There is a new wave of talent starting to gain momentum in the Nationals organization. That wave of talent is emanating from the Dominican Republic Academy the Nationals established a few years back, led by administrator Fausto Severino.
I would not be surprised to see several of these Dominican pitchers work their way up through the minor league ranks of the Nationals system beginning next season.
This confidence stems from how good these pitchers were with the rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals, who dominated their league prior to easily winning the league championship.
Right-hander Wander Suero from Sabana Larga, Dominican Republic, is one clear example of that next wave of talent.
Suero went 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 13 games for the GCL Nats, making three starts. In 49 innings, he allowed only nine earned runs, struck out 46 and walked 13. Suero is a non-drafted free agent signed in 2010 who spent three seasons pitching for the Dominican Summer League Nationals.
Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams reports the 22-year-old Suero and other Dominican hurlers continued to pitch well throughout the recently completed instructional league in Viera, Fla.
"He did very good," Williams said. "Him and Jefrey Rodriguez and Hector Silvestre all did very well. They are pretty advanced, especially Suero and Silvestre. They throw a lot of quality strikes. Jefrey has a really good upside and he is a little bit behind from a fundamental standpoint. But it has been a real pleasant surprise on how quick those guys really took to their craft here in the States."
Williams said Suero has advanced this season because he has the stuff to get guys out and is relentless on the mound.
"Wander has been an aggressive person on the mound," Williams. "He is not afraid. He challenges hitters, he attacks hitters. He throws a fastball that has cutting action on it. He has got a really good curveball, short, hard curveball. He worked on a changeup in instructional league and it came along fine. He is a good athlete. I think his makeup and his aggressiveness going at hitters is what is really exciting. Plus his stuff is pretty good too."
Suero and the left-hander Silvestre are both 6-foot-3 and right-hander Rodriguez is 6-foot-5. Williams points to that kind of size becoming a trend he notices in this latest wave of Dominican pitchers in the Nationals system. He said that is the kind of size they are seeing at the Dominican Academy recently as well.
"The one thing that I have seen is that we have some bodies that are very interesting down there, as well," Williams said. "From a pitching standpoint, we are getting bigger guys. That has really been exciting for me, more athletic guys as well."
Williams said international scouting director Johnny DiPuglia and his staff have worked diligently to find talented pitchers in the Dominican and coach them up to get ready for entry into the Nationals system. He believes this next wave of Dominican pitchers can starting popping up at the Single-A level and beyond.
"I think so," Williams said. "DiPuglia has done a nice job of getting some talented kids, along with (DSL manager) Sandy Martinez and (DSL pitching coach) Pablo Frias. Everybody has done a pretty decent job of getting guys ready for the next level."