The Tampa Bay Rays possess one of the deepest farm systems in all of Major League Baseball. This depth spans from the highest levels of their farm system in Durham, North Carolina all the way to to the Dominican Summer Leagues.
The Dominican Summer League developmental league filled with 16 to 22 year old Latin ballplayers signed by Major League teams, where they not only refine the young player’s baseball skills but also their life skills. Each MLB team has at least one Dominican Summer League team, with some teams like the Tampa Bay Rays having two.
Each season lasts 72 games and as players improve, the best will graduate to the various lower ranks of their respective organizations.
Lets take a closer look at the Rays first affiliate in the league:
DSL Rays 1
The 2018 season was a successful one for Rays 1 of the Dominican League, finishing 51-20 and league champions. They defeated Rangers 1 for the 2018 title.
Rays 1 led the league with a team earned run average of 2.64. They finished ninth in the league with a team batting average of .250. Their 51 wins tied for second amongst the league’s 44 teams.
The Rays 1 were led by 19 year old catcher Julio Meza out of Venezuela and the 18 year old pitcher Matthew Peguero of the Dominican Republic.
Meza, a right handed hitting catcher led the team with a .306 average, finishing was second with a .388 slugging percentage and a .353 on base percentage. The team leader in slugging and on base percentage was Colombian first baseman Luis Perez. Although he only played in 25 games compared to Meza’s 47, Perez finished with three homers and a SLG% .507 and OBP of .369.
On the mound, the 18 year old right handed pitcher, Matthew Peguero was dominant. The righty threw 60.1 innings pitched across 13 games, 12 of those being starts. Finishing with a record of 5-1 and an ERA of 2.69. He struck out a team high 60 batters. In what was a successful second professional season in the DSL, Peguero showed a lot of promise.
Also successful on the mound for Rays 1 was the 20 year old righty, Daniel Santana. Leading the team in innings pitched, 63.1, Santana finished with an ERA of 2.70, though he only struck out 28 batters.
For a team that led the league in ERA, these were just two of the many pitchers that provided valuable innings on the mound for Rays 1.
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The Dominican Summer League has proved fruitful for the Tampa Bay Rays in recent years. Vidal Brujan, one of the top prospects in the Rays loaded farm system, played in the DSL. Major Leaguer, Diego Castillo, also played in the DSL. These are just a few examples of the positive results coming out of the Dominican Republic. Matthew Peguero and Julio Meza could be next to arrive in the states.