4 Dominicans on Baseball America’s HOT sheet

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No. 3 YORDANO VENTURA, RHP

ROYALS

Team: Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: 0-1, 0.71, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 12 SO
The Scoop: Though still a long shot to make it to the majors this season, Ventura has handled his jump to Double-A and has at least even odds of reaching Kansas City before Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer or John Lamb. Such a scenario would have seemed impossible two years ago when Ventura was dominating the Arizona League while that trio was pitching in Double-A. But Lamb has been slowed by an ankle injury that has kept him from officially taking the mound since his Tommy John surgery; Montgomery’s season just keeps getting worse since his demotion to Double-A; and Dwyer has struggled in Triple-A. All the while Ventura keeps piling up strikeouts and proving to be hard to square up. His size will continue to give scouts causes for concern, but with a fastball that touches 100 mph and improving secondary stuff, Ventura is the Royals starting pitcher who has taken big steps forward this year.

Yordano Ventura Player Card

 

No. 4 LUIS JIMENEZ, 3B

ANGELS

Team: Triple-A Salt Lake (Pacific Coast)
Age: 24
Why He’s Here: .591/.625/1.136 (13-for-22), 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 R, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1-for-2 SB
The Scoop: Since coming back from labrum surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season, Jimenez has climbed from low Class A to Triple-A. He’s destroyed southpaws to a tune of .340/.377/.610 this season, and has done most of his damage at home for Salt Lake, where he sports a 1.023 OPS. In six home games this past week, Jimenez had three multi-hit games, including seven hits in his last eight at-bats with three extra-base hits. While he’s quite the free swinger, he barrels up different pitch types and has taken baby steps in improving his plate discipline this season after not drawing a walk in April. Jimenez could serve as a bridge in Anaheim, holding down third base until 2010 first-rounder Kaleb Cowart is ready.

Luis Jimenez Player Card

 

No. 5 DOMINGO TAPIA, RHP

METS

Team: low Class A Savannah (South Atlantic)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: 1-0, 0.00, 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 8 SO, 2 BB, 1 HBP
The Scoop: A six-man rotation configuration has agreed with young Sand Gnats pitchers such as Michael Fulmer and Rafael Montero, but perhaps none has shined brighter than Tapia, who turned in his finest start of the season on Sunday. He struck out eight Rome batters in seven innings while allowing a run on one hit and two walks. Tapia’s peripheral rates all have moved in the right direction this season—he’s striking out batters more frequently (7.6 per nine innings), he’s held his walk rate in check (2.6) and he hasn’t allowed a home run in 14 starts thanks to a devastating power sinker/changeup combination.

Domingo Tapia Player Card

 

No. 7 ARIEL PENA, RHP

ANGELS

Team: Double-A Arkansas (Texas)
Age: 23
Why He’s Here: 1-0. 0.00, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO
The Scoop: If you watched the Futures Game, you may be surprised to see Pena here, but to his credit the power righty hasn’t let the disastrous outing (eight runs, seven hits in a third of an inning) affect his regular season. Even during his Futures Game drubbing, Pena showed power stuff—even if U.S. hitters kept turning his fastballs into line drives. He’s been a reliable cog in the Arkansas rotation this season, having not allowed more than five runs in any outing and pairing with Johnny Hellweg and A.J. Schugel to give the Travelers a tough top three.

Ariel Pena Player Card

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