We looked back at the Indians other Dominican Summer League team yesterday, so now it’s time to check out how team Red’s big brother, DSL Indians Blue, fared in 2021. While they didn’t end their season on a high note, they still had the best season for any DSL Indians team in years as they finished second in the DSL Northwest at 34-25, just 1.5 games behind Royals Blue in first. Like team Red, the hitting outpaced the pitching overall, but unlike Red, they had a positive run differential (+14).
If you thought team Red’s pitchers had quite the disparity in results, just wait until you see team Blue. Of the five primary starters, three had ERAs of 8.35, 9.23 and 15.09 while the other two were at 1.69 and 2.21. Jose Contreras had a simply terrible time in 2021 with 45 runs allowed in 22.2 across 11 starts.
The offense was much more well rounded with only two starting hitters, Richard Polanco and Juan Rodriguez, having particularly poor seasons and no one hitter having a truly stand out offensive performance like Junior Caminero did with team Red.
Hitter of the Year – Angel Genao
With no true great offensive performances, there were two parts of Angel Genao’s game that set him apart. First, despite a low slugging percent (.364) and mediocre average (.265), he was fantastic at getting on base (.422), taking a team best 39 walks (he was also hit twice) and striking out just 29 times in 192 plate appearances. The real difference maker, however, was what he did once on base. He was safe in all 16 stolen base attempts, more than ten more steals than the next most prolific base runner. He also lead the team with 36 runs scored, 40 hits (aided by his team leading 192 plate appearances) and four triples.
Despite the team starting the year with nearly the entire roster listed as short stops, it was Genao who was the primary starter at short, playing just five games at second and none at any other position. He ended up playing 32 games at short with six other players making appearances at the position, none playing more than ten games. He finished with a .924 fielding percent at short and .917 at second. Considering the difficult playing conditions in the Dominican Republic and generally poor fielding numbers, these are fairly decent fielding percents.
Pitcher of the Year – Luis Almonte
There were two pitchers for team Blue that really stood out above the crowd, starter Diego Navarro and reliever Luis Almonte. Almonte has the advantage here with a significantly higher strike out rate, similar walk rate and only a few less innings. He posted a 1.01 ERA across 18 relief appearances, 15 to finish games. He also almost always pitched multiple innings, throwing 35.2 total, giving him a favorable comparison to the starters on the team. He struck out 51, walked just seven and allowed 12 hits and four runs on the season.
Navarro deserves special mention as the top starter, posting a 1.69 ERA across 12 appearances (11 starts) and 48 innings. He did not allow a home run and struck out 44 compared to eight walks. Albert Breton was also a solid pitcher who posted a 2.92 ERA in 37 innings while being used both in the rotation and in relief.