Dominican Dandies

Thursday, January 26 2006 @ 08:00 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

By Alex Godard, Alex Obal and Anders Whist

This Hall of (Place) Names challenge, as Craig Burley has coined it, has already led to one accidental collaboration, between Matthew Elmslie and Greg Williams, who independently submitted rosters for what became a combined St. Peter's Ballmouth (San Pedro de Macoris) squad.

Now Alex Godard, then just a few hours later the team of Alex Obal and Anders Whist (I guess only GMs whose names start with "A" need apply) traveled the same path, quite literally, as each independently submitted a Santo Domingo (capital city of the Dominican Republic) squad that leads us now to this team, which we dub ...

The Ron Santo Domingo Jeans
If you don't get that name, it'd be one of the great Hall of Names pitcher/batter matchups if Should-Be-Hall-of-Famer Ron Santo would step into the batter's box to face failed pre-Mariano (briefly) Yankee closer Domingo Jean.

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

LINEUP
C Francisco Cabrera (.254, 17 homers in 351 AB)
1B Albert Pujols* (.332, 201, 05 NL MVP)
2B Placido Polanco (.300, 50 HR)
3B Aramis Ramirez* (.277, 158 HR)
SS Alfredo Griffin* (.249, 79 AL co-ROY)
RF Henry Rodriguez (.259, 160 HR)
CF Cesar Cedeno* (.285, 199 HR, 550 SB)
LF Manny Ramirez* (.314, 435 HR)
DH David Ortiz* (.282, 177 HR)

BENCH
C: Angelo Encarnacion (.253 in 76 games)
MID IF Quilvio Veras (.270 32 HR 183 SB)
COR IF Adrian Beltre (.271, 166 HR)
OF/PH Many Mota* (.304, 20 seasons)
OF Felix Jose* (.305 40 2B 20 SB in 1991)
DH Geronimo Berroa (.290/36/106 in 1996)

ROTATION
RHSP: Ramon Martinez* (135-88, 105 ERA+)
RHSP: Juan Guzman* (91-79, 113 ERA+)
RHSP: Jorge Sosa (13-3, 2.55 ERA in 2005)
RHSP: Miguel Batista (57-71)
RHSP: Runelvys Hernandez (19-23)

BULLPEN
CL: Francisco Cordero* (16-18, 111 Saves)
RHRP: Octavio Dotel (37-31, 71 Saves)
RHRP: Yhency Brazoban (10-12, 21 Saves)
LHRP: Damaso Marte (14-14, 31 Saves)
RHRP: Jose Acevedo (18-25)

Notes ... Obal writes in analyzing his team, "To Jays fans growing up in the 1980's [the aforementioned] San Pedro de Macoris was the foreign baseball capital of the world. It seems that more recently Santo Domingo has taken over as possibly the premier baseball factory ... witness the eight All-Stars and two possible Hall of Famers among the [position] players and the three All-Stars and [other] power arms on the pitching staff."

Whist agrees, writing "As you can see, there's no shortage of fantastic hitters -- two of these guys are Cooperstown-bound, I would have to think. The rotation is obviously a bit weak, but [that] is a pretty good bullpen." (True -- with six closers or former closers on hand, one Blue Jay fans know well moves into the rotation.) And, he admits, "No left-handed starting pitchers ... not that they weren't good enough to make the list; they just don't exist. Catching is another hole," Whist continues, "[as] all the catchers are in Puerto Rico. Still, I'd say this team would be pretty competitive."

Both teams selected identical five-man rotations, with the only difference on the pitching staff being Godard opting for Frankie Francisco over Jose Acevedo in the bullpen, but we'll go with Jose as a better option for long relief.

Whist & Obal put Albert Pujols in RF and David Ortiz at 1B to make Henry Rodriguez the DH; from a defensive efficiency perspective, Godard probably has it right with Ortiz at DH, Pujols at 1B and H-Rod in RF; while both teams opted for Aramis Ramirez over Adrian Beltre at 3B -- good choice, that -- Godard's selection of .300-career hitter Placido Polanco to team with Griffin over the ikeystone is probably slightly better. Veras brings depth to the bench, certainly, and the occasional pinch-running sssignment for Ortiz seems likely.

Griffin is the only man in the starting lineup -- on the entire roster, in fact -- to appear in the major leagues before 1988, when the Santo Domingo floodgates apparently opened. Godard also suggests, "Griffin ... could possibly act as player/manager in lieu of having any real ones from the area. Hey, at least he has coaching experience."

Don't think the Ron-Jeans are done just because the roster is full; consider this (partial) list of players left off the roster: RHRP Francisco, 1B Carlos Pena, OF Danny Bautista, IFs Abraham Nunez, Angel Berroa, Cris Guzman, D'Angelo Jiminez and Enrique Wilson and utilityman Pablo Ozuna.

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