Wednesday night the Dominican Winter League held their annual draft. There are six teams in the league. To be eligible for the draft a player must be Dominican or “have Dominican origins”. They also must have been on a full-season roster or higher by August 1st of this past season. That meant that five Cincinnati Reds prospects were eligible to be selected. Four of them were.

Carlos Jorge was the 4th player taken in the draft. The Reds 9th rated prospect was selected by the Gigantes del Cibao with their 1st round pick. Spending most of his season in Single-A Daytona before the final month in High-A Dayton, Jorge hit .282/.374/.464 with 32 stolen bases, 14 doubles, 10 triples, and 12 home runs in 109 games played. In the second half of the season the Reds asked Jorge to spend some time in center field while also playing second base – as he had earlier in the year.

Outfielder Hector Rodriguez went a few picks later. He was selected by the Leones del Escogido in the 2nd round. Like Jorge, Rodriguez spent much of his year with the Tortugas in Single-A Daytona, but saw a late-season promotion to High-A Dayton. In his 115 games between the two stops he hit .293/.343/.495 with 18 steals, 25 doubles, 10 triples, and 16 home runs.

Infielder Victor Acosta was selected by Estrellas Orientales in the 10th round. His 2023 season was spent with Single-A Daytona. He missed the final few weeks of the season due to injury. Acosta played nearly half of the season as an 18-year-old and held his own for the Tortugas. In 100 games he hit .251/.364/.355 with 12 steals, 20 doubles, 5 triples, and 2 home runs.

Two rounds later it was Ariel Almonte that was selected. The Toros del Este drafted the outfielder in the 12th round. Like Acosta, Almonte spent his entire season with Daytona in the Florida. He played in 97 games and hit .203/.298/.299 with 15 doubles, a triple, and five home runs.

8 Responses

  1. Doc

    If I recall correctly, college baseball was compared to A or A+ for level of competition in earlier posts by Doug. Two questions:

    1. To what level is the Dominican Winter League comparable? If also A or A+, then reds drafted players are at a comparable level. If higher, is that risky for the young players, bringing them in at a level that is too high?

    2. Lowder gets a lot of comments as part of the 2024 mix of SP. If college ball is A to A+, and granting that Lowder and Floyd were exceptional college pitchers, why do so many think they could make the jump from effectively A/A+ to MLB in 2024 with less than a full season of minor league ball? Lodolo would be our latest exhibit, and we have an entire list of SP who have gotten a taste of MLB pitching this year after more than a year in the minors. Abbott and Williamson have been good, but would they have been this good if promotion had come after 1 year in Daytona or Dayton?

    • Michael

      Doc I feel like the part leading into the questions was off. My memory from past questions to Doug about this is that even the best SEC teams are still not as good as an A ball team because half the roster will never play professionally or something along those lines.

      • Doc

        Granted. I apparently didn’t recall correctly. It’s worse than I remembered. Thanks for the correction.

        So, that makes my second question even stronger. Why do people think that Lowder is a potential 2024 rotation piece if the highest he has pitched, excelled at even, is at a level that is not even A equivalent?

      • Doug Gray

        Doc I think it’s the fact that Lowder, and other 1st round picks out of college – while they are playing at such a level of competition – are not at the same level of talent as their competition.

        There are certainly things that they’ll need to learn when facing more advanced competition, but they aren’t on par with say – the guy playing left field on their college team in terms of ability/readiness.

    • MK

      Years ago, I read a book by Cal Ripken Sr. who recommended anyone drafted with the potential to succeed to sign rather than play college ball because going to even the best college program is like playing three years of Rookie ball and those that signed were far ahead in development and big money.

      • Doug Gray

        I think things have changed a little bit here since that time. Some colleges, in particular for pitchers, have way better development programs than *some* professional teams (looking at you, Rockies). You don’t get to pick the professional team that takes you, but you can pick the college you get to attend.

        With that said, in like 90% of cases, I’d advise anyone drafted in the first few rounds to sign with a pro team over going to college if you want baseball to be your profession. Plus there’s that whole opportunity cost, too. That money may not be there in the future if you get hurt, performance declines, etc. Sure, you could improve your lot – but today the first few rounds certainly give a guy life-changing money.

    • Doug Gray

      So in a weekend series, the best teams in college could probably hang with an A-ball team. But if they had to play a full series they’d get clobbered. They simply don’t have the kind of pitching depth at all to handle 5-6 games a week.

      The talent level in the Dominican Winter League is kind of wide. It gets stronger as the season progresses, but even still you will have guys anywhere from Low-A to the big leagues in the same game.

      I’d say the DWL is probably around that Double-A level, but that’s on the whole. Some nights you’re going to see better. Some you will see worse.

  2. JB

    Doc – great questions here by you. I guess I never really looked at it the way you presented it.
    Doug- great feedback on Docs questions. That really opens my eyes and looks at college and pro’s differently. You are right on signing a pro contract when looking at it the way you described it. Excellent work here in the comments.