For the first time since 2004, the Los Angeles Dodgers fielded two Minor League affiliates in the Dominican Republic. After spending over $100 million during 2015-16 international signing period, the Dodgers simply had too many players to roster on one team.
One of the youngest teams in the league, the DSL Dodgers 1 team housed some of the organization’s biggest international signings from last year. Starling Heredia, who signed for $2.6 million, batted .234/.338/.391 in 37 games during his debut.
Ronny Brito, another $2 million signee, batted .222/.336/.385 in 34 games. Oneil Cruz, who signed for $950,000, hit .294/.367/.444.
The biggest surprise on offense was Carlos Rincon, who signed for $350,000. He hit .364/.458/.714 in 26 games before being promoted to the Arizona League. The Dodgers’ DSL pitching staff also flourished.
Right-handers Melvin Jimenez and Jose Chacin each made 12 starts, with Jimenez posting a 1.47 ERA and Chacin sporting a 1.71 ERA.
The DSL Dodgers 2 actually featured Heredia and Brito at the start of the season before they each moved to DSL Dodgers 1.
Outfielder Kevin Aponte was the mainstay in the lineup, batting .267/.378/.344 with 12 steals in 64 games. Former top international signees such as, Felix Osorio and Alberto Estrella also made contributions on offense.
The DSL team 2 pitching staff was led by Alfredo Tavarez, Orlandy Navarro and Yeison Cespedes, who all started at least nine games for the team and posted ERAs of around 1.50.
Unfortunately, neither of the affiliates were able to make the playoffs. Dodgers 1 finished the season 15 games over .500 at 42-27 but were five games behind the division-winning Mariners. Dodgers 2 finished 32-36. W
While the Dodgers’ ability to sign international free agents will be hampered over the next two years, it’s likely many of these players will remain in the DSL, so it’s reasonable to expect the club to have two DSL affiliates again next year.
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