On September 9th, 2015, the Dominican League held its draft for the upcoming season, selecting several Blue Jays prospects. There are 6 teams filled with prospects that have reached full season ball, for the Jays prospects that means Low-A Lansing Lugnuts and higher.
All Blue Jays prospects selected played for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2015 and many are originally from the Dominican Republic.
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Let’s start with last year’s champs, Gigantes del Cibao, who selected SSRichard Urena
in the 1st round. The talented infielder started the season with the Lansing Lugnuts, helping them secure a playoff spot with 15 home runs and a .266 average. Urena saw some time with the Adanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays, struggling a little in the FSL before returning to the Lugnuts. With the D-Jays, Richard hit .250, but saw his power decrease to .065 ISO from .172 ISO with the Lugnuts.
The champs also took former Blue Jays prospect LHP Jairo Labourt, who was one of the left-handed pitchers sen to Detroit in the David Price trade. Entering the 2014 season, Labourt had been ranked the number 13 prospect in the Jays system but struggled to a 4.59 ERA with Dunedin before joining High-A Lakeland in the Tigers system.
Last season’s runner-up, Estrellas Orientales, selected Lugnuts closer Jose Fernandez who converted 12-of-13 saves in 2015. Signed in 2012, the left-handed reliever threw 51.2IP this year and finished with 1-2 record, 3.31 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 3.05 FIP.
Escogido, 2014’s last place team with 17 wins and 33 losses, selected Lansing’s OF Josh Almonte in the 11th round. The 21-year-old from New York is an intriguing package, who struggled early with plate discipline. Almonte didn’t draw a walk until game 34. He did show a better approach in July and August; Ultimately, finishing the year with 10 (3.7 BB%).
Tigres de Licey, who finshes second last in the league last season with a record of 19-31, selected two Blue Jays catchers in rounds 12 and 14.Michael De La Cruz
appeared in 65 games with the Lugnuts, seeing full-time at-bats in July and August. As a part-time catcher, De La Cruz struggled to hit .150, but as a starter he hit .309 and .328.
Kelly, 21-year-old native of Dominican Republic, split time between Vancouver Canadians and Lansing. In 17 games with the Lugnuts,Juan Kelly
hit .286 with 3 home runs (.254 ISO) and 8/15 BB/K.
Toros del Este (24-26) and Aguilas Cibaenas (30-20) did not select any Blue Jays prospects.
Check in often for updates on how these young men fair over the winter months.