sept. 23.