Since the last update, the DSL Indians have returned to their normal spot of second to last in the Dominican Summer League North, ahead of only their sibling team, the Indians/Brewers. There are some positives as a team, however, as they remain near .500 despite losing five of their last seven and have maintained a better record than 12 other DSL teams. Unfortunately for their play-off chances, 11 of those teams play in other divisions.
Of utmost importance this week is a long overdue look at Alexfri Planez. On August 17th, Planez will turn 17. He already has 17 doubles, three triples and six home runs in a professional league. When the average American baseball player is either finding out he can’t hack it on his high school team or still messing around in travel ball, Planez is decimating pitchers that range between a year and four years older than he is.
Planez began the year in extended spring training, but players are not allowed to play in the Arizona League until they turn 17, so he has been working out in the Dominican. There, he has posted a .281/.317/.470 line and currently has hits in 13 of his last 15 games including eight multi-hit games. This is a child and he is embarrassing grown men. While it’s likely the Indians will wait until instructional league to bring up Planez, I’d love to see him promoted the instant he turns 17 just to see what he could do against high school graduates.
Speaking of old men, the 17 year old Colombian born outfielder, Daniel Aguilar, has been playing very well of late. While he had a rough start to the season, Aguilar has been significantly better in August, hitting .321/.387/.393 through his first nine games this month. He’s split his time near evenly between all three outfield positions in his first pro season and had a rough go of it defensively and on the bases. It’s possible that this recent hot streak could be evidence of a breakthrough.
Cesar Idrogo is another 17 year old, although like Planez, he is Venezuelan. He hit a dip at the end of July, going 0 for 16 to end the month, but has returned to form since August 4th with two multi-hit games, two doubles, a home run, two walks and a steal. The steal may be the most curious part of Idrogo’s game as he’s now been safe in all seven of his attempts despite spending half his time as a catcher and half as a first baseman. While I’ve never seen him in person, 5’11” and 170 pounds doesn’t sound like a typical catcher or first baseman’s frame, so he could just be a speed player in a slow man’s position. If that’s the case, the Indians could treat him as they have Miguel Jerez and move him to a position more suitable for his talents.
Sergio Morillo didn’t spend much time with the DSL Indians after his sideways promotion earlier this year. After just 22 innings, he was fully promoted to Arizona where he joined his teammates from the Dominican, Jose Oca, Mike Garcia, Jerson Ramirez and Christophers Santana.
While such a loss of talent could kill a pitching staff, the DSL Indians have been maintaining with a pair of solid starters. Brauny Munoz has been solid so far this year with a 3.44 ERA in 52.1 innings, but his last start was his best of the season. The 17 year old rookie went six shut out innings against Tampa Bay 2 on August 9th, allowing just one single and four walks while striking out five. Luis C. Garcia would finish off the final three innings without allowing a base runner and striking out three for a one hit shut out in the 10-0 victory.
The unquestionable ace of the DSL Indians staff had also been continuing his successful run until he hit a roadblock in his last start. From July 5th through August 9th he allowed just two earned runs across 21.1 innings with 22 strike outs. In his last start, however, he gave up three runs in the first and four more in the second (6 earned overall) before being pulled after just 1.1 innings. He has had great control all season, but hit a batter and walked another without a strike out against DSL Pittsburgh 1.
It’s possible this was a bit of statistical regression after holding a 1.24 ERA and .194 average against coming into the game, or it’s possible he was rattled by the lack of control, a problem the Pirates took advantage of with runs scoring on a wild pitch and a steal of home. With only a couple weeks worth of games left, Hernandez should get about two more starts this season assuming he is healthy and we can see if something happened to Hernandez in his last start or if it was just one unlucky start.