Dominican Republic Top Ten July 2nd Prospects

After spending the last four months in the Dominican Republic attending numerous tryouts and speaking with MLB executives and scouts, I have compiled a top ten list for this year's July 2nd class.  These rankings provide a reflection of the industry's perspective.  Before we delve into the top ten, here's a brief explanation about the Latin American market. 

Scouting Latin Americans is starkly different than scouting players for the MLB amateur draft in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Since the vast majority of Dominican prospects do not play in organized leagues, teams frequently host private tryouts at their respective complexes to judge these players.  The goal of these workouts is to showcase and evaluate the players' five tools.  A typical tryout consists of running the 60 (speed), throwing and fielding from their position (arm and defense), a few rounds of batting practice (bat and power), and maybe a simulated or live game.  These workouts usually last for less than half a day and players can easily be evaluated incorrectly with a stronger or weaker-than-usual showing. Sometimes prospects are invited to stay and work out with the team for up to a month, but the highest-profile players are usually in too high demand to stay in one place for more than a day or two.

Because there is no draft in the international market, every player is a free agent. Mix identity issues with six or seven-figure bonuses, and rumors and name changes abound.  My goal is to deliver accurate information on the top Dominican players for July 2nd, with more detail to come.

1. Vicmal De La Cruz, OF.  Has the best toolset of any player in this class. Upside as high as anyone.

2. Martin Steylon Peguero, SS.  Hands down the best shortstop of this year's class.

3. Ariel Ovando, OF. – When two different scouts drop Darryl Strawberry comps, you take notice.

4. Phillips Castillo, OF.  This outfielder is a lock for seven figures.

5. Wilmer Romero, OF.  Still a bit of an unknown, but has the potential to move up on this list.

6. Eskarlin Vazquez, OF.  Perhaps the most publicized player in this year's class. At 6'3", Vazquez has a projectable frame with good pop.

7. Jorge Feliz, RHP.  A 92 mph fastball and feel for a curve earns him the highest pitcher’s spot.

8. Alberto Triunfel, SS.  Little brother to Carlos Triunfel, Alberto also has Scott Boras as his agent.

9. Elvis Sanchez, 3B.  His body has improved tremendously over the past year, allowing the possibility of sticking at third base for the long haul.  If he continues to show off-the-charts power, it may be irrelevant.

T-10. Edwin Moreno, OF.  Left-handed outfielder with pop and a strong body.

T-10. Luis Abad, RHP.  Hitting 92 mph and weighing 160 pounds soaking wet, the 6'3" Abad is one of the most projectable pitchers you'll see.

T-10. Javier Pimentel, SS.  A wide-shouldered shortstop with a solid bat and plenty of room for improvement.

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25 Responses to Dominican Republic Top Ten July 2nd Prospects Leave a Reply

  1. bigpat 5 years ago

    Interesting stuff! Hopefully the Pirates will sign at least one of these guys.

    • Vicmal De La Cruz is seen wearing Pirates gear see this video:

      link to

      • bigpat 5 years ago

        That’s pretty awesome. He seems in touch with American culture already, he still has the new era sticker on his hat, lol.

      • Maverick60 5 years ago

        How do he Pirates attract any of these types of players? Why doesnt another team start a smear campaign against them by informing these kids that the Pirates have not put even a decent team on a field since well before some of them were born? It would only take showing them the season standings from 93 – to current. I feel like they are being suckered by the Pirates, even more than the rest of us.

  2. 55saveslives 5 years ago

    From a previous MLBtraderumors thread…

    link to

    Eskralin Vasquez would be a nice pick up. OF with power…what a concept :)

  3. GeronimoJansen 5 years ago

    Darryl Strawberry he’s a 5-tool player comps, or Darryl Strawberry he’s on crack comps?

  4. Garafraxaguy 5 years ago

    Anyone know which teams these prospects have been linked to?

  5. Yankees420 5 years ago

    The Yankees should use their financial prowess and grab an OF prospect or two, maybe even a SS to start looking for Jeter’s heir.

    • bj82 5 years ago

      Yeah the Yanks need to sign something more than the best Latin catchers. I really wanted them to sign Sano.

    • oleosmirf 5 years ago

      why dont the Yankees just sign all 10?

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        Haha, you assume that because I’m a Yankee fan I must have a misplaced sense of entitlement to every player/prospect in the game….how cute.

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        Haha, you assume that because I’m a Yankee fan I must have a misplaced sense of entitlement to every player/prospect in the game….how cute.

    • oleosmirf 5 years ago

      why dont the Yankees just sign all 10?

  6. jwredsox 5 years ago

    I wouldn’t mind the Sox going after 1 or 2 high upside projects. Can never have too many minor leaguers

  7. souldrummer 5 years ago

    For all the hoopla about the Nationals getting better, they have been awful in the international market. They talk about how they’re recovering since the Smiley fiasco that cost Jim Bowden his job, but unless they start sticking their necks out to get some of these guys, they are not marshalling their resources effectively.

  8. diehardmets 5 years ago

    Mets should look at the SS prospects to maybe move to 2B. Another good OF would be nice too. And definately look into a pitcher.

  9. Pseudonymus Bosch 5 years ago

    I’m curious about the author of this post. Who is Blake Bentley and where did he get the finances to spend four months scouting guys in the DR, unless he is a scout and/or baseball professional, in which case – what’s his day job?

  10. Any chance this is Blake Bentley from Matewan??

  11. Any chance this is Blake Bentley from Matewan??

  12. Something you need to know is, that these guys don’t have access to what American kids have. Poor people play baseball in Dominican, so most of the time, they don’t eat how they would like to and don’t eat the same food we eat here in the US. That is why the upside for these kids is high, because they can do what they do with what they have over there, imagine if you give them a good facility to work out and eat well.

  13. bj82 5 years ago

    6’3 160 lbs tell you one thing, he has lots of room to fill and already throwing 92 only tell you another thing, when he does fill up, he will be throwing much harder.

  14. damnitsderek 5 years ago

    Aramis Ramirez was 6’1″, 176 in 1996. Damn, his career sure didn’t work out.

  15. mstrchef13 5 years ago

    An even better comparison might be Pedro Martinez. The 170 pounds he is listed at now is considerably more than when he was a teenager. I think when he came up with the Dodgers at age 20 he was estimated to be 5’11”, 145#.

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