Reds DSL Update

Every Reds affiliate in the US had All Star Game day off Tuesday and the only action in the system on the field was in the Dominican Republic. The Reds have two affiliates there where they're evaluating the talent of some young prospects to determine which ones will move stateside in the future.

Outside of all-star festivities it was a slow day in the Cincinnati organization and the only affiliates to play were in the Dominican League. There wasn't much to get excited there either as the two Reds teams went winless. The DSL Reds are now 22-16 on the season while the Rojos are 11-27.

The DSL Reds allowed two in the first inning and did not score until the ninth in their 4-1 loss to the DSL Orioles1. Jose Siri and Hector Vargas each had two of the six Reds hits and Vargas raised his average to .362. Starter Eury Cantalizo took the loss for allowing three runs in five-plus innings.

The DSL Rojos lost both games of a doubleheader against the DSL Nationals. They were shut out in the first game 4-0 as their bats combined for only four hits. Wendolyn Bautista allowed three runs in four innings for the loss.

In the second game the Rojos fell behind when they allowed seven runs in the fourth inning and lost 12-5. Luis Gonzalez had three hits while leadoff hitter Francis Azcona added two more and drove in two. Olvis Jimenez entered as a replacement and went 2-2 and Jose Monegro stroked a couple of singles. Starter Jean Lara began with three scoreless innings but could not make it out of the fourth when the Nats pounded out their big rally which hung the loss on him.

Of course all MLB teams put a big investment into developing players in the Dominican Republic. Typically the prospects still playing there are very young and it's often difficult to predict which ones will make it to the major leagues. Given history, one thing for sure is that many of them will make it eventually and some will have nice MLB careers.

Every team has their eye on prospects at this level that have yet to achieve much success on the field. However, when assessing the achievers, the stats are about as good a place to start as anywhere. Below are some of the leaders of the Cincinnati DSL affiliates:
Why not start with Jacob Constante, the recipient of a $730,000 signing bonus. His performance thus far makes it look like a good call for the Reds. At the age of 19 he's a bit older than other first year players in the DSL but he has a 1.37 ERA after six appearances while striking out 28 batters in 20 innings. He has the build of a starting pitcher, 6'4"/215# and throws left-handed.

Hector Vargas is an 18 year-old shortstop that has the highest batting average among the Reds that are playing full time. He also has a gaudy on-base percentage of .447 and committed only five errors in his first thirty games in the field. He stands 6'2", weighs 170#, and bats right-handed.

His DP combo mate Miguel Mendez is also sporting a flashy average at .336/.408 OB. Mendez is a 20 year-old Venezuelan in his third foreign league season and has committed only four errors at second base this season. He sports a 5'10"/160# build and hits left-handed.

Seventeen year-old Diohanky Mejia started the season as a utility outfielder for the Reds, but he's establishing himself as a regular by hitting .364/.500 OB over his first 86 professional plate appearances. He stands 6'3"/190# and hits right-handed.

Jose DeSousa has been a leader of the Reds rotation this season with a 1.56 ERA after seven starts. The Venezuelan left-hander is little older than most of his competition at the age of 21 and coming off a season that he finished with a 2.03 ernie. He's averaging nearly a strikeout per inning and has a K/BB ratio of 2.6. He's only 6'0"/180# which is a little below the preferred height for a starting pitcher, but Cincinnati has shown that pitchers under 6'0" tall can still advance if they have the right stuff.

The Reds leader in innings pitched is nineteen year-old Junior Arias who is 4-0 with a 3.26 ERA, which is a considerable improvement over where he finished in his first professional season last year. He's stands 6'3"/170# and throws right-handed.

Twenty-one year old Eury Cantalizo has kept a sub-three ERA while working both in the rotation and out of the pen. He has the stats of a finesse pitcher, with a K/BB ratio of 21/5 over 32 innings. He stands 6'2"/185# and is in his fourth professional season.

The Reds bullpen has three pitchers with ERA's under two: Venezuelans Luis Gonzalez (6'1"/170#/20 yr old/LH), Joyce Hernandez (6'2"/170#/20 yr old/RH), and Colombian Jose Munoz (6'1"/180#/21 yr old/RH). 21 year-old Venezuelan Josue Castellano (6'0"/190#/21 yr old/LH) is in his fourth professional season and second one as the Reds primary closer. He's got five saves with a 2.65 ERA which is almost a run less than where he finished in 2012.

Second baseman Francis Azcona is leading the Rojos in hitting at .345/.428 OB and six triples in 33 games has helped lift his slugging percentage to almost .500. The seventeen year-old might have some growing left to do because he stands at 5'10"/155# while hitting right-handed.

Daniel Jimenez's average is close to .300 for the Rojos and he's getting on base at a .343 clip. The right-fielder is seventeen years old, stands 5'11"/175#, and hits from the right side of the plate.

Right-hander Israel Cuevas is leading the Rojos in innings pitched and keeping a 2.70 ERA. The nineteen year-old Dominican is in his second season and stands 6'1"/178#. Thus far he's struck out 35 batters in 40 innings but he's also walked 21.

Of course with most of the prospects their teams are looking more at how well their skills project at higher levels than stats they've put in the book. There are likely to be a few "strugglers" absent from the abbreviated list above that will get a chance to make a splash stateside in the future. Cincinnati has been forced to be creative in stocking talent while dealing with the limitations of a small market and they've made no secret about being aggressive at going after foreign talent. That has made a huge impact on their current rotation and money has been flowing to provide stock the pipeline for the future.

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