Categorized | Cardinals, Minors, Royals

Seedlings To The Stars: Cleto, Ventura, Starling

Old friend of I-70, Wally Fish (of Kings Of Kauffman fame), has a site known as Seedlings To The Stars. They are currently in the process of counting down their top 100 prospects and we thought our readers might like to drop by there for some insight. Below are I-70 players that are currently profiled. Drop by the site and read up on the future of your favorite franchise.

Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, Maikel Cleto
Nathan Stoltz of Seedlings To The Stars says:

Nobody in the major leagues in 2011 threw harder than Maikel Cleto, a 22-year-old righthanded minor league starter who made three relief apperances with St. Louis. Cleto, who saw time at three minor league levels and ranked as my #85 prospect on my postseason top 100, allowed five runs in his first inning of work in the big leagues before allowing just one over his next 3 1/3. Overall, he struck out six, walked four, and allowed two home runs in 4 1/3.

Cleto worked at 96-101 mph out of the big league bullpen, averaging a whopping 98.4 mph with his fastball–0.4 mph above Henry Rodriguez‘s second-place 98.0. As if that weren’t impressive enough, he also gets good life on the pitch, as it has some two-seam action on it even at its highest velocities.

Of course, Cleto likely wouldn’t be throwing 101 mph this regularly in the rotation, but it’s safe to assume that he’d sit in the 95-96 range even then–most pitchers pick up 1-3 mph moving from starting to relief, leaving 93-98 as Cleto’s “worst” case scenario.

The question with Cleto has always been how his command will be. He made it through High-A and Double-A with surprisingly low walk rates, but then walked 43 batters in 71 1/3 innings in Triple-A, something which will need to be tightened if he’s going to remain in the starting rotation long-term.

Read the full scouting report on Cleto by clicking here.

Top 100 Prospects, #57: Yordano Ventura, Royals
Nathan Stoltz of Seedlings To The Stars says:

Ventura earns some Pedro Martinez comparisons as a classic “small guy, huge arm” righthander out of the Dominican Republic. He generates velocity into the mid-90′s despite being generously listed at 5’11″ 180 (I’d guess it’s more like 5’10″ 155).

The most striking thing about Ventura’s full-season debut in 2011 was that he wasn’t just an erratic, Fabio Martinez Mesa style fireballer. He put up a 3.67 K/BB ratio, filling the zone with strikes thanks to a repeatable motion.

Ventura just turned 20 in June, so he’s quite young, and it’s certainly encouraging that he already shows velocity and control. His secondary pitches–a curveball and changeup–flash plus at times, and if they develop further he could become a front-of-the-rotation arm.

Read the rest of Ventura’s profile by clicking here.

Top 100 Prospects, #52: Bubba Starling, Royals
Nathan Stoltz of Seedlings To The Stars says:

Starling, the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft, signed too late to play, but scouts love his potential. The first position player selected in the draft, he has explosive athleticism that gives him plus power potential and good defense in center field.

The Royals thought enough of the high school football star to give him $7.5 million to keep him away from the college gridiron.

While Starling is still quite raw, that’s understandable, since he spent so much time on football in high school. He needs to do a better job incorporating his lower half into his swing, but if he makes that adjustment, he’ll have even more power than he already does; it’s a testament to his current strength that he can clear fences with his current swing mechanics.

Read the rest of Starling’s profile by clicking here.

If prospects are what you are looking for and you want the most in-depth analysis available, all of us here at I-70 would suggest you drop by Seedlings To The Stars often. I know it is sitting at the top of my bookmarks currently.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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