At the opening of this year's international signing period, the Tigers made a big splash signing third baseman Adelyn Santa for a $750,000 bonus, and shortstop Steven Fuentes and right-hander Emanuel Chavez for smaller six-figure bonuses. Details on these three players were written up previously by TigsTown and can be found here.
The Tigers newest signings are all Venezuelan right-handed pitchers; Ricardo Mayora, Jose Fuentes, Eduardo Jimenez, and Anthony Castro.
None of these four teenagers will be mistaken for top prospects right out of the gate, but all offer some projection and possible intrigue down the line.
A six-foot righty, Castro has drawn some positive reviews from scouts with other organizations. One scout thought there was "growth left in the body," and that he "can see plus or plus-plus velo there."
Tigers Director of International Operations Tom Moore noted that Castro was athletic with a quick arm and "potential to really throw hard." Beyond his fastball, Castro has shown a classic curveball with potential and a change-up that flashes some sink at times.
Jimenez also offers growth potential and his scouting report could change radically as he matures physically. Currently logged in at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, he has disproportionately long arms that lend to the idea that he still has plenty of growing to do.
Much of Jimenez's arsenal is very raw, with well below-average present velocity but good projection. His change-up lacks polish but he maintains his arm speed and has feel for the pitch, and his slider will flash average bite at times.
Jose Fuentes is ultra-thin, weighing in at just 155 pounds on a 6-foot-1 frame. He locates his fastball well for his age and has good natural movement when down in the zone. He shows an ability to spin a curveball and some feel for a change-up, but the secondary pitches will need plenty of work. Fuentes' velocity is well below-average right now.
Rounding out the group of four, Mayora checks in at a healthy 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. One rival scout said "I wish we could have gotten him. He's got a great body and there's lots of projection."
Mayora relies heavily on his fringe-average fastball right now, though he does show feel for a change-up and currently favors throwing that to his curveball.
The signing of these four pitchers brings the Tigers total 2011 international signing class to seven players, with five of those (including Steven Fuentes) coming from Venezuela, and two from the Dominican Republic.