Dominican Winter Wonders to Watch in 2017

Below are some of the players to watch in the Dominican Republic winter leagues. They are either highly considered prospects or veterans having a good winter that they hope will bring some attention to them when they enter spring training in 2017.

Rafael Bautista (Nationals/Escojido) CF - He will not hit for a lot of power but if he can hit for average with his speed and defense he could win the starting job in centerfield for the Nationals, moving Trea Turner to second or shortstop. With Leones he is hitting .314 with eight stolen bases in ten attempts. That could get him some playing time for the Nationals.

Manuel Margot (Padres/Toros) CF - Margot has some pop to go with his speed. A good winter could give the Padres a tough choice between him and Travis Jankowski for the centerfield starting job. In the Dominican he is hitting .263 with two homeruns and eight stolen bases in 9 attempts. He could fit in the three hole if he shows double digit pop or the leadoff spot if he can improve his patience at the plate. In a brief major league callup he did not walk once in his 37 at bats.

Dylan Cozens (Phillies/Aguilas) RF - Last year Cozens hit 40 homeruns to lead the Eastern League. It is not easy hitting homeruns in the Dominican, but his four lead the Dominican league. Unfortunately, the more experienced pitchers are finding the holes in his swing resulting in 32 strikeouts in 85 at bats for a .165 average. They are passionate about their game in the Dominican and Dylan will have to be more consistent if he hopes to stay on the roster. He is 0 for his last 13 but appears to have gone home for the winter, his last game on the 21st.

Rhys Hoskins (Phillies/Gigantes) 1B - They are playing for different teams in the Dominican but Rhys and Dylan hope to both be playing for the Phillies by September 2017. Rhys is tied with Dylan for the Dominican homerun lead. Last year his 38 homeruns were second in the Eastern League to his teammate Dylan. He is making better contact than Dylan with just 14 whiffs in 76 at bats but his .224 average is still disappointing. He is 0 for his last 14 and may be home for the winter, his last game on the 22nd.

Willy Adames (Rays/Licey) SS - Willy has struggled early this season with a .167 average. Of his five hits none have gone for extra bases. He has the tools to play shortstop and showed a potent bat in AA last year. The 30 at bats are a small sample size but they could be indicators that he needs another year in the minor leagues before he takes over the Rays shortstop job.

Alec Asher (Phillies/Gigantes) RHP - He made a nice end of the season debut with the Phillies with a 2.28 ERA in five starts. He is achieving the same amount of success with a 2.14 ERA in eight starts for the Gigantes. Right handed hitters are batting only .145 against him. Myworld expects his last start was on the 27th, his worst start of the winter when he coughed up three runs in four innings.

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