Thanks to the marvel of the internet and the eagle-eye of one Tom Tango, I became away of Dominican beisbol stats today! Via the appropriately named site Beisbol Data, we can put the old “you can’t walk off the island” adage through its paces.
With high profile players like Yoenis Cespedes currently plying their trade in the Dominican League and more and more people seeking non-traditional remedies for their winter baseball fix, the focus on winter league action figures to grow from “none” to “some.” By looking at some of the numbers, we can gain a tiny bit of perspective before declaring players like Cespedes a bust.
The Dominican League features many big league players and familiar names including (but not limited to!): the aforementioned Cespedes, White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza, Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks, Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, Mariners infield prospect Carlos Triunfel, and excellent Angels infielder (coming off a 4 fWAR season) Erick Aybar. Oh! Getting Blanked favorite Wily Mo Pena, too.
The most stunning thing when looking at this tiny sample of early season numbers is, wow, runs are hard to come by. The four-team league is just 19 games into it schedule yet the league average OPS is .659. League-average FIP is a slight 3.43. It’s like the National League West in so many ways!
It turns out that you can, in fact, walk off the island. The league-wide walk rate is a robust 8.3% against a 17.9% K rate. In this tiny sample that means marginally more walks and fewer Ks than the big leagues in 2011.
We could comb through these numbers and point out tiny oddities (Ronny Paulinio with a .900 OPS and 3 home runs) but mostly it is a chance to focus on poor, poor Miguel Tejada. Whether he`s trying to play himself back into a big league job or he just loves playing baseball, he isn’t doing it very well this winter.
Through 60 plate appearances, poor Miggy owns a meagre .426 OPS. He has zero walks and one sacrifice fly. His batting average is higher than his on base! That ain’t good.
rays fans can take heart from some of the numbers on the pitching side. Fernando Rodney has nine strikeouts in seven innings pitched, allowing just three base runners in that time. Friedman, Inc have done it again!
On the other side of that coin: Edinson Volquez and Francisco Liriano. Two big league pitchers not enjoying their time on Hispaniola. Volquez owns a tidy 6.20 FIP powered by the eight walks allowed in 9 2/3 innings. Over five (early season and thus short) starts! That bodes well for his future!
Liriano, on the other hand, has just seven innings pitched in four starts, so he’s killing it just as hard. Nine runs allowed on four walks looks bad but he is at least keeping the ball in the park. His 2.81 FIP suggests all is not lost for the Twins starter.
Go ahead and poke around the site a bit, there is a good time waiting. It will be interesting to monitor these numbers are the winter rolls on and players get that much closer to game shape.