-Monday’s DPL workout at Peoria Sports Complex was one of the most well run I have been a part of. David Rawnsley touched on the great tempo of the workout in his blogs from Florida and it really is fun to watch with every player (and coach) knowing exactly where they should be and running around at all times.
-Travel team coaches can learn a lot from watching Brian Mejia and Ulises Cabrera run the crisp workout, but also from their interaction with the scouts in attendance. Ulises shakes every scouts hand, asks them how they’ve been and thanks them for attending. Also, he handed every scout a roster and made sure they knew exactly who every player was. This is a breath of fresh air after attending tournaments with completely wrong rosters with some players not even listed, with other scouts and college coaches scrambling to figure out who the players on the field were.
-I really gained a better appreciation of the DPL team with a full batting practice, workout and game Monday, rather than trying to get a feel for players based on just a 9 inning game where players only batted once or twice and might not have had a play in the field.
-Batting practice highlights were numerous with multiple players driving balls all over the park, including 15-20 homers, not an easy task with the 340-385-410 dimensions at Padres Field 1.
-If I had to choose, the two most impressive BPs were Nathanael Javier and Amaurys Minier. Javier is a right-handed batter with lots of strength. He has by far the best plate coverage of any of the players and his bat is in the strike zone for a long time. His swing is quick with smooth and easy bat speed. He had a “wow” BP, especially on his third round when he cut it loose. He launched three homers with easy far over the left field wall with almost no effort. To say the ball jumps off his bat is overused in scouting and really doesn’t do Javier justice. I’m not sure if it leaps, bounds, hop, or springs off his bat, but it is quite impressive. Amaurys Minier is a switch hitter who is very good from both sides, but really stands out from the left side with a short swing with lots of bat speed. Minier has great bat control and he squares up balls with easy, driving them all over the park. He also has big pull pop and can easily hit the ball 400+ feet. He isn’t quite as quick or easy from the right side but still crushes every pitch he sees.
Here is video of Javier from Tuesday
One of the biggest mechanical differences between the DPL players and the players attending a PG showcase is the deep, strong load employed by about 90% of the DPL players. They start their hands in different places but nearly every one of them is deep and low with their hands right before firing them forward. This is a big difference from the no load, handsy swings that a lot of US players the same age use. While these players are undoubtedly more physically talented, that even the 6’0, 170 pound middle infielders are driving the ball to the wall consistently.
-A few other players that really stood out in BP: Felix Suarez, a 6’1 175 pound SS with an easy swing, loose bat speed, crushing two homers and showing big pull pop.
Gustavo Cabrera, is the prospect that gets the most buzz with his overall tool set. He is a little raw at the plate but is very aggressive and his hit tool is very big, with hard contact and big, big power potential. His loose, easy bat speed is really a sight to behold
Here is video of Cabrera from Tuesday
Leury Vargas is a bit on an anomaly, a Dominican first base prospect. He is a physical specimen listed at 6’3, 210 which is a couple inches and 10-15 pounds on the conservative side as he towers over the other players. He was the youngest position player on the team and doesn’t turn 16 until August 30. He doesn’t have the deep load that others do, as he stays very short to the ball with very quick and strong hands/wrists. His power is evident with a lot more to come.
Jose Pujols had the most impressive bolt of the day, driving a homer just to the left of dead center 415-420 feet away. He may be the most projectable of all the players and has massive power potential. Luis Urena is more noted for his speed and quick actions at SS but took a very good BP from the left side showing lots of bat quickness and pop to the opposite field.
Miguel Munoz is an Alfonso Soriano clone. Same body, same swing same actions. He is raw but has a ton of power in his frame. He hit three BP homeruns with ease and showed lightning quick bat speed.
Here is video of Munoz from Tuesday
-Outfield workout standouts were Ronny Carvajal, Jose Pujols, and Gustavo Cabrera. All showed athleticism and easy arm speed. Pujols might have the best raw arm strength of the three, but Cabrera release is so quick and his accuracy so good that it grades a little above right now.
-Infield standouts were Richard Urena, Lugo Octavis, and Yancarlos Baez were the standout defenders. Baez is all projection and doesn’t have the quick hands and actions of the other two, but does have a huge toolset to dream on. Urena has the total package of quickness, feel, and arm strength. Everything is easy for Octavis, his hands are very good and he excels turning the double play.
Nathaneal Javier showed big arm strength across the diamond from third base and clean hands and actions.
-While the toolsy, projectable players listed above dominated the workout, an easily overlooked player made a few of the biggest plays during the game. OF Jhonny Rodriguez, a July 1996 birthday, is a slightly built player who doesn’t have the present strength of many of his teammates. But he blasted a long home run to RCF over the 385 sign that seemed to surprise no one on the field but everyone behind the plate. His swing is smooth and easy and he showed accuracy and arm strength, throwing out the speedy Cabrera trying to score on a single to left field.
-Cabrera was seemingly on base the whole time, easily swiping bases. He was 3.25 on a stolen base in the first inning.
-Amaurys Minier followed up his BP performance by going the other way with a tough outside fastball, showing the plate coverage and the ability to adjust to pitch location. He can flat out rake.
-Yoel Gonzalez followed up his Sunday performance by again showing top notch catch and throw skills behind the plate. He was consistently 1.95 in between innings, the lowest at 1.91, also showing pop and quickness in his bat.
-In a late inning at bat Natanael Delgado had a 1-2 count when Canadaian LHP Matt Fisher (a few pitchers on the Langley Blaze threw in the game) just missed the upper half of the strike zone with a hanging curveball. When Fisher came back with the exact same pitch at 2-2, Delgado pounced on it, crushing a long, high homerun that bounced off the right field foul pole.
-Frandy Delarosa led off for the Blue team and his left-handed bat is very quick and his hands and arm play very well at SS.
-Ronny Carvajal is the most polished defender in the outfield with lots of range and instincts, his long strides cover a lot of ground in center field and his arm strength is plus.
-Jose Pujols had another wow moment, but one that not may recognize. Swinging at the first pitch, he threw his hands at an outside fastball and popped it up down the left field lin. The ball picked up a hangtime of 6.54, an impressive number for a player swinging from his heels, but almost unthinkable on a pitch that Pujols didn’t even but a good swing on.
-While not quite as interesting as the position players a couple of highly projectable right-handers took the mound with Winder Novas and Crucitio Mieses both sitting 83-84. Novas was up to 86, Mieses topped at 85. Neither showed much of a feel for off-speed pitches, but Novas has easy arm action, the ball coming out of his very well. He is in line for a big velo jump in the next year or two.