La Liga de Béisbol Profesional de República Dominicana, the professional baseball league in the Dominican Republic, held its annual draft on Wednesday, and three Dodgers prospects were selected this time around.
In order to be eligible for the draft, the player needs to be Dominican-born or of Dominican ancestry, and they need to have reached full season ball by Aug. 1 of the prior season. In the case of the Dodgers, that means Low-A Rancho Cucamonga or higher. LIDOM does not have free agency; once a player is drafted, the selecting team has their rights unless they are traded or released.
As for the players who were selected, they are as follows:
LHRP Jose Hernandez, Tigres Del Licey (Licey Tigers)
The 24-year-old Hernandez was signed as an IFA by the Dodgers back in 2016, and the lefty has developed into a flame-throwing reliever. His fastball sits in the mid to upper 90s, and has hit triple digits on occasion:
While Hernandez’s arm is electric, his secondaries and command could both stand to improve, though they have taken modest steps forward as he ascended from High A to Double A.
1B/OF Imanol Vargas, Gigantes del Cibao (Cibao Giants)
Also 24 years old, Vargas has only played first base this season, though he was listed as an outfielder by his selecting club. He was signed by the Dodgers back in 2017, and he possesses some impressive raw power:
Vargas leads all qualified Midwest League batters in wRC+, OPS, and wOBA. If you’re curious why someone who is lighting up the stat sheet like this hasn’t been mentioned on prospect lists, it’s due to age — he is 1.8 years older than average for his current league, and his success comes at a cost, as he strikes out 30.9% of the time. The step up in competition could be a bit telling, one way or another.
1B/OF Yunior Garcia, Estrellas Orientales (Eastern Stars)
Speaking of raw power, Garcia, who turned 21 a little over a month ago, might have half a grade on the aforementioned Vargas:
Garcia was also signed by the Dodgers back in 2017, and he joined Vargas with Great Lakes after slashing .303/.383/.512, and posting a wRC+ of 130 with Rancho Cucamonga. The Midwest League has proven to be an exceptional challenge for the former Quake, as his wRC+ at the level is -24. Nevertheless, the exceptionally loud tools are there, and if it ever clicks, look out.
If you are interesting in watching the games to get that Winter baseball fix, there are a couple of options. First, you can go right to the source, and subscribe to LIDOM TV (prices for this season have not been posted, though if memory serves, it was $15 for the entire season last year). Another option is MLB has included them as part of their postseason package as recently as last year, so if you already go that route for playoff baseball viewing, it’s baked in.
As for why you should watch? Well, it’s a hell of a lot of fun:
MLB could use a little bit of this energy.
Feliz Viernes, gente (Happy Friday, folks).