We finish our look at the 2016 DSL Blue Jays by taking a peek at how the hitters did. We’ll start behind the plate and look at players who got the most playing time first, followed by the guys who played less.
19-year-old Jonelvy Molina got the most time behind the plate for the DSL Blue Jays, catching 28 games and getting into 29. Molina’s defensive numbers are the most exciting as he had just three passed balls and threw out 41% of potential base stealers. With the bat, however, Molina was well below average in his first professional season, hitting .245/.279/.286 with just four doubles. His low (4.5% walk rate) kept him off the bases but he only struck out 14.3% of the time.
Despite being a little younger than Molina, Andres Guerra, 19, was in his second year with the DSL Blue Jays and he got a few fewer games behind the plate but also played at first base. Guerra played in 38 games in all, hitting .243/.358/.279. Guerra certainly walked a ton (14.1% rate) but also struck out much more (24.4%) and had just two doubles and a triple in 135 plate appearances. Behind the plate, Guerra had four passed balls and threw out a respectable 29% of potential base stealers.
At first base, Antonio Concepcion was the primary defender and the 19 year old made a worse impression this year than he did last year. In 38 games, he received 136 plate appearnaces and hit just .202/.351/.266 with seven doubles. Over a lesser workload last year, his walk rate rose to 12.5% but his strikeout rate also jumped significantly to 22.8%.
Yorman Rodriguez had the second-most games at first base but also caught 19 games and was a DH for one. Rodriguez had a tremendous season at the plate, hitting .324/.361/.436 with 14 doubles, two triples and a home run (and stealing eight bases) in 206 plate appearances before a promotion to the GCL. In the GCL, Rodriguez continued to hit, slashing .296/.433/.444 with a triple, two home runs and six stolen bases in just 68 plate appearances. While Rodriguez’s walk rate of 4.4% was very low by any standard in the DSL, it rose to 10.3% in the GCL while his strikeout rate, already low at 8.3% in the DSL dropped to a tiny 7.4% in the GCL. Look for Rodriguez in the GCL or Bluefield next year in his Age-19 season.
Playing the most at second base was 20-year-old Yeison Estevez. Estevez got time at second, third and (a little) at short and had a solid debut season with the bat. He hit .253/.368/.312, walking in 13.1% of plate appearances and striking out in 19.1%. Estevez shows a little gap power at this point, hitting seven doubles and one triple and stole 12 bases.
Ronald Concepcion is a 19-year-old infielder who played a significant amount of time at second base. Concepcion played in only 26 games and got to the plate just 97 times, hitting a miniscule .108/.227/.181 with three doubles and a home run. Those numbers of extra-base hits could bode well for Concepcion but he’ll need to show a lot more contact ability. He walked in a healthy 11.3% of plate appearances but struck out in 27.8%, a more troubling figure.
Third baseman Anderson Green also struggled with the bat as the 19 year old hit .135/.217/.154 with two doubles among his 14 hits in 116 plate appearances.
18-year-old Jesus Navarro was solid with the bat for the DSL Blue Jays over 37 games and earned a promotion to the GCL before July was out. In the DSL, he hit .243/.347/.297, fundamentally walking his way off the Island (with 24 walks and 19 strikeouts in 176 plate appearances) but struggled in Florida, hitting .182/.237/.218 in 18 games, turning his walk-to-strikeout ratio around and striking out 13 times and walking three times in 60 plate appearances. Like many young shortstops, Navarro had his struggles in the field, committing 13 errors in 51 games.
Another 18 year old, Luis De Los Santos, took over at short most of the time once Navarro was promoted but also played almost as much at third base. Navarro hit a very solid .291/.356/.354 with seven doubles, a triple and a home run in his first professional season. De Los Santos could walk more (than his 4.7% rate) but his 15.2% strikeout rate is quite good. De Los Santos could also make the jump to Florida next year but the infield at the Jays’ minor league complex could get very crowded.
Victor Figuereo, 19, logged the most time in left field and, in his second year, hit just .200/.297/.310 (despite it being an improvement over his first year in 2015). Figuereo struck out a whopping 33.3% of the time (171 PAs) but is starting to show some power with four doubles, three triples and two home runs. Figuereo walked in 10.5% of PAs, showing a good eye.
With an eye-opening season in his professional debut and only having just turned 18 on August 30, Mc Gregory Contreras burst onto the scene. Contreras hit .273/.408/.412 in 266 plate appearances, hitting 10 doubles, seven triples and two home runs while stealing 10 bases, showing a tantalizing glimpse of a batting eye (15.4% walk rate), contact ability (.273 average), power (.139 ISO) and speed. Contreras did strike out a little too much (22.2%) but his age, ability to play center field and work with the bat make him an interesting player to follow as he will likely make his way to Florida next year.
19-year-old Aldo Ovando made his professional debut this season and hit .260/.317/.337 over 186 plate appearances, playing 47 games in left and right field. Ovando hit 13 doubles but no home runs, striking out 50 times (26.9%) and walking just 13 times (7.0%).
Another 19 year old, Yhordegny Kelly was primarily a DH for the DSL Blue Jays but he had the second-most plate appearances (257) and trailed the club’s OPS leader, Mc Gregory Contreras, by just one point (.819). Kelly played 19 games in the outfield, hitting .283/.424/.395, hitting 11 doubles and four home run (the most on the team). Kelly struck out a fair bit (24.1%) but also walked almost 15% of the time (14.8%). Kelly is another player who, despite 2016 being his professional debut, could be headed to Florida in 2017.
18-year-old Venezuelan Jose Briceno played 36 games in the outfield and 43 in total, hitting just .219/.320/.266 with a double, a triple and a home run. Briceno also struck out in 22.8% of PAs and walked in 10.1%. Another year of development in the DR is probably in the cards for him.
Infielder Jose Theran started playing late in the season and got into just 20 games hitting very well at a .296/.354/.380 clip with four doubles and a triple in 79 plate appearances, striking out five times and walking five times at the age of 18.
Sam Buelens, 20, was mostly used as a pinch runner, coming to the plate 72 times and walking 13 times with 15 strikeouts, stealing seven bases and hitting .132/.333/.151 with one double.
Cristian Peguero only played in 13 games hitting .214/.313/.286 with three doubles in 48 plate appearances.
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