We conclude our in-depth look at the DSL Blue Jays by looking at the hitters.
Jonathan Peguero, who doesn’t even turn 18 until late July next year, was the club’s top catcher, playing in 31 games and hitting respectably for such a youngster. The Dominican catcher hit .266/.384/.372 with four doubles and two home runs in 112 plate appearances, walking in a stellar 14.3% of plate appearances and striking out in 17.0%. Peguero also threw out 31% of the runners who tried to steal against him. He could move up to the FCL next year but his youth could work against him as he may continue to play in the DR next season.
Now 21, Dominican catcher Jommer Hernandez was a late sign, having played for two seasons with the Pirates organization in 2018 and 2019. Jommer played in 15 games, getting 47 plate appearances and hit .179/.298/.231 with a pair of doubles, walks in 12.8% of plate appearances and strikeouts in 19.1%. He did put on a defensive display, throwing out 47% of potential base stealers.
19-year-old Venezuelan catcher Luis Bullon played nine games, hitting .143/.308/.451 with 26 plate appearances. He did walk five times and struck out just three times. Runners took advantage of him as he threw out three of 25 base stealers in just 54 innings behind the plate.
While he turns 20 this month, Venezuelan Gary David didn’t get much playing time in his second attempt at the DSL. He only played nine games and hit .190/.320/.333 with a home run in 25 plate appearances, walking four times and striking out seven. He also surrendered 13 stolen bases and threw out three runners (19%) in just 44 innings.
19-year-old Venezuelan Wilder Perez played 10 games including six behind the plate (and four at first base), hitting .143/.217/.143 in 23 plate appearances, walking twice and striking out six times. He was a little more successful, throwing out four of 13 potential base stealers (31%).
Cristian Feliz, 19, played most of the season as an 18 year old and had a very solid professional debut, hitting .291/.393/.417 with seven doubles and four home runs. He walked in 10.1% of plate appearances but his strikeout rate was quite high at 27.5%. I can see him moving up to the FCL in 2022.
Getting the most time at second base was Francisco Fajardo, a 21-year-old Dominican switch hitter. In his second go-round in the DSL, Fajardo played in 51 games (35 at second, 13 at first and two at third) and hit an outstanding .365/.445/.473 with seven doubles, four triples and a home run, stealing 30 bases in 37 atempts and posting a 9.8% walk rate and a miniscule 6.2% strikeout rate. While he had a .390 BABIP that is likely not sustainable, it did mark the second time that Fajardo has hit over .300 in the DSL and he had a 159 wRC+ (he produced runs at a rate 59% higher than league average). If he doesn’t move up to the FCL next year, I would be very surprised.
Third baseman Martin Gimenez is still 17 and hails from Venezuela. He played 31 games at third base and another seven at shortstop, and hit a somewhat disappointing .225/.304/.254 with four doubles in 158 plate appearances. Gimenez struggled to make contact, striking out in 31.6% of his plate appearances while walking in 8.2%. He’ll probably likely repeat the level.
17-year-old shortstop Manuel Beltre used his impressive walk rate of 17.6% to bolster his otherwise unimpressive stats in his professional debut, particularly considering that he was the Blue Jays’ top international prospect of 2021, signing for $2.35 million. Beltre hit .225/.391/.346 with 10 doubles, three triples and two home runs in 238 plate appearances and while his numbers aren’t exactly awe inspiring, he did have a low BABIP of .258 to go along with a a solid flyball rate of 46.9% and he did walk more than he struck out (13.9%), leaving us with some strong indicators of better future performance. I’d probably expect to see Beltre in the FCL next year.
19-year-old Jean Arnaez played 15 games at first base with other games at second (one inning), third, catcher (for three innings) and shortstop. Arnaez hit .254/.370/.288 with a triple and two stolen bases in 73 plate appearances, walking 10 times and striking out 10 times.
Venezuelan Luis Garcia, 18, was also a multi-positional player, playing 18 games at third, 11 at second and five at shortstop while hitting .307/.375/.380 with 10 doubles in 152 plate appearances, posting an 8.6% walk rate and a 13.2% walk rate.
19-year-old Venezuelan Francisco Veracierto played six games at first as well as one at third and parts of one at second and short. Veracierto hit 27 times, with a .190/.346/.190 slash line, walking five times and striking out six.
Leading the way in games in the outfield is Yeuni Munoz, a Dominican outfielder who played the season as a 17 year old. He is a right fielder who played 44 games and came to the plate 182 times and hit .260/. 363/.387 with 14 doubles, a triple and a home run. On the “red flag” side of things, he did have a 30.2% strikeout rate but he also had a 13.2% walk rate.
Endri Garcia, playing the season as an 18 year old, played the second most outfield games, spending most of his 45 games in left field. Garcia had 148 plate appearances and hit .315/.419/.444 with 10 doubles and two home runs. Garcia posted a solid 10.1% walk rate and only struck out in 19.6% of his plate appearances.
Venezuelan outfielder Victor Arias, who just turned 18 at the end of August, split his time mostly between center field and right field and hit .248/.388/.339 in 134 plate appearances, hitting four doubles and two home runs, posting a walk rate of 17.9% and a strikeout rate of 23.9%.
Yhoangel Aponte, who is still 17 years old, had a solid pro debut, playing 38 games, mostly in center field, while hitting .240/.393/.357 with nine doubles and three triples. Aponte did strike out a lot, posting a 27.0% strikeout rate in 163 plate appearances but he also walked a lot, with a 15.3% walk rate.
Robert Robertis, an 18-year-old Venezuelan, split time between center field and left field. The lefthanded hitter had 144 plate appearances and hit .266/.333/.344 with five doubles, a triple and a home run, stealing seven bases in 10 tries.Robertis struck out in 16.7% of his plate appearances and walked in 8.3%.
18 year old, Daniel Oliva, didn’t play nearly as much as he did in 2019. This year, he only had 40 plate appearances and hit .103/.350/.138 with one double. He continued to walk a lot, with nine walks but he struck out 14 times.
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