Joining the Venezuelan Summer League Tigers this year will be right-hander Cruz Cedeno, catcher Jhosua Montero, and outfielder Orvin Tovar.
Cedeno is a 6-foot-1, 150 pound pitcher that won't turn 18 until well after the VSL season is complete. He has broad shoulders and some natural strength to his frame, and there is room to gain more strength without limiting his movement. Most scouts report his fastball velocity in the 83-85 range, but he has been seen as high as 87 in short bursts. He could add velocity as he fills out his frame. He shows some feel for both a curveball and change-up, but neither is a reliable pitch at this time.
Receiving some of Cedeno's pitches will be Jhosua Montero. A stocky 5-11, 185, Montero just turned 17 in January and he already shows some nice defensive skills. He has a durable frame with good arm strength and some quickness behind the plate. He is still raw mechanically, but he shows promise behind the dish. He has some natural strength and corresponding bat speed, but he is very raw offensively.
Helping in the outfield for the VSL Tigers, Tovar will play much of the 2011 season at 17-years old. He is a solid defender with enough skills to play all three outfield spots. His bat has some thump in it but some scouts question his ability to make contact and thereby utilize his power.
All three players look to be in line for significant work in the VSL, with Torvin and Montero having the potential to play nearly every day given the current makeup of the roster.
In the Dominican, the Tigers have added an infielder, and outfielder, and two more pitchers.
On the infield, the organization has added Eurys Felipe out of the Dominican Prospect League. Small in stature, Felipe is a switch hitting shortstop that just turned 17 in March. He has an athletic body and some speed. Defense is his current calling card as he shows good instincts for a player his age and a plus arm. He has a knack for moving the ball around when he's at the plate, but he lacks polish to his offensive game and he will need to add strength.
In the outfield, the 6-foot-3, 200 pound Lenny Pena is an intriguing guy that some in the Tigers organization are excited about. He is a good defender with some projection for arm strength, but his bat is what draws attention. Naturally strong at 19 years old, Pena swings a strong stick from the left side with power projection and a solid approach for a young Latin player his age.
Though the organization has not officially confirmed the signing, right-hander Sergio Berihuete should be a part of the DSL club this summer. His contract is still undergoing approval by Major League Baseball.
Unless things change during the background investigation, Berihuete is a 6-foot-2, 180 pound pitcher who will turn 21 at the end of 2011. He can get his fastball up to 92 at times and generally sat at 89-90 in the Dominican Prospect League.
Rounding out the recent crop of signings, right-hander Miguel Montero offers some of the best projection of this group. At his size – 6-3, 165 – and with the quickness in his arm, there is projection for plenty of velocity. He needs to add strength and bulk to his lanky frame, but some scouts have been bold enough to suggest he could see consistent low-90s velocity at some point in time. He shows good feel for a slider that could be an above-average pitch, and while he tries to mix in a change-up, most opposing scouts I spoke with felt he would be a two-pitch guy in short order.