We turn to the hitters of the DSL Blue Jays to see who did what in 2018. We’ll start with the catchers and go around the horn to the infield and then to the outfield.
17-year-old Geyber Jimenez made a solid first impression, hitting .246/.327/.323 with the DSL Blue Jays, walking in 10.9% of plate appearances and striking out in 23.8%. He hit five doubles, a triple and a home run in 147 plate appearances over 41 games and threw out 28% of the runners trying to steal, playing 25 of his games behind the plate. That was good enough to earn him an invitation to the Fall Instructional League in Florida where he’ll probably move up to the GCL next year.
Jesus Hernandez, an 18-year-old Venezuelan struggled at the plate despite showing a good eye. He had a .164/.370/.197 slash line, in 81 plate appearances, hitting a pair of doubles while striking out 24 times and walking 14. He caught in 24 games, throwing 27% of potential base stealers.
18-year-old Mexican Gustavo Ruiz also struggled in limited playing time. He had a .186/.294/.237 slash line with three doubles in 68 plate appearances, striking out 10 times and walking seven times. Ruiz appeared in 22 games behind the plate, throwing out 18% of potential base stealers.
19-year-old Venezuelan Jose Ferrer started with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays and eventually made it to the Gulf Coast League despite struggling in the DSL where he hit .115/.258/.135 with just one extra-base hit (a double) in 62 plate appearances. Promoted to the GCL, he hit .273/.385/.455 with two doubles in just 13 plate appearances. Ferrer likely drew some attention for throwing out 45% of potential base stealers in the DSL and 25% of the four who tried to nab a base in the GCL.
Signed late in the season after he was released by the Yankees organization, 21-year-old Dominican Brayan Rodriguez played in five games with the DSL Blue Jays down the stretch in August, going 2/14 with a double, three walks and five strikeouts in 18 plate appearances.
Another late signing was Anthony Rodriguez who had been released by the Houston Astros. Rodriguez hit .241/.421/.345 with three doubles in 38 plate appearances, walking nine times and striking out 11 times.
In his Age-18 season, Pedro Hurtado had a strong season, playing mostly first base for the DSL Blue Jays in his professional debut. Hurtado hit .259/.340/.341, hitting eight doubles, three triples and a home run, walking in 10.5% of his 238 plate appearances and striking out in 18.5%. Hurtado showed some defensive versatility, playing 15 games at second base,
Second baseman Jose Rivas, who just turned 18 this month, struggled a bit at the plate before he was promoted to the GCL in mid August. He hit .223/.300/.271 with seven doubles and two triples, walking in a healthy 8.5% of 259 plate appearances and striking out in 13.5%. After his promotion, he went 9/21 (.429 batting average), hitting a double and two triples in 21 plate appearances, striking out in 14.3% of the small sample size of times he came to the plate.
Rainer Nunez was the club’s everyday third baseman, playing 64 games including starting 59 of them at third base. Nunez hit .247/.298/.328 with 12 doubles, a triple and two home runs, walking in 5.9% of his 272 plate appearances and striking out in just 11.0%. He was invited to the Fall Instructional League and could start in the GCL next year as an 18 year old.
Shortstop Miguel Hiraldo was one of the Blue Jays’ top international signings last year and made his pro debut as a 17 year old and tearing the cover off the ball in the DSL. Hiraldo hit .313/.381/.453 with 18 doubles, three triples and two home runs in 239 plate appearances, walking in 9.6% of them and striking out in 12.6%. He struggled after his promotion to the GCL, hitting .231/.250/.333 in 40 plate appearances, hitting just four doubles while taking only one walk and striking out 12 times. Hiraldo will likely be back in the GCL but could move up to Bluefield if the club feels he develops enough in Instructs and extended spring training.
21-year-old Pedro Ventura was brought in late in the season after a few years of minor league action with the Mets. Ventura played 10 games at third base, making an impact with a .306/.342/.333 slash line, hitting a double while striking out five times and walking twice in 38 plate appearances.
Jose Zepeda played a handful of games for the Blue Jays, getting into action at all four infield positions. Zepeda, 17, showed some promise with the bat in just 58 plate appearances, hitting .304/.414/.326 with a double and three stolen bases. He struck out five times and walked four times.
In his Age-19 season, Alonso Concepcion got into 27 games, hitting just .110/.245/.122 in 100 plate appearances, hitting just one extra-base hit (a double) while striking out 32 times and walking 15. He was pretty versatile defensively, playing 10 games at second base, eight at shortstop as well as six in the outfield.
Kenny Mauricio got into 30 games in the DSL, hitting .202/.304/.263 with a double, a triple and one home run, striking out 21 times and walking 15 times and he had two brief stints in the GCL, playing one game on August 11 and then three more at the end of the season, going 0/8 with one walk and one strikeout.
Leading the club in games in left field was Erickvi Celedonio, a 17-year-old Dominican left-handed hitter. In 61 games, Celedonio had a decent line of .257/.327/.321 with 11 doubles and two triples over 263 plate appearances, showing some speed with 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Strikeouts were somewhat of an issue as he went down on strikes 24.3% of the time while walking in a respectable 8.7% of plate appearances, getting himself a chance to play in the Fall Instructional League.
17-year-old Jhon Solarte was one of the bright lights offensively for the DSL Blue Jays. Solarte hit .295/.393/.376 with 14 doubles and four triples in 318 plate appearances, stealing 27 bases in 37 attempts. He had a healthy 11.6% walk rate and a 17.0% strikeout rate and earned himself an invitation to Instructs.
Another 17 year old, Dominican Alberto Rodriguez got most of the playing time in right field. Rodriguez led the team with five home runs, hitting for a .254/.350/.368 slash line that included nine doubles and a triple and 21 stolen bases in 27 attempts. Rodriguez struck out in 20.9% of his plate appearances (263 of them) and walked in 12.2%.
Hanley Acevedo, 18, got into 46 games and hit .163/.340/.272 with seven doubles, three triples and a home run in 188 plate appearances, stealing seven bases in 12 attempts while walking 29 times and striking out a whopping 71 times.
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