Nov 26th, 2009

Season in Review: DSL White Sox

By Jeff Buchanan

Dominican Summer League prospects are notoriously hard to evaluate due to the low standard of the league and the rawness of the players paying there. The White Sox don’t usually have a large number of legitimate prospects in the DSL and this is largely due to their lack of spending during the international signing period. That said, there are one or two interesting prospects that have come through in recent years, most notably Fautino de los Santos, now of the A’s, and more recently Miguel Gonzalez. I’m going to give a brief recap of how the DSL Sox’ season went and then highlight a few players worth watching.

The DSL White Sox got off to a fast start in 2009 as they won all of their first 11 games, sitting them firmly atop their division. Unfortunately they couldn’t quite maintain this blistering pace and they stuttered to a 7-9 record through the rest of June. They picked up their play in July finishing with a 15-11 record for the month and then rounded out the season with a 9-8 record in August. This resulted in an impressive 42-28 record on the season, but that was only good enough for third place in the division (behind the Yankees’ 2nd team and the Twins) and resulted in the DSL Sox missing out on the playoffs.

Players to watch (ages as on 04/01/10):

Juan Silverio, 18, SS/3B
Silverio was the prized signing of the Sox’ 2007 international free agent class but his first pro season was one to forget as he posted a .586 OPS over 59 games. I don’t place too much blame on Silverio for his lack of production last year though because there’s no way he should have been starting in Bristol as a 17 year old. This year Silverio has rebounded nicely in the DSL, his plate discipline is still lacking as he struck out 47 times against just 16 walks but he did show very good power (.547 SLG, .226 IsoP) and hit for a high average (.321).
At this point Silverio still looks like your typical unrefined, free-swinging latin prospect but he’s still very young and there’s lots of time for him to improve. Assuming no visa issues we may see him back in Bristol next year.

Daurys Mercedes, 20, SS/2B
Daurys took large strides forwards this year after a very weak offensive season in 2008. Mercedes was signed in 2007 along with Juan Silverio, but unlike Silverio, Mercedes showed very good plate discipline as he walked 31 times against 39 strikeouts. This was a vast improvement on his 62 SO/17 BB last year. Mercedes hit for some decent pop this year with a .473 SLG and .154 IsoP as well as a strong average (.319).
Mercedes may be ready for the step up to Bristol next year, and in fact, his plate discipline means that he’s probably more prepared than Silverio is, although Silverio remains the better prospect going forward due to his power potential.

Jaime Del Valle, 20, C
I’m including del Valle more because of the fact that he was named an All-Star at catcher (along with Silverio at SS) than because I see him as having legitimate potential. The plus for del Valle is that he showed good control of the strikezone with 20 BB/24 SO as well as a good average of .291, but his power nonexistent and I don’t expect much from him going forward.

Darwin Matos, 19, RHP

There were several pitchers who put up good numbers for the DSL Sox this year but Matos is the lone guy on my radar. The main thing that jumps out with Matos is his high strikeout rate (10.9 SO/9), which is key for identifying prospects at this level (and I would argue any level), the walk rate was also high at 4.5 BB/9 but that’s to be expected for a pitcher of his age and experience.
Matos will be 19 for the majority of the 2010 season and I expect him to be back in Dominican Summer League.

If there’s anyone you think I missed, let me know in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to shoot your opinion down!

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