The Dominican Winter League season recently entered the halfway point of the season, and MLB Prospects Junior Caminero (TBR), Hector Rodriguez (CIN), Julio Carreras (COL), are making significant progress in their development as players. Because of their performance, these players will represent the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) in the upcoming Interleague All-Star Game against the All Stars of the Puerto Rico Winter League (LBPRC) this Sunday, December 3, 2023, in the Dominican Republic.
Caminero and Rodriguez of the Rays and Reds have standout debut seasons in the Dominican Winter League. They are both playing for Leones del Escogido and have been major contributors to their team’s recent success, bringing them back into contention for the league title after a slow start. Caminero, 19, is the number 1 prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays organization and, last year, had a brief call-up to MLB for seven games with the Rays. During his debut season for Leones del Escogido, Caminero has produced a slash line of .307/.333/.493 for an OPS of .827. He is seventh in the league with three home runs and tied for tenth with 11 runs batted in. In three seasons in the minors in the Rays system, Caminero has had 952 plate appearances and has had exceptional offensive numbers: .316/.383/.555 slash line with 51 HR and 178 RBI in 223 games. Caminero also played one season in the Australian League, producing an OPS of .938 in 39 games for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League last year.
His teammate, Rodriguez, a 19-year-old MLB prospect playing for Leones, has also had a debut season to remember with Leones. Rodriguez has produced an equally impressive slash line of .315/.330/.449, having collected 28 hits in 89 at bats. He also has six doubles and 13 runs scored in 25 games. In three minor league seasons for the Cincinnati Reds, Rodríguez has played in 202 games and has produced an OPS of .857 with 22 HR and 102 RBI.
The Colorado Rockies’ Julio Carreras is another MLB prospect selected to represent the Dominican League and has improved vastly on his prior performance in the league. The 23-year-old infielder has had an impressive showing in his second season in the Winter League. He is currently second in the league with 19 RBI and second in runs scored with 23. Carreras’ performance has aided Gigantes del Cibao to a halfway-point lead in the league, and his slash line of .319/.402/.489 has positioned him as a strong candidate for the League’s MVP. Last year, Carreras only played in 9 games for Gigantes and had four hits in 21 at-bats.
The performances of these MLB prospects should be encouraging to the fans of their MLB teams, not only because these players are playing meaningful innings but also because they are involved in very intense pennant races that are developing intangible parts of their development. It will be interesting to see how their performance progresses as the days get closer to the Caribbean Series. As the calendar turns into Spring, it will also be gratifying to see how the experiences of playing these Winter games have positively affected their development.
Photos: Redaccion LIDOM / www.lidom.com