Jose Diaz – Right-handed Pitcher
Diaz was a dominating force in the VSL in 2008, and his opportunity to come stateside is of no surprise. He will turn 20-years old just after extended spring training is underway in April, and he will have an opportunity to translate his VSL success to an aggressive assignment. With a fastball that works at 90-91 and touches 93, Diaz can get the ball by hitters when he needs to, and there is some room to add more velocity as he fills out his thin frame. He offers decent secondary stuff that includes a slurvy breaking ball and a change-up that has shown potential. He attacks hitters and throws plenty of strikes, which could allow him to jump as high as West Michigan at some point in 2009.
Robert Diaz – Left-handed Pitcher
Though not related to Jose Diaz, Robert brings his own promise to the table. His fastball is merely average for a lefty, sitting at 86-88 with good command and some movement down in the zone. At 6-foot-2, Diaz gets some nice downward plane on his fastball, that allows it to play up a little and appear harder than it really is. Robert's change-up is a plus pitch with good arm-side movement, and he uses it well against righties. He also offers a big breaking curveball that can be devastating on left-handed hitters. His polish and ability to mix speeds and locations has led to lofty strikeout totals in the DSL, but that may be tough to replicate in the states. He profiles more as a solid bullpen arm long term, unless his velocity spikes.
Clemente Mendoza – Right-handed Pitcher
Mendoza is quite young despite having pitched two seasons in the VSL, and he will make his stateside debut as an 18-year old this summer. Mendoza is a smaller pitcher that has tons of polish and maturity on the mound. He remains composed in tight situations, and mix speeds well to keep hitters off balance. His fastball is merely average, topping out at 91, though his command of the pitch allows it to play up a notch. His curveball and change-up are both solid pitches that he throws for strikes and uses to set up his fastball.
Melvin Mercedes – Right-handed Pitcher
A bigger pitcher at 6-foot-3, Mercedes has an excellent frame that screams projection and added velocity. His heater already sits at 90-92 and can touch 94 with regularity. His long, loose arm action allows him to generate good life on his fastball and it gets on hitters in a hurry. Melvin has shown some ability to spin a curveball, and it has flashed as an above-average pitch at times. He is aggressive on the mound and is rarely willing to back down from hitters. He profiles well in the bullpen with his hard fastball and curveball that could give him a very nice one-two punch.
Jose Ortega – Right-handed Pitcher
Ortega's size (5-11, 160 pounds) doesn't tell the story of his arsenal. An aggressive reliever type, Ortega can pump fastballs at 93-94 and has room to add more as he continues maturing physically. He gets after hitters challenging them to hit his best stuff, and must only learn to locate better to be truly effective in late inning situations. His slider is a solid second pitch, though some refinement and consistency would do him well in the long run. Ortega could move quickly given his arm strength, and it wouldn't be shocking if he saw Oneonta in 2009.
Jose Siso – Left-handed Pitcher
Siso will debut stateside this season as a 20-year old lefty whose concept of pitching is far beyond is age. Armed with an average fastball that can touch 89, Siso backs it up with a curveball that has tight break late in the zone, and can be unhittable at times. His ability to mix pitches and keep hitters off balance with his command and control is promising for someone so young. As his body matures, he may add some velocity, and could become a nice bullpen arm down the line.
The Tigers decided to bring a wealth of pitchers stateside from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic for the 2009 season, and TigsTown looks to fill in the gaps with scouting reports on six of the hurlers making their US debuts!