Detroit Tigers’ prospects in Dominican instructional league: Full roster, evaluations

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Tigers prospect Roberto Campos figures he could be the next Jose Abreu. He aims to reach American League MVP status, just as his fellow Cuban did in the shortened 2020 season with a .317 batting average, 19 homers and 60 RBIs.

“One of these days,” Campos said, “I would like to be in the same spot.”

For now, Campos is getting tested for COVID-19 twice per week at the Tigers’ academy in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The 17-year-old outfielder — who defected from Cuba in 2016 and signed with Detroit in July 2019 for a $2.85 million bonus — calls this place home.

He is at the academy through Dec. 13 for the Dominican instructional league.

[ Roberto Campos is Detroit Tigers’ next big thing: ‘He’s a dream’ ]

It has been his first organized baseball activities since March, when the novel coronavirus dragged baseball to a screeching halt. It’s also his first structured activity with the Tigers.

“He’s looking very good,” Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield told the Free Press on Saturday. “He’s a big, strong guy that has plus tools. Center fielder that can run and throw, has a bat, has power and really drives the ball. There’s a lot to like there. Still very young. He’s a great looking young player.”

[ Detroit Tigers prospect Roberto Campos energized by family, hitting ]

There are 35 players at the Tigers’ Dominican instructional league, including 16 pitchers, four catchers, seven infielders and eight outfielders. Practice consumes most of their time, as pitchers focus on bullpen sessions, building arm strength and working on deliveries.

But this week, games are starting.

“You’re not going to go from zero to 100 in a week,” Littlefield said. “It’s almost, in some degree, like a spring training because there’s been all sorts of restrictions to being outside, activities, grouping, weight rooms, having people that can catch the pitchers, who can throw batting practice to the hitters.”

Campos, at 6-feet-3, 200 pounds, is ranked as the Tigers’ No. 20 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Roaming the academy’s outfield with him is 18-year-old Jose De La Cruz, the team’s No. 25 prospect. 

De La Cruz hit .307 with 11 homers in 56 games in 2019. Signed in July 2018 with a $1.85 million bonus, he played his first professional year in the Dominican Summer League. 

“Similar to how we saw him in the States in the instructional league in Lakeland (in October and November), he’s a real toolsy ballplayer,” Littlefield said. “Drives the ball. Just a great looking young guy that’s got a high ceiling.”

Inside the Detroit Tigers’ Dominican academy, there’s hope for the future ]

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Tour the Detroit Tigers’ Dominican Republic academy

Free Press sports writer Anthony Fenech tours the Detroit Tigers’ Dominican Republic academy in March 2020.

Shortstop Adinso Reyes is ranked as the No. 23 prospect. He was signed in July 2018 and picked up a $1.45 million bonus. He recorded a .331 batting average, seven home runs and 48 RBIs through 62 games in the Dominican Summer League.

Because Reyes projects to be a bat-first shortstop, Littlefield thinks the 19-year-old could become the most valuable international prospect of the current group.

“He’s doing a very nice job playing shortstop,” Littlefield said. “We had him in Lakeland for instructional league and wanted to get him some more action. He’s swinging the bat very well. And it’s nice to have a guy in a premium position like that at shortstop who has the potential with the bat that he does.”

DE LA CRUZ: Why Tigers’ prospect believes he can be Detroit’s Manny Ramirez

REYES: Here’s what Tigers prospect is working on after COVID-19 bout

SCOUTING: Tigers’ newest challenge: Scouting prospects in the age of COVID-19

And don’t forget about third baseman Pedro Martinez Jr., the son of Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. The elder Martinez was an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner and in 2004 a World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox. He finished his career with a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts.

The Tigers signed Martinez Jr. in September 2017, but the deal didn’t become official until he graduated from a private academy in May 2018. He got an $800,000 signing bonus and a $300,000 scholarship. 

“There definitely is (something there),” Littlefield said. “He’s a real good-looking kid. He has gotten bigger and stronger. A third baseman, he’s got a good arm and power potential. He’s a good-looking kid.”

[ Roger Clemens’ son Kody latest Detroit Tigers prospect with All-Star pedigree ]

Martinez Jr. hit .224 with one homer and 23 RBIs in 47 games in 2018 for the squad in the Dominican Summer League. In 2019, the 20-year-old hit .217 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 31 games as a member of the Gulf Coast League in Lakeland. He has 52 career strikeouts against 29 walks. 

“It’s one of the challenges that even as an evaluator you face when these guys are younger,” Littlefield said. “Most of these guys are signed kind of like high school ages. Often, they’re not as physically developed. And you get a lot of lanky players that are skinny in some ways. And you see them mature and they start eating better and strength training. Pedro is one of those that’s really got stronger and is maturing even though he’s still young.”

Here’s the complete Dominican instructional league roster, with information about each player, stats from the 2019 season and some additional comments from Littlefield:

Pitchers (16)

LHP Jorge Boyer

Age: 17

Vitals: 6-4, 118.

Bats/throws: Left/left.

Birthplace: Barlovento, Venezuela.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

RHP Jaison Brete

Age: 19.

Vitals: 6-1, 160.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Jan. 28, 2019.

RHP Ulices Campos

Age: 18.

Vitals: 5-10, 185.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Tamayo, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Feb. 18, 2020.

RHP Jesus Cruz

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-4, 215.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Moca, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Aug. 8, 2018.

2019 season: 5.60 ERA, 6 games (G), 6 games started (GS), 17⅔ innings pitched (IP), 13 hits (H), 14 runs (R), 11 earned runs (ER), 9 walks (BB), 16 strikeouts (K) in Dominican Summer League.

RHP Luis De Leon

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-0, 117.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Barahona, Dominican Republic.

Acquired: Nov. 23, 2018.

2019 season: 3.33 ERA, 10 G, 2 GS, 24⅓ IP, 27 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 5 BB, 15 K in Dominican Summer League.

What Littlefield said: “Showing good arm strength is Luis De Leon. He’s got a plus fastball. Been up to 96 (mph).”

RHP Jose Diaz

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-5, 222.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Nagua, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Nov. 29, 2017.

2019 season: 3.94 ERA, 21 G, 5 saves (SV), 8 save opportunities (SVO), 32 IP, 32 H, 20 R, 14 ER, 14 BB, 38 K in Dominican Summer League.

RHP Wilmer Fenelon

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-2, 211.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Sept. 30, 2017.

2019 season: 4.56 ERA, 14 G, 13 GS, 53⅓ IP, 51 H, 38 R, 27 ER, 37 BB, 61 K in Dominican Summer League (14 games) and Gulf Coast League (one game).

RHP Wilmer A. Fenelon

Age: 17.

Vitals: 6-3, 194.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

RHP Juan Herrera

Age: 19.

Vitals: 6-3, 200.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Higuerote, Venezuela.

Signed: Nov. 8, 2018.

2019 stats: 5.28 ERA, 11 G, 8 GS, 29 IP, 30 H, 22 R, 17 ER, 19 BB, 27 K in Dominican Summer League.

LHP Edgardo Ibarra

Age: 17.

Vitals: 6-0, 168.

Bats/throws: Left/left.

Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela. 

Signed: July 2, 2019.

RHP Williander Moreno

Age: 21.

Vitals: 6-0, 200.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Distrito Girardot, Venezuela. 

Signed: Jan. 12, 2018.

2019 season: 5.40 ERA, 7 G, 1 SV, 1 SVO, 8⅓ IP, 6 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 8 BB, 5 K in Gulf Coast League.

RHP Jose Peraza

Age: 19.

Vitals: 5-11, 164.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Maracay, Venezuela.

Signed: July 2, 2018.

2019 season: 4.35 ERA, 13 G, 6 GS, 31 IP, 33 H, 23 R, 15 ER, 25 BB, 23 K in Dominican Summer League.

RHP Erick Pinales

Age: 21.

Vitals: 6-2, 190.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Jan. 19, 2019.

2019 season: 5.53 ERA, 17 G, 8 GS, 42⅓ IP, 44 H, 33 R, 26 ER, 34 BB, 30 K in Dominican Summer League (16 games) and Gulf Coast League (one game).

What Littlefield said: “Pinales has thrown the ball well. He’s been in the States. He’s a little older (compared to others in the Dominican).”

RHP Juan Polanco

Age: 19.

Vitals: 6-1, 221.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 2, 2018.

2019 season: 6.08 ERA, 19 G, 2 GS, 1 SV, 3 SVO, 37 IP, 41 H, 30 R, 25 ER, 23 BB, 24 K in Dominican Summer League. 

RHP Hector Rodriguez

Age: 17.

Vitals: 5-11, 190.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Moca, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Feb. 15, 2020.

LHP Richard Terrero

Age: 23.

Vitals: 6-6, 254.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Sept. 3, 2016.

2019 season: 3.00 ERA, 6 G, 12 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 9 BB, 15 K in Gulf Coast League.

Catchers (4)

Daneurys De La Cruz

Age: 19.

Vitals: 5-11, 194.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Yamasa, Dominican Republic.

Signed: May 26, 2018.

2019 season: 34 games (G), 113 at-bats (AB), 32 hits (H), .283 average (AVG), 7 doubles (2B), 3 home runs (HR), 19 RBIs, 14 walks (BB), 37 strikeouts (K), .368 on-base percentage (OBP), .425 slugging percentage (SLG) in Dominican Summer League.

Pedro Garcia

Age: 18.

Vitals: 6-1, 196.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Carupano, Venezuela.

Signed: July 5, 2017.

2019 season: 51 G, 184 AB, 43 H, .234 AVG, 5 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 26 RBIs, 17 BB, 46 K, .297 OBP, .310 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

Ricardo Hurtado

Age: 17.

Vitals: 5-10, 180.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

Yoandy Rea

Age: 20.

Vitals: 5-11, 226.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela. 

Signed: Nov. 9, 2019.

2019 season: 35 G, 116 AB, 43 H, .371 AVG, 9 2B, 5 HR, 27 RBIs, 7 BB, 17 K, .422 OBP, .578 SLG in Gulf Coast League (29 games) and New York-Penn League (six games).

What Littlefield said: “Rea is an interesting guy. He’s been in the States. He’s got a nice-looking bat. He was in instructional league with us, too. He’s a nice-looking kid.”

Infielders (7)

SS Yoneiry Acevedo

Age: 19.

Vitals: 5-10, 175.

Bats/throws: Switch/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 3, 2017.

2019 season: 44 G, 157 AB, 40 H, .255 AVG, 3 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 18 RBIs, 21 BB, 28 K, .343 OBP, 312 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

2B Angel Cruz

Age: 19.

Vitals: 5-11, 175.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Fatino, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 2, 2018.

2019 season: 57 G, 225 AB, 58 H, .258 AVG, 14 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 22 BB, 42 K, .332 OBP, 351 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

What Littlefield said: “Cruz has been swinging the bat well.”

SS Raudy De Los Santos

Age: 17.

Vitals: 5-11, 155.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Haina, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

What Littlefield said: “De Los Santos looks good defensively.”

3B Pedro Martinez Jr.

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-2, 217.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic.

Signed: May 31, 2018.

2019 season: 31 G, 106 AB, 23 H, .217 AVG, 7 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 10 BB, 27 K, .297 OBP, .340 SLG in Gulf Coast League.

SS Adinso Reyes

Age: 19.

Vitals: 6-1, 195.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Puerto, Plata, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 2, 2018.

2019 season: 62 G, 242 AB, 80 H, .331 AVG, 20 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 14 BB, 51 K, .379 OBP, .508 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

SS Manuel Sequera

Age: 18.

Vitals: 6-1, 186.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

What Littlefield said: “Infielder Manuel Sequera is playing very well right now. He’s got a good arm, good defense. And a shortstop who looks like he’s going to have a real good bat. To have all those tools at shortstop is a real nice asset.”

2B Yoel Viloria

Age: 17.

Vitals: 5-10, 185.

Bats/throws: Switch/right.

Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

Outfielders (8)

Sebastian Bautista

Age: 17.

Vitals: 6-3, 215.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Sept. 6, 2019.

Lazaro Benitez

Age: 21.

Vitals: 5-10, 200.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Pinar del Rio, Cuba.

Signed: July 4, 2018.

2019 season: 61 G, 231 AB, 72 H, .312 AVG, 16 2B, 4 3B, 35 RBIs, 18 BB, 32 K, .360 OBP, .481 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

Roberto Campos

Age: 17.

Vitals: 6-3, 205.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Havana, Cuba.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

Esney Chacon

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-0, 186.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. 

Signed: July 4, 2016.

2019 season: 38 G, 151 AB, 28 H, .185 avg., 5 2B, 0 HR, 13 RBIs, 17 BB, 26 K, .263 OBP, .219 SLG in Gulf Coast League.

Jose De La Cruz

Age: 18.

Vitals: 6-0, 190.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Fatino, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 3, 2018.

2019 season: 56 G, 225 AB, 69 H, .307 AVG, 13 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 18 BB, 75 K, .375 OBP, .556 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

Iverson Leonardo

Age: 19.

Vitals: 6-0, 207.

Bats/throws: Left/left.

Birthplace: La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Signed: Sept. 1, 2017.

2019 season: 58 G, 198 AB, 66 H, .333 AVG, 15 2B, 11 3B, 3 HR, 39 RBIs, 30 BB, 44 K, .424 OBP, .566 SLG in Dominican Summer League.

What Littlefield said: “Iverson Leonardo is showing some good power and speed.”

Abelaldo Lopez

Age: 18.

Vitals: 6-1, 208.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 2, 2019.

What Littlefield said: “This is a strong kid with power and has got a plus arm.”

Jimmy Mojica

Age: 20.

Vitals: 6-0, 195.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Birthplace: Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic.

Signed: July 6, 2016.

2019 season: 39 G, 140 AB, 38 H, .271 AVG, 7 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 14 RBIs, 9 BB, 26 K, .323 OBP, .336 SLG in Gulf Coast League.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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