Back in September we reviewed the seasons down on the farm for the FCL, Salem, Greenville, and Portland as their schedules ended with about a month to go in the major-league season. But as they stopped playing, the seasons continued into early October for both Worcester and the DSL teams. We’ve been focused on the playoffs for most of this month, but with the Boston Red Sox out it’s a good time to circle back and review those seasons as well. We looked at Worcester yesterday, and today we finish up with a look at the DSL players.
Top Position Player
Jhostynxon Garcia, OF
The Red Sox have spent a lot of money in recent years on outfielders on the international market, and while Garcia wasn’t one of the very top names in recent classes his $350,000 bonus (per Sox Prospects) put him on the radar to some extent before the games began. His first pro season in 2021 didn’t get off to any huge start, but he was solid all year and caught fire to end it to wrap up this fake award. He hit for good power in a league where that’s not the easiest thing to do, and managed to draw more walks than strikeouts as well. He ended the year hitting .281/.424/.481 on the season, and should be a name to keep in mind as he comes stateside in 2022.
Top Starting Pitcher
Jedixson Paez, RHP
Paez was another one of these second-tier type signings from the most recent international class, coming in with a slightly higher $450,000 bonus (again per Sox Prospects). Pitchers often don’t gain a ton of traction in the DSL, but Paez did make a nice name for himself in 50 1⁄3 innings. The righty pitched to a 2.86 ERA, finishing with a solid 24 percent strikeout rate and a really impressive four percent walk rate.
Top Relief Pitcher
Railin Perez, RHP
Pitching is a totally different game down in the DSL, a league filled almost entirely with teenagers who are not making full starts most of the time. The nominal starters often throw as many innings as some relievers, and players like Perez can start their career in the bullpen before moving to the rotation later in their career. Whether or not that is the case here is a different story, though. This was his second go-around in the DSL, and after pitching to a 3.60 ERA in 2019 he improved that mark to 1.35 this past year while striking out 27 percent of his opponents.
The Top Prospect
Miguel Bleis, OF
While Garcia had the best season among position players in the DSL, he wasn’t the one most eyes were on. Instead, Bleis got that honor as the top signing from the last few years and a toolsy outfield who opened some eyes in his professional debut. He only got 136 plate appearances as he was eased into action and dealing with some minor injury issues, but he showed some all-around talent hitting .252/.331/.420. He’s still raw, but people who have seen him play are excited about his future as an athletic center fielder with good bat-to-ball skills.
The underrated outfielder
Juan Chacon, OF
The Red Sox have signed a center fielder as their top international signing in each of the last three signing periods, and Chacon gets a little overlooked as Eduardo Lopez got to make his debut in the DSL while Bleis got more money. Chacon’s planned first season was cancelled due to COVID, and he also got a smaller bonus than the other two. The tools aren’t as loud here, but he’s got a good approach and is a solid athlete who has a chance to stick in center field. In 2021 he hit .311/.426/.384 with the same number of walks as strikeouts.
The other starting pitcher
Jose Ramirez, RHP
As I said above, pitchers don’t often separate themselves in the DSL, but along with Paez the Red Sox got an impressive performance from Ramirez down in the Dominican. This one is a little less exciting in terms of long-term effect given that this is his third stint in the DSL, but he has pitched reasonably well in all of those seasons. That includes this year when he pitched to a 2.36 ERA. He should finally get up to the complex next year.
The non-outfielder to know
Enderso Lira, C
Bleis was the top signing from the most recent class, but Lira came in at number two as an exciting catcher out of Venezuela, signing for $850,000. He didn’t play a ton this year just like Bleis, but it was a good showing when he was in the lineup. While mostly playing behind the plate (he also DHed a fair amount) he hit .246/.414/.336. Having just turned 18 after the season ended, there’s a ton of development left to be had, especially given his position. That said, the approach here with a 20 percent walk rate and 11 percent strikeout rate is an encouraging sign for the future.