Which Dominican Summer League players are most likely to make their Arizona Rookie Ball debuts for the AZL Giants in 2015? Here's a list of the top six:
1. Deiyerbert Bolivar
Bolivar is a 5'11", 155-pound Venezuelan left-hander signed by San Francisco in 2013 as a 17-year-old. He didn't log his first action until last season when he pitched 64 innings in the Dominican Summer League. Among guys who pitched more than 60 innings, Bolivar's 1.27 ERA was second best and his 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings were fifth best. Though his 3.35 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't eye-popping, it's worth noting that in Keury Mella's only season in the DSL, the right-hander recorded a similar SO/9 number (9.7) but owned a strikeout-to-walk ratio below three (2.68). Mella was also 18 in his first and only DSL year, and he was promoted to the Arizona Rookie League the following season. Hitters averaged just .192 off Bolivar in the Dominican Republic, including only six extra-base hits in 15 appearances. I think he'll be this year's Michael Santos in Arizona, putting him on track to make his full-season debut in 2016 in Augusta.
2. Jean Angomas
Angomas has two years of DSL ball under his belt. Both seasons are practically identical aside from the left-handed hitting outfielder logging 42 more plate appearances in 2014 and raising his batting average 12 points. He did not clear the fence in 393 at-bats over the two years, but then again who does in the DSL? The leading slugger hit only 8 in 2014, which came in 290 plate appearances. The 6'0", 170-pound native of La Romana, Dominican Republic is sure to be in minor league camp this year and should get a full season of playing time with the AZL team. One reason to be high on this guy? A reader who will go unnamed did some remarkably detailed research into Angomas's 2014 stats and determined that he is highly-skilled in high-leverage situations. The plethora of information he provided me went so far over my head, but the moral of this story is: Jean Angomas is the worth paying attention to over the next few years.
3. Julio Benitez
Benitez piggy-backed almost every game Deiyerbert Bolivar pitched last year. So though the 20-year-old Dominican in his first professional year logged starter-type innings, he technically did not record a start in all of 2014. Benitez is 6'3", 185 pounds, and kept both right-handed and left-handed hitters to an opposing batting average around .175, amounting to just 26 hits in 43 innings. His strikeout numbers were slightly below Bolivar's at 8.8 per nine innings, and with just four earned runs allowed over those 43 innings, Benitez's ERA was a staggeringly low 0.84.