Dominican Dispatches: Day Two

Dominican OF Bryan Pena

Kiley shares thoughts from his second day in the Dominican, with notes from the final day of DPL workouts and a couple big performances.

Also see: DR Day One Notebook, Yankees Int'l Plans, Game Theory In Int'l Market and My Twitter

The Dominican Prospect League wrapped up its two-day showcase event today at the Yankees' complex in Boca Chica with a couple big performances. To start the day, the DPL showcased the league's 2015 July 2nd prospects, something that's becoming more important for scouts as many top hitters verbally agreed to deals in the fall this year, many months earlier than it's happened before. The 2014 prospects took the second half of the day and the show was stolen by a player that I mentioned in yesterday's notebook, but I was also introduced to some new players worth noting.

2014 July 2nd Prospect Notes

OF Bryan Pena was one of the two players that stood out most for me yesterday, but came back out today and hit 2 homers in his game. Pena still has his share of concerns with a pull-happy, high leg kick, high effort swing that's inconsistent even in batting practice, but he squared up two game fastballs well over the right field fence in front of a lot of scouts today. His left-handed power is about as big and easy as you'll see at this age and the swing mechanics have good elements to work with, once some of the aggression and showcase type swings can be toned down. I'll wait until after the week is over to try to stack all these players up, but it's looking like Pena showed enough to tempt a club into paying seven figures.

On field three, a couple new players stood out as solid six figure follows. Among the outfielders, Rosmer Rojas stood out the most, showing good bat speed and a fluid cut with feel for all fields. Wilmer Reyes and Frailyn Serra were the best shortstops while currently-eligible catcher Wander Cabrera showed an above average arm and solid line drive stroke. On field two, Pena was the star but teammate and currently-eligible shortstop Esmerkin Gonzalez showed a fluid swing, hit a homer to center field and came close to doing that a few times in batting practice. Shortstop Julio Suarez showed easy power from the left side despite a slight 5'9 frame while OF Melvin Mendez showed some potential with a good swing, some pop and a projectable 6'4/170 frame.

2015 July 2nd Prospect Notes

OF Franklin Reyes is the younger brother of Padres OF Franmil Reyes (who signed for $700,000 in 2011) and was one of a couple underclassmen at the DPL event to jump off the field for scouts. The younger Reyes missed being in the 2014 July 2nd class by a month and stacks up well with the prospects in this year's class due in part to precocious coordination of his extra large frame. Reyes is a 6'4/190 15-year-old that already has at least average raw power and plenty more in the tank, along with an above average arm and a clean enough arm stroke that it could be plus one day. There's always the fear at underclass events like this that any standout may be older than he claims, but having a similarly sized/talented brother and well-known trainer helps quell these fears for Reyes.

Born just 11 days after Reyes, another big outfielder that stood out today was Rafioly Urena, a 6'4/200 lefty with above average arm strength and plenty of power. Urena has a more controlled, calm and repeatable swing than Reyes and with similar raw power. When talking with scouts after the underclass event, a few referenced Vinicio Martinez, who I said had a swing like Manny Ramirez, while others mentioned the bat speed reminded them of Javier Baez. Martinez isn't as projectable as many of his peers at 6'0/170, with some length and effort to his swing, but the bat speed is plus and the arm strength and raw power are both already major league average at age 15. SS Eriberto Franco is the last of the standout underclassmen from today, with arguably the best combination of size and defense among the shortstops, along with some real ability at the plate--above average bat speed and feel to hit to all fields.

The internet largely didn't appreciate my comment that I was scouting Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. today, but little Vlady put on a nice show in BP. Junior is maxed-out at 6'0/200 and is more of an OF/1B fit, but has some bat speed, flashed average raw power, an arm that could be average and didn't wear batting gloves. 3B Fernando Tatis, Jr. was also playing today and fits in the same group as Guerrero--solid player that likely gets six figures 18 months from now, but not an elite talent.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow starts the highly anticipated MLB Showcase in San Pedro de Macoris that should feature the best talent of the three events this week, but it's still unknown exactly which prospects will show up.

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