The following are the top ten prospects from the Dominican Republic who play in the National League. Last week we debuted the top ten prospects from the Dominican Republic who play in the American League. We forgot to mention some of the graduates from the top ten in the American League last year who made an impact in the major leagues. The two big names were 1) Miguel Sano and 3) Luis Severino with a special appearance from the number two prospect Raul Mondesi who made his major league debut in the World Series last year and was bumped to number one.
From the National League the only graduate no longer eligible for the top ten prospect list is number one Maikel Franco. Some players have remained on the list and some have fallen off. The Nationals seem to have developed a stream of Dominicans ready to make an impact in the major leagues. These names do not end with the top ten list. You can see the list from last year from the National League at the link below.
1. Alex Reyes RHP (Cardinals) - A 50 game drug suspension will delay his arrival to the Cardinals rotation. Alex was a favorite to win a spot in the rotation this year. Now he will need some starts in the minor leagues to strengthen up his arm before he sees the Cardinal rotation this year. It shouldn’t take long for him to reach the rotation with a fastball that easily ticks into three digits. His curve is also a good major league pitch, allowing him to keep his pitches down, allowing only one homerun in his 102 innings pitched last year. His stuff was dominant in High A and AA as he averaged more than 13 whiffs per nine innings. Alex will need to improve his command to be successful at the higher levels as he walked about a hitter every two innings last year. Hitters struggle against his assortment of pitches, flailing away at close to or below a .200 clip. Alex signed a $950,000 bonus with the Cardinals.
2. Victor Robles OF (Nationals) - The over the fence power has yet to show but many feel that is an eventuality. In two years in the States he has a career average of .334, hitting .370 in the rookie league before being promoted to a short season league and hitting .343, all at the tender young age of 18. His gazelle like speed allowed him to steal 24 bases in 29 attempts. He covers a lot of real estate in centerfield, but has the arm to also play right field. The year ended with an impressive 18/33 walk to whiff ratio. Once his power arrives this could be a player to watch. The Nationals were able to acquire him for only a $225,000 bonus payment.
3. Reynaldo Lopez RHP (Nationals) - Pitching at High A was a little more of a challenge for Reynaldo. In 2014 he dominated at the lower levels with an ERA of close to 1.00. While his strikeout rate rose last year his ERA also ballooned by almost three runs to 4.09. He gave up four more homeruns than last year and the opposition average increased by more than 100 points. The fastball still touches triple digits, sitting in the mid-90s and his curve ball is a swing and miss pitch. An improvement in location and the mix of his pitches should improve his 2016 season, getting him to AA. The Nationals signed Reynaldo to the bargain based price of $17,000.
4. Manuel Margot OF (Padres) - The Red Sox included Margot in the trade for Craig Kimbrel. The Padres are stocked in the outfield, but none of those players covers centerfield like Margot. Making contact and speed is his game with enough power to slice the gaps. If he is forced to move to the corner his bat may not profile well for the position. Last year he hit over .275 at two levels, peaking at AA. His ability to make consistent contact could see those averages rise as he learns to control the bat. Last year he stole 39 bases making him a prime candidate for the Padres leadoff role as early as 2017. The Red Sox signed Margot for a bonus of $800,000.
5. Amed Rosario SS (Mets) - Amed is not as flashy as some of the American League Dominican shortstops. The Mets signed him $1.75 million in 2012 and wait patiently for him to learn his craft. With the signing of Asdrubal Cabrera as their shortstop the Mets can show some patience with Amed. His defense is probably better than what the Mets can produce at shortstop now, but his bat still needs a lot of work. As he matures he could develop more power, but it will be a challenge for him to reach double digits in homeruns. He is destined for AA in 2016 after hitting only .100 there in a brief 10 at bat trial. There is some speed in his legs but they are not used to steal bases, stealing only 13 last year in 17 attempts. If the power fails to develop he could fit comfortably in the number eight hole, providing good defense to prevent runs from scoring rather than driving them in.
6. Wilmer Difo SS/2B (Nationals) - Myworld believes he would make a better shortstop than Trea Turner. From what we have seen his arm is stronger. Wilmer made his major league debut this year, playing in short bursts and hitting to the tune of .182 in 11 at bats. Once he makes it to the major leagues he has the potential to hit over .300. His fielding percentage at shortstop was close to 50 points higher than Turner but one of them must move to second. With the signing of Brendan Ryan, Stephen Drew and Dan Murphy the Nationals appear to have a lot of veteran options in the middle infield area. Difo may have to wait for next season to make an impact with the Nationals.
7. Eloy Jimenez OF (Cubs) - The Cubs outfield is a bit crowded for the bonus baby who signed for $2.8 million as the number one international free agent in 2013. Next year Eloy should see a first season in a full season league. The last two years he has displayed his skills in the short season leagues weaving together an OPS of .702. This was all done as a 19 year old. No current Cub minor leaguer can claim the power that exists in his bat. His speed fits best in a corner outfield position, with enough arm to play right field.
8. Jeimer Candelario 3B (Cubs) - Jeimer signed for $500,000 in 2010 and it has taken him awhile to climb up the minor league ladder. His batting average has also increased with each level he has risen, climbing to .291 at AA Tennessee. Kris Bryant will have to move to the outfield if Jeimer wants a major league opportunity with the Cubs. He may not develop the power to profile at third base and he will certainly not supplant Bryant at the hot corner. His power is restricted to the gaps with 35 doubles last year. At this point he may be a better defensive option at third than Bryant, but his bat is not close to reaching his power production.
9. Francellis Montas RHP (Dodgers) - The Dodgers acquired Montas in the trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. His fastball can touch triple digits, but sits in the higher 90s. Last year he made his major league debut with the White Sox striking out 12 hitters per nine innings, a better rate than he has achieved in the minor leagues. Poor command and weak secondary pitches may leave him in the bullpen. Conditioning is another area he needs to work on as his body is a little doughy. Expect him to compete for a job in the Dodgers bullpen.
10. Raimal Tapia OF (Rockies) - Another career .300 hitter in the minor leagues with the speed to play centerfield and the arm to play right. Last year he hit a career high 12 homeruns so the power could eventually develop to make him a five tool player. His stolen base totals of 97 in a three year period are evidence of his speed, but he has also been caught 54 times showing he still needs a lot of work on his game. His career average is .314 but that comes with a poor 24/105 walk to whiff ratio in High A last year. This could drop as he rises up the minor league ladder with pitchers taking advantage of his weak points.
Top Dominican Prospects 2015