Dominican Instructs Up Next

Tampa Instructs ended with Friday's game against the Pirates and now Dominican Instructs are set to begin. Although the first game won't be for another two weeks, many of the Yankee Latin American prospects have begun reporting and has them all.

Veteran Flavor On The Mound

The Yankees are sending 36 pitchers to the Dominican Republic for Instructs this offseason and just one of them - right-hander Chris Cabrera - has yet to pitch in a professional game. Cabrera, who reportedly has hit as high as 96 MPH on the back fields in workouts, signed back on July 2nd.

Noel Castillo, Jairo Heredia, and Jose Ramirez are the only three pitchers attending Dominican Instructs that pitched as high as the Florida State League this past season [Ramirez made just one appearance for Tampa], and right-handers Wilton Rodriguez and Manny Barreda are the only other ones to have pitched in the long-season leagues in 2009. Both Rodriguez and Barreda each pitched in two games for the Charleston Riverdogs this past September.

Four Staten Island hurlers will be making their way to the Yankees complex in Boca Chica; right-handers Arodys Vizcaino, Kelvin Perez, and Graham Stoneburner, all of whom have hit as high as 96 MPH this season, as well as left-hander Francisco Rondon.

Sam Elam and Mariel Checo are two Gulf Coast League Yankee pitchers slated to attend, and they'll be joined by left-handed Evan DeLuca and right-hander Bryan Mitchell in camp. Those four, along with Barreda and Stoneburner, represent the American pitchers going down for a second Instructional League camp.

The remaining pitchers scheduled to participate in Dominican Instructs are highlighted by left-handers Erick Tapia, Jose Quintana, and Juan Heredia, and right-handers Justo Arias, Dawerd Cruz, Nestor DeLeon, Joel Marte, Edison Mejia, Deivi Mojica, Jose Pena, and Yobanny Reyes, all of whom pitched for DSL Yankees2 this past season.

All of the other pitchers going pitched for DSL Yankees1 in 2009. The right-handed pitchers include: Cesar Vargas, Israel Tolentino, Gabriel Santana, Ramon Rodriguez, Warlin Jimenez, Antonio Jimenez, Charlyn Garcia, Harold Garce, Erick Canela, and Victor Beriguete. The lefties from DSL Yankees1 include Juan Marcano and Rafael Martinez.

Green Behind The Plate

Of the eight catchers scheduled to report to Dominican Instructs, only three of them have played in official minor league games in the United States. Switch-hitting Francisco Arcia, he of the 144 combined at-bats in the Gulf Coast League over the past two seasons, brings the most experience.

Jhorge Liccien hit just .100 in 80 GCL at-bats this past season and J.R. Murphy, who amassed just 30 at-bats with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, represents the only American born catcher slated to report.

16-year old Gary Sanchez, who had a solid debut during Tampa Instructs, and 17-year old Isaias Tejeda both signed with the Yankees this summer and have yet to see any official minor league game action to date.

One of the most intriguing batters in camp will be Damian Taveras, who hit .396 and slugged .575 in just 30 games for DSL Yankees1 this past season, and collected 13 multi-hit games.

Jackson Valera, who hit just .217 for DSL Yankees2 this past season despite drawing nearly as many walks as strikeouts, and Francisco Duran round out the final two catchers going to camp.

Latin American Infield

Not only are there no American born infielders headed to camp, but Staten Island's Jimmy Paredes is easily the most accomplished infielder going this year. He hit .302 and stole 23 bases this year, and he's one of three infielders who played in the United States in 2009.

The only other two who played in the States are shortstop Jose Mojica, who hit .278 and committed a team-high 15 errors, and second baseman Jose Tuossen. Both played for the Gulf Coast League Yankees and Tuossen was second on the team with 14 errors.

First baseman Reymond Nunez might not be bringing the most experience but he could be bringing the most potent bat. Losing roughly 25 pounds since last year, he slugged a team-high ten home runs for DSL Yankees2.

DSL Yankees2 teammates Gian Carlos Arias [.227 with a team-hight 48 walks], Elio De La Rosa [.226, 4 home runs], and Anderson Felix [.254, 7 stolen bases] will be joining Nunez. Jose Rosario, Jerison Lopez, Edwin Beard, and Jorge Alcantara, all of whom played for DSL Yankees1, round out the list of infielders.

Toolsy But Inexperienced

Slade Heathcott headlines the list of outfielders going to Dominican Instructs this year. He collected just ten Gulf Coast League at-bats after signing in August, but he was easily one of the more toolsy players during Tampa Instructs. The only other American born outfielder going is Judd Golson. He hit .224 in 39 games for the Gulf Coast League Yankees this past season.

The GCL Yankees trio of Kelvin De Leon, Eduardo Sosa, and Ramon Flores represent the remaining outfielders headed to camp who played in the United States in 2009. De Leon had three more RBI than Sosa and Flores had combined, and his seven home runs led all outfielders attending Dominican Instructs at any level.

Joining them will be Dominican Summer League participants Yeicok Calderon, Erickson Leonora, Kelvin Duran, Melvin Rosario, and Ravel Santana, each of whom showed their power-speed combination by hitting at least three home runs and stealing at least eight bases this past season.

Rounding out the outfielders will be Edwin Fulgencio, Daniel Lopez, Henry Pena [.315, 15 doubles, 42 walks], Victor Reynoso [team-high 18 doubles], and Carlos Urena. Only Urena and Pena have more than one full Dominican Summer League under their belts.

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