25 Pitching Prospects To Watch In The Dominican Summer League
With the Dominican Summer League opening on Monday, most of the attention is on the hitters.
Teams typically don't spend much money on pitching in Latin America, where players are typically signing at 16 or 17 and teams are often making signing decisions years before then. If 18-year-old high school pitchers have proven a high-risk group, trying to project pitchers at least a couple years younger than that has even less precision.
On our Top 100 prospects right now, righthanders Eury Perez (Marlins), Brayan Bello (Red Sox), Roansy Contreras (Pirates, via the Yankees) and Edward Cabrera (Marlins) all signed for less than $300,000. Teenage pitchers at the Dominican Summer League level can quickly change, especially after they sign, get on the organization's throwing program, their strength and conditioning plan and start piling on calories at their academy. Seeing pitchers go from 87-91 mph to 91-94 mph in a few months isn't uncommon, and the uptick in stuff can significantly change the forecast for a pitcher's future.
Now that the DSL season is here, we identified 25 pitching prospects to watch this year in the DSL. The focus is on pitchers who have starter profiles, a mix of feel for pitching, present stuff and projection for that stuff to tick up in the future. There are also a handful of pitchers who either throw hard or project to be flame-throwers who could end up as power relievers.
1. Abel Fuerte, RHP, D-backs: Fuerte has developed into one of the most exciting pitching prospects to watch among players signed since Jan. 15. At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, his fastball has already reached 95 mph, with more projection remaining to throw harder once he fills out. While it's a big fastball for his age, what separates Fuerte is his ability to pound the strike zone from an easy delivery and flash two offspeed pitches that can miss bats between his slider and changeup. It's a starter profile and a pitcher who could be a breakout prospect with a big summer.
2. Doilin Perez, RHP, Rockies: Perez was a 6-foot-1 righthander in the Dominican Republic throwing in the mid 80s early in the scouting process. Now, he's 6-foot-5 and still lean but with more strength, which has helped him reach 95 mph with more in the tank to potentially throw in the upper 90s in the next few years. He's a strike-thrower with good downhill angle and shows feel for a breaking ball that's more advanced than his changeup.
3. Nixon Encarnacion, RHP, Angels: At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Encarnacion already reaches 94 mph and has the physical projection to add at least a few ticks more. Encarnacion separates himself with more than just raw arm strength, as he brings a starter look between his athleticism and feel for a three-pitch mix, with his curveball the most advanced among his secondaries.
4. Cesar Vargas, RHP, Rockies: A 6-foot-3 Dominican righthander, Vargas has good pitchability for his age, mixing a fastball up to 92 mph, a curveball and a changeup to fill the strike zone with three pitches. Between his arm speed and space on his frame to add more weight, there's projection for mid-90s velocity coming for a pitcher who has good arm action and a simple, repeatable delivery.
5. Pitterson Rosa, RHP, Pirates: Rosa was one of Pittsburgh's big international signings from its class this year, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound Dominican righthander with a fastball that has been trending up. Mostly in the upper 80s during the tryout process, Rosa has since been up to 94 mph, with more room on his frame to add weight and velocity. He has the smooth, repeatable delivery, strike-throwing skills and three-pitch mix with his curveball and changeup to project as a starter.
6. Santiago Suarez, RHP, Marlins: A 6-foot-1, 175-pound righthander from Venezuela, Suarez is an advanced strike-thrower for his age with a fastball that has been up to 94 mph with good carry when he elevates at the top of the zone. There's physical projection for more velocity to come and a starter projection between his mechanics, feel for pitching and ability to spin a breaking ball.
7. Juan De La Cruz, RHP, Marlins: Signed out of the Dominican Republic, de la Cruz has an impressive mix of both stuff and feel for pitching for his age. His fastball has increased to touch 94 mph with good life up in the zone. He shows feel for a breaking ball that has above-average potential with tight spin and good shape, with a good delivery and more physical projection to throw harder once he gets stronger.
8. Enrique Segura, RHP, Phillies: At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Segura has good arm action on a fluid, repeatable delivery and a fastball that has improved already to touch 94 mph with good arm-side run. There should be at least a few more ticks of velocity coming too once Segura packs on more weight. Beyond just his fastball, Segura also shows promising feel for spin on his slider, which has good depth and could become a bat-missing pitch for him.
9. Accimias Morales, RHP, Dodgers: Morales stands out for his size (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and starter traits. Morales was a few inches shorter early on in the tryout process in Venezuela, when he stood out for his sound delivery and advanced pitchability for his age. Those traits are still intact, and now there's more physical upside to improve a fastball that has already been up to 93 mph. He also flashes sharp action on a breaking ball that could develop into an out pitch.
10. Luichi Casilla, LHP, Rockies: As an amateur in the Dominican Republic, Castilla stood out as a lefty with a quick arm who could fill the strike zone. Now that arm speed has translated into a bigger fastball, with the 6-foot-1 lefty reaching 93 mph with a chance to be throwing in the mid 90s soon. There are starter components here between Castilla's pitchability and feel for a three-pitch mix with his slider and changeup.
11. Braian Salazar, LHP, Padres: Salazar continues to trend in the right direction. Usually in the mid 80s and touching the upper 80s during the tryout process in Venezuela, Salazar has now reached 92 mph. Given the physical projection in his 6-foot-3 frame, along with his whippy fast arm speed, there should be more velocity hikes in the future. He has the look of an athletic lefthanded starter, with a good mechanical operation and feel for a slider that could develop into a swing-and-miss pitch.
12. Freylin Silverio, RHP, Cubs: Silverio is a lanky 6-foot-3 Dominican righthander with long limbs and a fastball that has been up to 91 mph, with plenty of space to add weight and strength to be throwing in the mid 90s one day. Silverio has a starter's look too, with sound mechanics and feel for a curveball. The curve is his best pitch, a potential plus offering that's ahead of his changeup.
13. Anthony Flores, LHP, Brewers: Flores throws a fastball that rides up in the zone well and can reach 90 mph. There are pitchers with more present velocity, but Flores has a curveball that stacks up with the best of his peers. It's a sharp, big-breaking curveball with spin rates that crack above 3,000 rpm, a potential plus weapon that should miss a lot of bats. Flores also shows feel for a changeup that's advanced for his age, while his feel for pitching sticks out as well.
14. Omar Gonzalez, RHP, Yankees: Gonzalez wasn't a high-profile prospect as an amateur, but he is one of the more intriguing signings out of Panama from this year's class. He has a good mix of stuff, feel and physical projection left in his 6-foot-3 frame with a starter look. Gonzalez has pitched well in games in Panama, throwing a lot of strikes with a fastball that has touched 93 mph with the projection for more velocity coming. He has a quality three-pitch mix, with good spin on his breaking ball and feel for a changeup as well.
15. Marcelo Valladares, RHP, White Sox: Valladares signed later in 2021 and will make his pro debut this summer. He's 6-foot-4, pitches from a high three-quarters slot with a repeatable delivery, which helps him throw strikes with a fastball that has touched 93 mph. Between the physical projection left in his frame and fast arm speed with good arm action, Valladares could eventually throw in the upper 90s. He has a starter look between his delivery, ability to throw strikes and solid feel for a breaking ball and changeup.
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16. Jose Mendez, RHP, White Sox: Another Venezuelan pitcher to watch with the White Sox, Mendez is the younger brother of former Rangers lefty Yohander Mendez. He's not as tall as his brother, but he is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and has already been up to 94 mph. Mendez controls his fastball well for his age and throws four pitches, with his best secondary pitch a slider, along with a curveball and a changeup that has solid sink.
17. Denis Reguillo, RHP, Red Sox: Reguillo is starting to flirt with low-90s velocity after throwing mostly in the mid-to-upper 80s before signing out of the Dominican Republic. He has the physical projection to throw harder, which if it comes on would enhance his stock as a pitcher who already has a good delivery, fluid arm action and advanced pitchability for his age.
18. Luciano Romero, RHP, Dodgers: Romero is a Venezuelan righthander with a mechanically sound delivery whose stuff has been on the upswing. Mostly in the mid-to-upper 80s while working out for clubs before signing, Romero is now getting his fastball into the low 90s. He has the arm speed and physical projection in his 6-foot-2, 190-pound build to continue to throw harder and he shows feel for a breaking ball as well.
19. Raimy Rodriguez, RHP, Astros: Rodriguez went relatively under the radar when the Astros signed him out of the Dominican Republic, but there are several encouraging projection indicators with him. He's a wiry 6-foot-1 righthander with long limbs, a fast arm and more projection to add to a fastball that has been up to 91 mph. He controls his fastball well for his age too, pairing it with a hard curveball in the upper 70s that has tight rotation.
20. Raudy Gomez, RHP, Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have one sub 6-foot righthander they signed from Latin America having success right now in Low-A Dunedin. Next in line could be Gomez, a 5-foot-10 Dominican righthander who is an advanced strike-thrower for his age and shows feel for three pitches. His athleticism helps him repeat his delivery and fill the zone with a lively fastball that has already added velocity to touch 93 mph. Gomez shows touch and feel for his secondaries, with a breaking ball that has tight rotation and a fading changeup that he sells well off his fastball, giving him starter potential even as a smaller righthander.
21. Yosmerky Lantigua, RHP, Reds: Lantigua was working out for clubs as an outfielder in the Dominican Republic and was a good athlete with a strong arm, so he converted to pitching before signing with the Reds. The early signals on the transition have been encouraging. His athleticism is evident in the way he moves on the mound, helping him show relatively good control for someone without much pitching experience. His fastball has reached 93 mph, mixing in a curveball with three-quarters break and a changeup.
22. Frederik Jimenez, RHP, Mariners: The Mariners put most of their international bonus pool money for this year's class into three position players with outfielder Lazaro Montes and shortstops Michael Arroyo and Martin Gonzalez. That didn't leave much for other players, but one intriguing arm from this class to watch in the DSL this year is Jimenez, a 6-foot-1 righthander from the Dominican Republic with long arms on a lean 6-foot-1 frame. He throws a fastball that gets into the low 90s now with heavy sink, and given his strength projection remaining, he could be in the mid-90s eventually, with feel for a slider, too.
23. Jefferson Jean, RHP, Athletics: Jean's name started to draw more attention among scouts later in the process when he touched 96 mph at 16. He has more strength projection remaining in his 6-foot-3 frame, so there could be more velocity in the tank. Jean has long arm action and will need to improve both his control and his offspeed stuff, led by a hard curveball that's ahead of his changeup.
24. Jovi Galvez, RHP, Cardinals: Galvez is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds with a big fastball. He's a previously passed over player the Cardinals signed out of the Dominican Republic in January with a fastball that has reached 97 mph. Galvez shows feel to spin a breaking ball as well but will need to dial in his control, with a chance he could end up a power arm out of the bullpen.
25. Yordy Luciano, RHP, Yankees: At 20, Luciano is on the older end for a signing out of the Dominican Republic. And at 5-foot-10, he's on the smaller side, too. What makes him intriguing, though, is his fast arm that produces velocity up to 95 mph, along with an innate ability to spin the ball. That spin shows up on his fastball and on his curveball, with his breaking ball spin rates cracking above 3,000 rpm at times.