Lately, Dominican baseball players have dominated the headlines. The winning and losing pitchers of the MLB All-Star Game are both from the Dominican Republic (more on that later). The Home Run Derby has seen a Dominican player win in back-to-back seasons. Elly de la Cruz has burst onto the scene.

The land of five-star resorts and five-star peloteros has been a rising player in the baseball world with no signs of stopping. Since Dominican baseball is a rather hot topic, a six-part series highlighting the strong Dominican influence around Major League Baseball (MLB) seems in order. This series will start with the American League (AL) East and end with the National League (NL) West.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. takes a swing at a pink and white baseball en route to his win Monday in the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby. He is one of four Dominican baseball players currently on the roster of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Baltimore Orioles

Though he was credited with the loss in the All-Star Game, Felix Bautista has enjoyed a coming-out party in 2023 as a stellar closer. In a year in which Yennier Cano has also burst onto the scene, Bautista has managed to win the closer role from him.

In 39 games thus far, Bautista has 84 strikeouts (almost matching his 88 from last season) and a 1.07 ERA. His 23 saves on the season clocks in at fifth most in the league.

Bautista was originally in the Marlins organization where he logged two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He then joined the Orioles organization in 2016, where he spent two more seasons in the summer league. His last season in the Dominican Republic was the 2021-22 Lidom season with the Santo Domingo-based Leones del Escogido.

Boston Red Sox

Discounting Fernando Tatis Jr., Rafael Devers signed the richest contract a Dominican baseball player has ever signed earlier this year. Devers, like many baseball stars before him, had humble beginnings.

The infielder out of Sánchez, a municipality close to Samaná, hit .279 with Escogido as an 18-year-old in 2015-16. Two years later, he would find himself in Boston making his MLB debut.

The star third baseman has put up a .251 batting average in the first half of the season, but Boston’s Dominican presence extends past Devers. Joely Rodriguez has appeared in a limited capacity and Brayan Bello, also from Samaná, has struck out 70 batters and posted a WAR of 2.9.

New York Yankees

The Yankees pitching staff alone has strong Dominican representation. Headlined by recent inductee into the Perfect Game Club Domingo German, four pitchers on the Yankees’ roster are from the Dominican Republic.

Wandy Peralta, out of San Francisco de Macorís, is enjoying his best season in New York ERA-wise. Peralta has also had three stints with the Aguilas Cibaenes, based in Santiago. Albert Abreu has posted a career-high 42 strikeouts. Abreu spent a brief period of time last winter with the defending Lidom champions, the Tigres del Licey out of Santo Domingo.

Luis Severino, though having a down year, has been a steady force in the starting rotation. Severino is another Sabaná product, having spent just one season with one of New York’s Dominican Summer League baseball teams.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays made history last season by fielding the first all-Latin American starting nine. That lineup was headed by star shortstop Wander Franco. The 22-year-old is one of two Dominican baseball players on the Rays from Baní, a town an hour southeast of Santo Domingo. The other is catcher Francisco Mejia, who played five seasons with the Estrellas de Oriente based in San Pedro de Macorís in his off-time from teams such as Cleveland, San Diego, and Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay’s outfield has two members from the Dominican Republic, as well. Manuel Margot, from San Cristóbal, played on the Red Sox Dominican Summer League team at 17 years old. He also played six seasons for the Toros del Este, based in La Romana. Jose Siri, an acquisition from last year’s trade deadline, has played six seasons with the Gigantes del Cibao, based in San Francisco de Macorís.

Toronto Blue Jays

Though born in Montréal, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could be the most popular active Dominican baseball player. Having a hall-of-fame father helps matters, but Guerrero has more than proven his mettle. He is the reigning Home Run Derby champion, outlasting Mookie Betts, fellow Dominican Julio Rodriguez, and Randy Arozarena.

Guerrero has some friends with him, too. Santiago Espinal, from where else but Santiago, is having a down year but is still batting .273 at home. Espinal only spent one season in Lidom, playing five games with the Estrellas in the 2017-18 season. Yimi Garcia is well into his second season north of the United States-Canada border. The right-handed relief pitcher hails from Moca, a town southeast of the mountain city Santiago.

This is just the beginning of this showcase of Dominican talents in the MLB. Next time, the AL Central will be covered.

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