Ventura's talent too hard to hide in DR

Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals
Hometown: Samaná, Dominican Republic

Ventura and reliever Kelvin Herrera are the team's only representatives from the Dominican Republic. 

The right-handed flame-thrower inked a contract with Kansas City in 2008, when former Royals scout Pedro Silverio spotted Ventura's hidden talent.

At the time of the signing, Ventura, 17, weighed 128 pounds and tossed his fastball in the mid-80s. This profile only garnered Ventura a $28,000 signing bonus, a paltry sum compared to the exorbitant rate that top international free agents sign for.

Two years later, he was in the United States, possessed a fastball in the mid-90s and weighed closer to 180 pounds.

Rene Francisco, the Royals' assistant general manger in charge of international operations, addressed Ventura's increase in speed.

"I think most kids in the Dominican increase velocity. Is it 10 or 12 mph? No, but most of them increase some velocity when they're young," Francisco said.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.