Elite prospect Rafael Devers and new 40 man roster player Marco Hernandez played in the Dominican Winter League this year. How did their seasons go?
The Red Sox have players from a wide variety of backgrounds in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Some players go back to their native country and get more game experience by playing for a month or two. The following players spent some time in the Dominican Republic during their Winter League season. Now that the season has completed, let’s take a look at how they did.
Some of the players will be starting the season at Triple A Pawtucket in 2016. Aneury Tavarez turned some heads last Winter in the Dominican posting a .944 OPS in 65 plate appearances. While his overall .715 OPS in his 2015 season isn’t spectacular, he posted an 1.188 OPS in 18 plate appearances in AAA last season. This year was another successful campaign in the Dominican for Tavarez who posted a .297/.350/.378 batting line, including .370/.393/.444 over his last ten contests. Tavarez hit only five homers this season but his ability to hit for average and get on base makes the 23 year old an intriguing prospect.
Another 2016 member of Pawtucket will be Marco Hernandez acquired from the Chicago Cubs when Theo Epstein took the Cubs President of Baseball Operations job, who was added to the 40 man roster last month. Hernandez had an outstanding season posting a .305/.330/.454 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015. The 23 year old shortstop may have run out of gas at the end of his season going zero for 11 over his last four games of the year. Hernandez posted a .257/.277/.340 batting line in the Dominican over 144 plate appearances.
Rafael Devers, the Red Sox second best prospect is probably two or three years away from the big leagues, but his potential is enormous. He is included on most of the team’s lists of untouchable prospect due to his hitting prowess and his age of 19. Devers already has 185 games of professional experience, posting an .823 OPS in that time. In his native Dominican this season, Devers was limited to 13 games and 43 plate appearances. He posted a .279/.340/.349 batting line in that limited action.
Roman Mendez was designated for assignment when the Red Sox signed outfielder Chris Young, but Mendez remains in the organization as he didn’t catch on with any other club. The hard-throwing right hander is in his second stint with the Red Sox organization after spending 2007-10 in the minors with the club. Mendez was traded to the Texas Rangers as part of the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade. Still just 25 years old, Mendez was picked up from Texas off waivers in September. He saw two innings of work allowing one run for the major league team. Though a victim of a roster crunch, the Red Sox may be able to bring Mendez back to the majors as he has allowed just a 3.09 ERA over 46.2 major league innings and throws in the mid to upper 90s. In the Dominican, Mendez allowed a 3.63 ERA over 22.1 innings, walking 12 batters and striking out 22.
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