A Look At Dominican Baseball

20 Nov
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Ugh!  I’m still very salted that I wrote basically this same article last week on vacation and accidentally deleted it.  That will teach me to not periodically hit the save button… Oh well… Let’s try this again….

So I’m in the Dominican Republic this week on my Honeymoon and I’ve been trying to get some baseball talk with the staff at my resort going.  They all seem to love the Yankees and Red Sox, which isn’t surprising at all, and when I first bring up baseball they all immediately mention Sammy Sosa since he was basically the best player to come from here (I don’t think that they knew about all that steroid hype that surrounded him like we did in the States).  I was hoping that I’d get a chance to see a game, but the TV coverage made me reconsider actually going, plus the hotel advised me against it.

The Dominican Winter Baseball League or Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana is a winter baseball league consisting of six baseball teams spread across the Dominican Republic; it is the top domestic baseball league in that country. The league’s players include many from Major League Baseball, and its champion plays each year in the Caribbean Series.

Each team plays a sixty-game schedule that begins the end of October and runs to the end of December.The top four teams engage in an 18 game round robin play-off the first three weeks of January;
the top two teams in those standings then play a best-of-nine series
for the national title. The league’s champion advances to the Caribbean Series to play against the champions of Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. 

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I thought it would be fun to list a bunch of past and present Phillies that came from the D.R. and then look at some of the other notable players that came from here, too.  Most of these guys are fairly recent, and a few will give you a laugh cause we’re glad they’re gone.

Antonio Alfonseca – Do you remember “The Octopus”?  Antonio is mostly remembered because of the extra finger he had on each hand.  In 2007 he helped the Phillies clinch the Division title for the first time in 15 years.  He ended his career in Philly with just one season and an ERA over 5, but I just had to put him on the list.

Antonio Bastardo – Bastardo will surely be a front runner in the competition for a spot on the Phillies 2011 bullpen.  Nothing is locked up yet, but the Phillies like Antonio’s pop.  He has a really great fastball and is able to get lefties out.  I’m hoping that he comes up big because I really like the guy.  He’s a badass little dude.

George Bell –  Speaking of the Rule 5 Draft here’s one that got away.  Bell never actually played for the Phillies, but he was drafted by them.  He went unprotected and was snatched up by the Blue Jays.  I mainly put him on the list cause I was shocked to see that he was from the D.R. I mean come on, he’s the only white dude on my list.  

Pedro Feliz – Great defense, terrible bat.  The Phillies looked to upgrade and they did.  Pedro is a fine player, but his unreliable bat was just not what the Phillies wanted in their lineup.  Pedro had a pretty forgettable season in 2010 splitting time with the Astros and the Cards and showing the lowest OPS of his career at .533.

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Pedro Martinez –  Let’s be serious, if you can about Pedro.  He’s probably one of the best pitchers that has ever played the game.  In his prime Pedro was totally untouchable.  8 All Star appearances, and three Cy Young Awards.  If I was able to give my vote for the best player to come from this island it would have to be Pedro.  His antics on and off the field were also down right hilarious.  In his 18 seasons as a Major League player Pedro has an ERA under 3… not bad for a guy that faced over 11,300 batters.  I’m not entirely sure that Pedro is done playing.  He took 2010 off from the Majors, but has hinted that he could still be available.  His 2009 campaign with the Phillies didn’t end the way that we had all hoped, but it was still quite impressive.  I hope that Pedro manages to find his way back to the Bigs for just one more year because he is just so fun to watch, and he’ll likely say some really stupid stuff.     

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Juan Samuel – Welcome back Juan!  Player to Coach, it’s nice to have the 3 time All Star back with the Phillies. Juan was previously with the Orioles as a base coach and interim Manager. I’m still very less then pleased that Davy Lopes was basically forced to walk away after so much success, but I try my best to say that I trust Ruben. Juan was a great player, so we’ll see what happens.  

Placido Polanco –  Polanco is just awesome.  He’s a career .300 hitter and phenomenal fielder.  I was just thrilled when the Phillies signed him last winter.  He’s a great addition to the top of our lineup.  Polly is from Santo Domingo and graduated from Santa Clara High School which is apparently just a few minutes from my resort.  Kinda cool.  

Abraham Nunez – I remember just two things about Abraham, he helped turn a long triple-play, and he would ground into a double-play basically every time he was at bat. 

Jose Mesa – Joe Table.  Your first stint with the Phillies was pretty good actually.  I appreciated the 80 some odd saves you got us in the early 2000’s, too bad we stunk so bad then that it didn’t really matter. In 2007 Jose was part of the team that got the Phillies their first NL East crown in 15 years, but it was a pretty down year for him.

Here are some other players that came from the Dominican Republic.  I think that in 10 years a couple of these guys could have better numbers then even Sammy Sosa.   Julio Franco and Manny are the only ones that have numbers that can rival Sammy, but with the rest we’ll see. 

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Julio Franco – Albert Pujols – Manny Ramirez – Pedro Martinez – David Ortiz – Jose Bautista – Jose Reyes – Hanley Ramirez – Felipe Alou – Adrian Beltre – Robinson Cano – Nelson Cruz- Edwin Encarnacion – Vladimir Guerrero – Christian Guzman – Ubaldo Jimenez – Juan Marichal – Carlos Pena – Aramis Ramirez – Alfonso Soriano – Juan Uribe – Jose Valverde – George Bell – Miguel Tejeda – Jhonny Peralta

Come over and join the discussion on my Facebook!
I’m now part of the PhilaPhans crew.  Four for four, Since 2002. 
I also Twitter if you do that sort of thing.

  

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