Blue Jays: Players who impressed in the 2021 Dominican Summer League

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JUNE 29: Baseballs in a pile on the field before the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners at Sahlen Field on June 29, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JUNE 29: Baseballs in a pile on the field before the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners at Sahlen Field on June 29, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays possessed one of the top farm systems coming into the 2021 campaign but after trading Simeon Woods-Richardson, Riley Adams, and Austin Martin at the trade deadline, the organization’s farm system ranking dropped to 14th in the league. The Jays do have one of the top catching prospects across the league in Gabriel Moreno and also saw multiple prospects advance to the big league roster last season in Alek Manoah and Alejandro Kirk (full-time basis after his 2020 cup of coffee), which also impacted the farm system rankings.

For the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, their season didn’t begin until mid-July and there was no postseason but the club performed pretty well, finishing first in the DSL Baseball City division with a 38-19 record, the best numbers across the entire league. While these players are still years away from potentially knocking on the Major League doors, there are some prospects who are starting to gain some attention and could be moving up the farm system in the very near future.

Here are some players from the DSL Blue Jays who stood out in the 2021 campaign.

Francisco Fajardo – 2B

Leading the DSL Blue Jays with his .918 OPS, the switch-hitting infielder is one of the older players on the roster at 21 years old and is in his second season with the club. Fajardo posted a .957 fielding percentage at second base while also posting a team-high .365/.445/.473 slash line along with 1 home run and 15 RBI through 51 games with 30 stolen bases on the year, the most on the team and fourth in the league.

Manuel Beltre – SS

One of the top international signings for the Blue jays this past signing period, Manuel Beltre was one of the youngest players on the squad but played in the most games on the team (53). Beltre would finish the season with a .225/.391/.346 with a .737 OPS through 182 at-bats. The righty batter walked more than he struck out (42 vs. 33) and finished the year with three triples and two home runs on his way to a 29 RBI. Look for Beltre to most likely return to the DSL next year.

Endri Garcia – LF

Finishing behind Fajardo with his .315/.419/.444 and .862 OPS, left fielder Endri Garcia had a pretty impressive campaign with the DSL Blue Jays. He also belted two home runs on his way to 23 RBI while also posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

With the offseason now in full swing, we take a look back at some of the Blue Jays prospects who impressed down in the Dominican Summer League.

Cristian Feliz – 1B

Lefty-batter Cristian Feliz finished the year third on the club with his .810 OPS but led the Blue Jays with four home runs through 151 at-bats. Feliz finished the year with a .975 fielding percentage at first base with four errors and also tied Yeuni Munoz for the most RBI on the season (30).

Darwin Cruz – RHP

Making 12 starts on the year, right-hander Darwin Cruz led all Blue Jays starters with his 2.22 ERA. Cruz posted a 1.23 WHIP with 46 strikeouts and walked 15 batters through 52.2 innings. He did get hit around to the tune of a .249 batting average but was able to limit the damage to 13 earned runs while also posting a 3-1 record.

Keiner Leon – RHP

Relief pitcher Keiner Leon led the team in appearances (19) and finished with a 2.60 ERA through 34.2 innings. Leon also earned one save through three opportunities and would finish with 39 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP with a 10.13 K/9. The right-hander also led the club with seven wins and recorded only one loss while giving up 10 earned runs.

Sergio Caruci – RHP

Being used as both a starter and a reliever, Sergio Caruci appeared in 16 games last season (ten starts) and finished with a 2.84 ERA through 50.2 innings pitched. The right-hander posted one of the best WHIP’s on the team at 1.05 and also recorded the most strikeouts on the team with 61. Caruci started the campaign in the bullpen but moved to the rotation and continued to pitch well, holding opposing batters to a .203 average on the year.

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Eliander Alcalde – RHP

Eliander Alcalde started the most games for the club (13) and also pitched the most innings at 61.1, amassing 60 strikeouts with a 1.22 WHIP while also holding opponents to a .205 batting average. The right-hander did struggle with his command to the tune of 32 free passes and a 4.70 BB/9 but was able to limit the damage to just 20 earned runs.