The Dominican Summer League season ended today with the final game getting rained out. Once the season ends there, then they hand out the invitations to the Fall Instructional League at Pirates City, which begins in approximately three weeks. That schedule hasn’t been released yet, but the invites were announced today and it is a very large group.
Usually we see 10-12 players get invites each year. That group is usually a very good representation of the players who will make the jump to the U.S. the following season. If that holds true next year, then minor league Spring Training at Pirate City in 2018 is going to be packed, because 22 of the 36 players on the DSL Pirates right now got invites to the instructional league.
The big names in the group are third baseman Sherten Apostel, catcher Samuel Inoa, outfielder Jean Eusebio and shortstop Francisco Acuna. You also have the top 11 pitchers in innings pitched for the team.
Apostel led the team in homers with nine, finishing tied for second in the league. His .917 OPS was the eighth best in the league. The 18-year-old from Curacao was signed for $200,000 in 2015. He’s 6’4″, 213 pounds and has a very strong arm at third base, though his overall defense needs work.
Inoa put up strong stats when he was healthy, but that was just half of the season for the 18-year-old catcher. He had a .921 OPS before his season was ended back on August 1st due to a hand injury. Earlier in the season, he missed ten days after being hit in the face with a pitch. He was limited to 34 games.
Eusebio didn’t put up great numbers, other than a high walk total and 13-for-15 in steals. He just turned 17 last week, so he was one of the youngest players in the entire 40-team league. He is a very toolsy center fielder, who received a $550,000 bonus this February.
Acuna was making noise before he ever played his first pro game. He was part of our winter league coverage this off-season, playing shortstop and hitting lead-off in the Colombian winter league at 16 years old. He didn’t hit for average this DSL season, but he walked 53 times and went 19-for-22 in steals.
One other player is making a trip over earlier, due to an unfortunate situation. Larry Alcime got a fall invite, but he also got hit in the face with a pitch on Thursday and spent the night in the hospital. He is flying into Pittsburgh tomorrow to have it checked out.
Here is the full list of invites. More on some of these players tomorrow.
Saul de la Cruz
Francis Del Orbe