Josh Michael: Checking out the O’s Dominican Summer League team

Quick, which Orioles minor league affiliate do you know the least about? Odds are, about half of you said the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Orioles and the other half probably said either the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles or the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds because you’ve never heard about the Dominican Summer League Orioles. The DSL Orioles got their season underway on June 2, and today I thought I would update you on some early standouts thus far.

In the Dominican Summer League, a wide variety of players showcase their skill-sets. The Orioles are fielding just one team in the DSL this year after fielding two teams a couple of years ago. What makes the DSL Orioles so unique is that 99 percent of O’s fans know little to nothing about them and the players that play on their team. This isn’t a surprise because they are the furthest away, not easy to get to, and their roster is normally comprised of players from the area around the Dominican and Caribbean.

As a team, the DSL Orioles have gotten off to a pretty good start, going 6-3 over their first nine games, which puts them atop the Baseball City division. There have been some standout performers thus far, both on the mound and at the plate, so let’s take a look shall we?

Moises Nolasco, 21, RHP - Nolasco is in his first season with the Orioles organization after pitching the last two in the Phillies organization. This is his third year in the DSL and over two starts he has been terrific. He is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP over nine innings. He has struck out a robust 14, while walking just one.

Marlon Constante, 21, RHP - Constante is in his second year in the O’s organization and his fourth in the DSL (he spent two years in Rays organization). A reliever, Constante has yet to yield an earned run over four appearances and 6 1/3 innings. He has struck out nine, while walking none and surrendering just two hits. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.32 and he has held opponents to a .087 batting average. He was pretty good for the DSL Orioles last season, going 4-3 with a 1.44 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over 19 appearances and 31 1/3 innings.

Edidson Rojas, 19, SS - The left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing shortstop just turned 19 a few weeks ago and is in his second year in the organization. Over eight games, Rojas is hitting .333 (9-for-27) with a double, triple, home run, three RBIs and seven runs scored. Rojas showed in his debut season last year that he could take a walk and is doing so again, having drawn six walks already.

Marcos Estevez, 22, OF - Estevez is in his third year with the organization and is off to a torrid start at the plate. Over seven games, he is hitting .368 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBIs and has scored seven runs. In addition, he has already drawn seven walks and owns a ridiculous 1.345 OPS.

As someone who solely focuses on the Orioles minor leagues at Baby Birdland, I am always intrigued by guys in the DSL, partially because they are so unknown and partially because they get little to no exposure to Orioles fans. While not many players ever find their way over to the states to play with a more local affiliate, some do. Thus, keeping an eye on the DSL Orioles is something I encourage O’s fans to do.

Josh Michael blogs about the Orioles for Baby Birdland. Follow him on Twitter: @BabyBirdland. His opinions on the Orioles will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s longstanding initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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