Fernando Celis – Right-Handed Pitcher
The 20-year old Celis will enter his third season as a professional when the VSL starts up later this month, and he'll look to improve his numbers over two seasons that have seen him combine to go 3-5 out of the bullpen with a 4.87 ERA. Celis is still learning to compete on the mound, and has to develop his ability to battle against tougher hitters and in tougher situations. He works with an average fastball that sits at 88-90 with some late life; a pitch he can control reasonably well. His slider is a plus pitch now with good bite late in the zone, and he backs it all up with an average change-up. Despite his three-pitch mix of average or better pitches, Celis profiles best in the bullpen, particularly if he learns to attack and remain aggressive more regularly.
Juan Lozano – Left-Handed Pitcher
Another third-year VSL pitcher, Lozano will pitch the bulk of the season at only 19-years of age, and he'll be coming off a season in which he tied for 9th in the VSL in appearances with 21. The smallish Columbian native is very raw but sports a promising and diverse arsenal. Though he has good arm quickness and some strength, his fastball is currently below average for a left-hander, sitting at 85-86 though there is some hope for added velocity has he fills out. His curveball and change-up both flash as average pitches and despite his rawness, he is willing to take the ball and attack hitters in any situation.
Vladimir Ortiz – Right-Handed Pitcher
Moving to a third-year DSL pitcher, similar to Celis above, Ortiz will enter this season as a 20-year old right-hander with intriguing stuff but plenty of things to learn. With a nice pitchers frame that has some strength and room for more, Vladimir can touch 93-94 with his heater, but sits more comfortably in the 91-92 range with good command. His curveball is sharp with late bite and it can be a solid out-pitch for him more often than not. He also sports a change-up, though it is not completely reliable and could stand some refinement. Ortiz is an aggressive reliever who has a desire to outduel his opponents when he's on the mound.
Zuriel Stephenson – Right-Handed Pitcher
A converted outfielder, Stephenson will enter his second season as a pitcher after showing intriguing arm strength while learning on the job last year. Despite his inexperience, Zuriel has outstanding mound presence. He is rarely rattled on the mound, and his demeanor rarely changes regardless of the situation he or his team is facing. His fastball is an average pitch that can touch 92, and some scouts believe he can add velocity as he becomes more comfortable on the mound and repeats his delivery better. He showed some aptitude for a curveball last season, but it was a very inconsistent pitch that he will need to improve to succeed on the mound. As a two-pitch pitcher that's getting a late start, he's best suited for the bullpen and he should be a key cog for the DSL Tigers this summer.
Frank Penalver – Right-Handed Pitcher
At only 18-years old and entering his second season in the VSL, it is pretty easy to guess that Penalver has plenty of growing left to do. With a slight six-foot frame, Penalver generates a below average fastball that can only hit 88 at its peak right now. He should see a spike in his velocity as he adds muscle and his wiry frame naturally bulks up. His secondary pitches – primarily just a breaking ball at this time – are very rough and will require significant development to become reliable pitches. He has a chance to develop into a prospect of interest, but his development time is likely to be relatively slow.