DSL Jays Update: Jairo Labourt, Gabriel Cenas, and Others
By Mat Germain
Now that the SS teams have had a little time to get going, I thought it would be important and fun to take a look at who’s doing what in the lower ends of the affiliates. I’ll kick it off with the Dominican Summer League (DSL), where some of the most recent International signings of Alex Anthopoulos are making some headway. You can read about most of the guys I am writing about here in our International Signings section. I will cover what I consider to be the most notable performances as follows:
LHP Jairo Labourt
Yes, that’s right, for some reason they’ve decided to add a “t” to his name. Signed for $350,000 earlier this year, Labourt is making quick work of the DSL. Well, actually, he’s making it look ridiculously easy. The 17-year old LHP has yet to allow an ER in 5 GS (17 IP), has only allowed 6 hits and 8 walks while striking out 16 (close to 1 per inning), and hitters have a measly .111 average against him. If he can keep this up, I really don’t see why the Jays wouldn’t have him finish 2011 in the GCL just to allow him to get his feet wet on U.S. soil. He’s definitely someone we’ll keep an eye on if that does happen, because as little stock as we put in DSL stats normally, these kind of stats don’t come around often for such a young Latin American pitcher.
3B Gabriel Cenas
The skinny (155 lbs) 3B signed to a $700,000 in 2010 is showing some early patience at the plate, working 8 walks while striking out only 7 times so far. That has allowed him to earn a .400 OBP, good for 3rd on the DSL Jays squad. However, he also has only managed 1 extra base hit, a double, and owns a terrible .262 SLG. I will also point out that Gabriel had a really rough start over his first 4 games, but has done a little better over his last 10. He has hit .281/.385/.313 over his last 10, showing that he may be getting comfortable at the plate. He still has a lot to get a lot more power in his swing to become viable at 3B, but his mature approach at the plate is encouraging for a young player.
OF Luis Martin
Signed for $350,000 in 2010, Luis is a big boy for a 17-year old, standing in at 6’4″ 210 lbs. Having said that, it’s about all that he has working for him so far in 2011 as he has managed 37 SO in only 85 ABs (43% rate), indicating just how aggressive, or ineffective, he has been at the plate. Overall, he has a .224 AVG and .305 OBP and has also posted a better OBP against RHP at .333 overall. He has 4 doubles so far and did manage to walk 9 times. With his impatient approach at the plate, it’s likely that Martin will repeat the DSL if things keep going this way for him this season.
SS Emilio Guerrero
This 18 year old leads the DSL Jays in doubles with 8 to his credit, and also has 8 fielding errors to match. At 6’4″ 180 lbs, it seems likely that he’ll move off the SS position at some point in his career. He has 10 BBs to go with 19 SOs, and also leads the DSL Jays in TB with 32. His .267/.359/.356 line is fairly decent for the DSL over his 90 ABs and it’ll be interesting to see when, or if, he makes the jump to the GCL since he’ll turn 19 this August.
C Kervin Santiago
As if the Jays needed another catching prospect worth monitoring in their system, Kervin brings us exactly that. The 18-year old leads the squad in OBP (.415), is second in OPS (.764), and has almost double the walks (7) to his stike outs (4). Like Gabriel, Kervin lacks a little power at the moment with only 1 double to show for his 43 ABs, but it’snice to see him hit at a steady pace (.326 on the season, .448 over his last 10 games) and being so patient at the plate. Kervin has 3 errors to his credit. At 5’11” 185 lbs, Kervin seems to have the frame to stick around behind the plate. How well he does when he jumps over to the U.S. will determine a lot of things for him, but his 2011 season is surely kicking off on the right foot.
OF Cesar Barazarte
This 18-year old Venezuelan played in the DSL for the Jays in 2010 and didn’t fare all that well (.193/.289/.246), so it’s nice to see that things have changed in 2011. So far, after 101 ABs, he has managed a much improved .248/.402/.297 line and is doing much better against RHP with a .288/.453/.342 line against them. He just simply cannot hit LHP. He has a decent 17 BB to 23 SO, and has 5 doubles on the season.
RP Ericdavis Marquez
This reliever was actually signed by the Pirates before heading to the Jays after 2 lackluster seasons with the VSL Pirates (6.26 ERA and .340 average against in 2010). The results so far with the DSL Jays? He has a 0.34 ERA in 26.1 IP, has allowed only 14 walks, and boast an impressive 2 BB to 26 Ks. Hitters have a .156 average against him and he also has 2 saves to his credit. The bad news? He’s 20 years old and still pitching in the DSL. I’ll wait until he moves on to the U.S. before getting excited at all about his performances, but his vast improvement from year-to-year is impressive.
RHP Luis Zerpa
After a successful 2010 as a DSL Jays pitcher at 17 years old, this 18 year old has improved some in 2011. He boasts a 2.51 ERA through 11 outings (28.2 IP), has walked 5 while striking out 19, and is allowing hitters average of .230 overall.
Those are the most noticeable performances from the DSL so far in 2011. The DSL team has a 10-22 record, which isn’t great, but it is also getting some reinforcements with all of the latest Jays signings. There should be 4 new additions to this squad very soon, and it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they can help reverse the fortunes of the squad.
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