The six-team Dominican Winter League is full of talented Latin players each season. Great pitchers, great hitters, great defenders--the league is really deep with talent. The statistics back up that fact as no one typically puts up monster seasons at the plate or on the mound. As such, it is a very good league for players to get in extra work in the MLB offseason and work on their skills.
Play starts on October 14th and all teams will play at least 50 games from that date up to December 21st in a round robin style schedule. The top four teams then play another round robin section of 18 games before there is a best-of-nine championship series. The champion in the DWL then advances to the Caribbean Series to play against the champions from Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The Mariners have four players from their organization participating in the DWL this year: left-handed hitting outfielder Carlos Peguero (Club Atletico Licey) who saw significant big league time in 2011, shortstop Carlos Triunfel (Club Atletico Licey) who ended the year in Tacoma, left-handed reliever Edward Parades (Aguilas Cibaenas) who struggled with command at multiple levels this season and utility man Leury Bonilla (Estrellas Orientales) who played at three levels.
Peguero played for Licey last season and ended the season tied for 5th in strikeouts with 31 despite getting only 79 at bats, just the 58th highest total in the league. He obviously will continue to try and work on what the Mariners have been preaching to him: being aggressive in his zone while being smart enough to stay disciplined.
Triunfel will head to Licey to continue to try and sharpen his defensive skills at shortstop and perhaps see if he can make speed (again) or power more a part of his game. Though it seems like he has been a can't-miss prospect forever in Seattle, Triunfel is still just 21--a fact that often gets lost by people that partake in prospect rankings.
Paredes has to get his command issues under control if he has thoughts of a big league future, while Bonilla needs to be smarter on the bases and at the plate where he, too, needs to be a more selective hitter.
As with all of the offseason leagues, the work that they do is much more important than the end results or wins and losses, but as many of us have seen in the World Baseball Classic, a lot of these players take a ton of pride when playing in their home countries. And no one minds the extra work that they put in during the process.