Meet The Internationals: VSL Edition

Today we look at the prospects most furthest away from helping the Phillies at the big league level, both in skill wise and distance.  Our search first brings us to the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL). In part two of “Meet The Internationals” we will visit the Dominican Summer League (DSL) program of the Phillies.  While it is difficult to obtain more information than what is given in the box scores for these leagues, meaningful bits of info can still be gleaned about these players.  There are several recent international prospect signings currently playing with these teams that are worth keeping on your long distance prospect radar. In total I’d like to highlight 5 players, but for now we’ll just look at 2 members of the Phillies VSL team.  These 2 players represent a couple of lower profile international pickups.  I say that due to the lack of information in regards to each player’s signing bonus.   With out further ado ladies gentlemen

First up lets look at pitcher Ranger Suarez, currently with the Phillies’ VSL team. Suarez, a 6 foot lefty, set to turn 19 in under 3 weeks, has turned in an interesting season thus far in his first real look as a starting pitcher since joining the program in 2012.  In 14 starts, Suarez has a 1.56 ERA over 80.2 innings pitched with 78 SO’s good for a 8.7 k/9. Not bad, but not anything that is setting the world on fire either.  Though… Suarez does have one ability that is eye-popping, his apparently elite control.  On the year Suarez has issued just one unintentional walk, which converts to an insane 0.11 BB/9 and helps keep his WHIP nice and low at 0.84.  It is hard to say what kind of predictive meaning these numbers from the VSL have, but one thing is obvious about Suarez.  His control is very, very good and it probably helps his other pitches play up.  It will be interesting to see Suarez move on to tougher competition by coming to the states, where we will also be able to get a more accurate report of his abilities as a pitcher.

Next up is the VSL starting center fielder Jesus Alastre, Alastre stands in at 6′ 1” 155 from the right side of the plate and played the entirety of his 2014 season at 17 years of age.  In 61 regular season games this year, Alastre has been the club’s most consistent hitter.  His .314 batting average leads those with at least 20 at bats on the team.  Overall his line is a solid .314/.409/.371, totaling 10 XBH and 13 stolen bases, but in 25 attempts.  While One of Alastre’s positives is that he does not strike out much, only 34 times in 252 PA (13.5%), but he also doesn’t walk much (5.2%).  Going forward look to see if the center fielder can improve his on base skills while keeping his k-rates moderately low, all while facing tougher competition.  At his height and current weight I believe Alastre could still have room to add some muscle, potentially giving him some more extra base pop down the road.  He also needs to be coached up on the base paths, 13 steals in 25 attempts is not so good.  The good part is that he has speed and seems to have the makings for an intriguing center field prospect.

Neither of these players is particularly close to making an impact at the big league level, and there is a better chance right now that they never make it above A ball.  The odds are against them, but this pair of Venezuelans is a positive result of the kind of work the Phillies need to continue to do in the international realm.  Teams around the league continue to broaden their searches for talent to add to their organizations and the Phillies efforts are starting to show.  There are several international signings in the organization, and state side, making their way up the minor league ranks as Matt touched on a few days ago.  Part two of “Meet the Internationals” will feature three signings from 2013, all of them started their careers this year with the Phil’s’ DSL program, stay tuned!

Author: Cole Miller