The Dominican Summer League is often forgotten in the crux of both the Major and Minor League seasons. Talent at this level is so young that prospects in the organization aren’t fully considered in keeping with the measurement of prospect rankings.
However, the Chicago Cubs take their ranks in the DSL seriously to award their annual Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year awards. This season those two were 17-year-old infielder Pedro Ramirez, named the Player of the Year, and 19-year-old Oliver Roque as the Cubs’ DSL Pitcher of the Year.
Chicago Cubs Minors: Youthful talent growing toward success
Realistically there will be minutiae of fans who have heard the names of Ramirez and Roque. But, again, talent at this level as part of the DSL goes largely unnamed and unfollowed for an extended period until a prospect is older and has been around a more extended period.
Ramirez came to Chicago from Venezuela this year as part of their 2021 international class of free agents. At the time, Ramirez was 16 years old. He put on a show, however, and mashed in his first professional season in the organization.
As part of the Cubs ‘Red’ squad, Ramirez played 50 games and slashed .359/.417/.503 with 18 extra-base hits, 30 RBI and nine stolen bases.
A critical part of his game came in the form of contact and mitigating his strikeouts. The switch-hitting infielder, who profiles as a shortstop like many at his age and caliber, struck out at just a 10.3 percent rate. He also managed to slug a whopping .503, so there is the power to be had as he continues to develop.
Shifting gears, Roque hails from the Dominican Republic and is a unique talent in and of himself. He’s lanky at 6’3″ and weighing 180 pounds as a 19-year-old gives him room to continue to grow. Roque appeared in 16 games over 31 2/3 innings in his first professional season and allowed just three earned runs in that span.
He posted a modest 22.2 percent strikeout rate and only eight walks across the whole year. Roque assuredly has the makeup of a future reliever who may one day step on the mound in Wrigley and seems to be well on his way.
It would not be a surprise to see him in or around the 2025-26 season, and hopefully, it will be in a high leverage role. But, for now, the growth and wealth of unheralded talent for the Cubs continues as a brighter future lies ahead.