Top Dominican Prospects - National League

Myworld arrived in Norfolk to watch a baseball game and see a bit of Norfolk.  It has been raining all day so we spend the day in a new city stuck inside a hotel room.  This gives us an opportunity to write about the top Dominican prospects in the National League.  The rain has stopped, the ground is wet.  Only two hours until game time.

1. Oscar Tavares OF (St. Louis Cardinals) - He was born in the Dominican Republic but lived in Montreal, Canada for a number of years.  This gives him the opportunity to be on top of two prospect lists, the Canadian and the Dominican Republic.  Don’t be surprised if he plays for the Canadian WBC team in 2017.  He is considered the best hitter in baseball, though his bat is more conducive for batting titles than homerun titles.  Defensively he is a better fit in right field than center, but he lacks the cannon for an arm like many rightfielders.  Myworld saw a lot of him in spring training, but we failed to see him impress with the bat.  We were not convinced of the hype but it was a small snap shot in time.

2. Carlos Martinez RHP (St. Louis Cardinals) - His arrival to spring training was delayed by a visa issue.  He has already had one incident where he had to change his name from Carlos Matias to Carlos Martinez.  He stands only 6′0″ but he is one of the Cardinals hardest throwers on a roster filled with hard throwers.  His fastball lights the radar guns in the high 90s and his curveball has tremendous break.  He could turn into a Pedro Martinez type of starter or his physical limitations could move him to the bullpen as a closer.  He has yet to throw over 104 innings in a season, so time will tell if his small frame will limit the number of innings he can pitch in a year.

3. Rymer Liriano OF (San Diego Padres) - The Padres had expectations a good spring would allow him to fill their right field job this year.  They will have to wait until next year to achieve those expectations due to an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery putting an end to his 2013 season.  Rymer adds the potential for power to his speed to give you a five tool player.  He has yet to hit over 12 homeruns in a season, but he has 97 stolen bases in the last two years.  The power should come, the speed may decrease as he fills out.  His speed allows him to play center field and a strong arm makes a shift to right a possibility.  He still needs to work on improving his patience at the plate.

4. Gregory Polanco OF (Pittsburgh Pirates) - Polanco had a breakout 2012 season where he hit .325 with 16 homeruns in his first exposure to full season ball.  He also stole 40 bases in 55 attempts.  He only signed for $175,000 as an international free agent and in his first couple years could not hit better than .267.  Gregory is also a five tool talent, but one who makes contact and shows good patience at the plate, drawing 44 walks for a .388 OBA last year.  Next year will be a big year to prove 2012 was not a fluke.

5. Marcell Ozuna OF (Miami Marlins) - Marcel is one of those all or nothing players.  He swings hard and can hit it a mile, or have it settle in the catchers mitt for strike three.  He has struck out 237 times in his last two years, but he has also slugged 47 homeruns.  He hasn’t shown the motivation to steal a lot of bases, despite an impressive 25 for 30 success rate over the last two years.  With a cannon for an arm, his ideal position is right field, though he has the speed to play center.  He will be playing AA next year.  With a decimated Marlin’s roster he is not too far down in the depth chart to wait long if the Marlins need major league help in their outfield.

6. Alen Hanson SS (Pittsburgh Pirates) - A teammate of Greg Polanco, he also had a breakout year last year.  One position the Pirates are lacking for their major league roster is shortstop.  Alen has all the defensive chops for the position except for a strong arm.  That may play better at second.  His bat is certainly not an issue with a .309/16/62 slash line.  Last year Alen got the triple/double, smashing 33 doubles, racing for 13 triples and depsiting 16 balls over the fence for homeruns.  He was also 35 for 44 in stolen bases.

7. Wily Peralta RHP (Dominican Republic) - Wily has had many opportunities to make the Brewers starting rotation.  This should be the first time he will get enough starts to knock him off the prospect list.  Willy has a mid-90s fastball, but is more comfortable in the low 90s.  His big strikeout pitch is his slider.  Last year he made his major league debut, getting six starts for a 2.48 ERA.  As with most pitchers who face major leaguers for the first time, his strike rate decreased to a career low 7.1 strikeouts peer nine innings

8. Daniel Corcino RHP (Cincinnati Reds) - The Reds have a surplus of pitching with Robert Stephenson and Tony Cingrani ahead of Corcino.  Dan is a small righthander, standing just 5′11″ but his fastball can hit the mid-90s.  He also has a slider that can be a strikeout pitch and a developing change.  Last year Daniel skipped High A, starting in AA and aqcuitted himself well.  In 26 starts he was 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA.  Corcino is a couple levels ahead of Stephenson, so if the Reds need a pitcher to fill their starting rotation Corcino will get the call ahead of Stephenson.

9. Luis Mateo RHP (New York Mets) - The Mets have a number of Dominican pitchers in their minor league system in Rafael Montero, Jeurys Familia, Domingo Tapia and Hansel Robles.  Mateo seems to have the more consistent stuff.  In the two years with the Mets opponents have hit him at a .202 clip.  His fastball glides to the plate between 92-97 and his slider is considered to be his best pitch.  The Mets only signed him for $150,000.  He should get his first season in full season ball and is a couple years away from making the Mets roster.

10. Arodys Vizcaino RHP (Chicago Cubs) - He’s bounced around from the Yankees to the Braves and now to the Cubs.  A balky elbow make general managers worry about his durability.  Dynamite stuff make other general managers want to acquire him.  He already has had some success pitching in the major leagues, getting 17 appearances in 2011 before missing the 2012 season because of Tommy John surgery.  He has that small 6′0″ frame, but can hit the mid-90s with his fastball.  Time will tell if the surgery will slow down that velocity.  His curveball has good break, sometimes making him overly dependent on it during games.  He’ll miss the first part of the early 2013 season, pitch some rehab and if he has success may see some time in the Cub bullpen for the summer.

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