Minor League Report: Phillies DSL Team Starts Cold

It's generally thought that the lowest rung of the Phillies minor league ladder is the Gulf Coast League, but there are little Phillies learning their craft with the Phillies team in the Dominican Summer League, which has been home to many of the Phillies players and prospects. It's where a number of players go to really learn more about their talents and for the Phillies to give them a slow introduction to the pro ranks. The season is just under way with the DSL Phillies off to a 3-7 start.

First Base:
Eduardo Cabrera and Argelis Perez have split most of the time at first base in the DSL, but there are other guys getting time at first.

Perez is off to a good start, hitting .281 with a homerun and three RBI in his first 32 at bats. The downside is that he already has a team high 12 strikeouts.

Cabrera is hitting just .240 with no homeruns or RBI in 25 at bats. He has a .345 OBP, thanks in part to drawing four walks in the early going.

Juan Pena has played four games at first, getting 12 at bats with four hits (.333). Juan Geronimo has played three games at first and has gone hitless in his four at bats. Marcos Casado has two games at first with just three at bats and no hits.

Second Base:
Carlos Garcia has played at least part of every DSL game at second and is hitting .313 in 32 at bats. Garcia has a great eye at the plate and has already drawn seven walks, while striking out just three times, boosting his OBP to a nice .450 on the season. He also has stolen four bases – a team high – but has been caught stealing twice.

Phillip Cuevas is thought to be a decent prospect in the Phillies system that just needs some work. Cuevas is off to a slow start, hitting .111 and striking out eight times in 18 at bats.

Third Base:
Ravelo Manzanillo is off to a good DSL start, hitting .313 while splitting playing time with Jorge Pared. Of the two, Manzanillo definitely has the better glove work, as Pared is a "project" defensively. Some scouts believe that Pared will be able to develop defensively and at least be an average third base glove. Pared is also struggling at the plate early on, hitting .174 in 23 at bats.

Francisco Aybar is getting slightly more playing time than Dahian Reyes in the DSL and is making the most of it. In six games, Aybar is hitting .333 and has one homerun. Aybar may have a bit of the Jimmy Rollins complex in that he fancies himself a homerun hitter and has struck out six times this season. He definitely has speed and has swiped two stolen bases. Another thing he has is defensive woes. In his six games, Aybar has committed four errors, a team high.

Reyes has been solid. He's hitting .300 in five games. His defense has been shaky at best as he has made three errors, but the Phillies believe he can develop with the glove. For now, they're happy that he at least seems to be comfortable at the plate.

Franklin Morillo has played in all ten DSL games. He's hitting .270 and leads the team with six RBI. On the downside, he also leads the team by hitting into four double-plays. Hairo Garcia has played in seven games and has looked somewhat lost, striking out eight times in 21 at bats and hitting just .190 on the season.

Cesar Cespedes and Carlos Gonzalez have split their time in the outfield. Cespedes is hitting .263 and has five RBI and three stolen bases (without getting caught). Gonzalez is off to a torrid .353 start for the DSL Phillies.

Roberto Sabino has gotten very little playing time, getting just five at bats and hitting .200.

Don't look for any help here. The DSL uses "designated catchers" and don't carry any catchers on their rosters. Guess we won't find the next Mike Lieberthal here, huh?

Starting Pitchers:
Two names to remember. Kelvin Pichardo and Jose Rosario. They have both been strong in the early going and the Phillies thought both of them would be players to watch in the coming years. Rosario leads the team with 14 strikeouts in 17 innings and Pichardo has notched eight Ks in 5 2/3 innings of work. Lack of offense has given both pitchers two losses, but they both have identical 1.59 ERAs.

Elvis Jimenez started the year in the Gulf Coast League, but a numbers game sent him to the Dominican. He has made one start and allowed just two hits in five innings of work. Alexander Concepcion has some talent but has gotten off to a slow start, getting hammered in his first two starts for a 6.48 ERA and 13 hits in eight innings. He is a definite fireballer, who has whiffed 11 hitters and the Phillies believe they just need to rein him in a little to make him a better pitcher.

Relief Pitchers:
Angel Brea may wind up in the rotation, but for now, he's pitching primarily out of the bullpen. He is 1-0 with one save and hasn't allowed an earned run in 7 2/3 innings, striking out nine. Rafael Carrasco is another guy who may be converted into a starter. He has a 1.50 ERA in six innings of work, striking out four. His control is a little suspect though. He has walked three and has hit two batters. Believe it or not, his control has improved; he's raw to say the least.

Max De La Cruz and Alfido Gomez have been the workhorses. Both pitchers have pitched in four of the ten games that the Phillies DSL team has played and with slightly different results. De La Cruz has a 3.38 ERA with one save, striking out six in five innings of work. Gomez has a 5.87 ERA in his four appearances.

PhillyBaseballNews.com will give you occasional updates on how the prospects on the Phillies DSL team are progressing through the summer.

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