Players of the Year: DSL Diamondbacks

The two Dominican Summer League teams that feature Diamondbacks players combined to go an abhorrent 40-100 this year, "good" for a .286 winning percentage. There were still a few success stories from the international department of scouting this year, as we observe while recognizing their best players of the 2008 DSL Diamondbacks.

The DSL Diamondbacks went 25-45 on the year, while the DSL Diamondbacks/Reds, an affiliate that includes prospects from both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds organizations, finished with the worst record in the Dominican Republic at 15-55.  The Diamondbacks organization do not spend as much money on international signings and scoutings as other teams do, and the new ownership and front office personnel have little experience in this field.

With that said, players such as Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Montero, Emilio Bonifacio, and Tony Pena all came out of the Diamondbacks' international scouting department in the past, and they have all played key parts in the Diamondbacks' current roster composition.  They were signed and developed primarily during the old regime, but some international scouts have been with the organization for years;  Junior Noboa was e organization's first international hire back in 1995, and has been the Director of Latin American Operations since October of 2003.

So here are the FutureBacks Players of the Year for both Dominican Diamondbacks clubs.  Stay tuned for Player of the Year Awards for each of the other six Diamondbacks affiliates and more on the top Diamondbacks international prospects in the coming weeks.

DSL Diamondbacks Position Player of the Year - 3B Raywilly Gomez

Raywilly Gomez is nowhere near the best position player prospect among the Diamondbacks' international recruits.  His 29 errors at third base (.858 fielding percentage) will likely prompt a move across the diamond to first base, and his smallish frame does not lend itself to developing enough power for that position.  He did only commit one miscue in 55 chances at second base for a .982 fielding percentage, but he doesn't have optimal range to play there.

Still, in 2008, he led his team in hits (73), triples (5), total bases (95), walks (37), batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.421), and slugging (.413).  Gomez only struck out 21 times in 230 at bats, making him the best pure hitter among Diamondbacks international prospects, if not the entire DSL.  If Gomez can improve the other facets of his game to even a mediocre level, that control of the strike zone will lead him to a good professional career. 

DSL Diamondbacks Pitcher of the Year - RHP Sammy De Los Santos         

This one isn't even close.  De Los Santos put together a 1.12 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 64.1 innings this year, with a .181 batting average against and .465 OPS against.  He did only go 2-4 for this struggling team and allow more unearned runs than earned, but that does little to subvert this fantastic season.

One scout called him a warrior with good stuff, but questioned whether he was actually 18 as he claims.  Age is always a question mark with these Dominican players, but until we find out for sure, we need to consider Sammy De Los Santos as one of the most intriguing Diamondbacks pitching prospects currently outside of the United States.

DSL Diamondbacks/Reds Position Player of the Year - CF Ender Inciarte

The younger brother of teammate Astolfo Inciarte, who is a solid prospect in his own right, Ender might just be better.  He batted .300, reached base 37.7% of the time, and swiped 22 bases in 28 tries. 

Perhaps even more impressive than those offensive numbers was his defensive play.  Ender Inciarte has plus range and a strong arm.  The 17-year old prospect committed just four errors in 62 games patrolling centerfield. 

While his numbers this year don't quite compare to the ones Raywilly Gomez put up, Ender Inciarte is a better prospect for the future.  He may be the best pure left-handed batter of the D-backs' international players, and projects to be a great table-setter someday.

DSL Diamondbacks/Reds Pitcher of the Year - RHP Silio Familia

There's not much to choose from as far as pitchers on the DSL/Diamondbacks/Reds, and even less to choose from among only the Diamondbacks prospects.  Miguel Pena looked great in his four starts after moving over from the DSL Diamondbacks, but four starts does not a great year make.  Teo Gutierrez was probably the most effective starter, but he went 2-7 and his ERA would jump from 3.58 to 5.33 if we were to count his 10 unearned runs allowed.

The obvious choice is then Familia, a left-handed reliever who went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA for the DSL Diamondbacks/Reds after struggling a bit for the DSL Diamondbacks.  He is not a top prospect by any means, but throwing from the left side means that he still has a chance to advance within the organization.

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