Dominican Dodgers Enjoy Revival

In the Dominican Summer League the Dodgers had become something like the Pittsburgh Pirates are to the National League- a onetime dominant franhise that had become perennial losers.

It was a situation the Dodgers were determined to change this year but as they began reshuffling the roster and trying out new players, there was a major problem. They were seeing some good arms but some not-very-good hitters. The solution was to roundup the pitchers and back them with position players who were skilled with the glove if not the bat.

"I honestly think this team is as good a bunch of fielders as any we have below the Double A level," says Logan White, the overseer of scouting and one of the main architects of the revival.

It certainly worked- the pitching was generally splendid and the fielding, as noted, was noteworthy in a league that doesn't alwatys feature good work with the leather. A team that had 23 rookies on its roster turned it around from a 30-42 record compiled in 2006 to a 43-24 clubn that contended for the playoffs until the last few days.

Of consistent hitters, the Dominican Dodgers hasd exactly one- Pedro Guerrero, who plays both shortstop and third base, and who, until a late-season injury slowed him was among the league's best with a bat. He wound hitting .288.

There was also one long-ball threat, Jose Arias, who slammed seven home runs. But Arias, who alternates between first base and the outfield, managed only a .225 average.

Pitchers, though, were another matter. Gary Taverez (9-3, 1.49), Geison Aguasviva (8-2, 1.50), Carlos Frias (6-2, 1.81), Bolivar Medina (2-3, 2.75), and Juan Santana (2-2, 3.92) were all starters of note. Pedro Noboa came back from an injuiry to go 3-3, 1.40. Luis Ferreras (2-0, 0.99, 12 saves) was an exceprional closer, Paul Rivas (3-0, 1.49) and Marcel Prado (1-0,1.24) were solid setup men.

Several of them are expected to make it over to U.S. team in 2008. "I think you'll see some really good arms coming across," says White. In all, it was a very encouraging year down at Campo Las Palmas for the team managed by Pedro Mega. Almost as good as the old days.

Team Leaders:


Ave-- Guerrero .288
HR-- Arias 7
RBI-- Arias, Adrian Aviles, 28 each
SB-- Jerry Castillo 13


Wins-- Tavarez 9
ERA- Ferreras 0.99
Innings-- Tavarez 66.2
SO-- Tavarez 71
Saves-- Ferreras 12

Biggest surprise-- Tavarez, who went from 0-2, 7.11 in 2006 to 9-3, 1.49.
Biggest Disappointment-- Alexis Marte, an outfielder once regarded as a hitting hopeful who hit only .214 and was released after 10 games.