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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette TinCaps first baseman Brad Zunica tags Great Lakes' Gavin Lux out during Thursday night's game at Parkview Field. The start of the game was delayed more than two hours because of rain.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton signs a football for a fan Thursday night at Parkview Field. Colts safety Darius Butler, left, also signed gear and posed for photographs with hundreds of TinCaps fans.

Friday, May 19, 2017 1:00 am

TinCaps adding a starter

Touted Cuban prospect Bolanos joins team to fill out six-man rotation

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

Another highly touted international prospect has been added to the TinCaps' roster, which was already rich in foreign-born talent.

It was announced Thursday that Ronald Bolanos has joined Fort Wayne from extended spring training and is scheduled to pitch Saturday in the third game of the team's series against Great Lakes at Parkview Field.

Bolanos gives the TinCaps a sixth starting pitcher. All season, they have used a six-man rotation, but that group was broken up for the first time when Jesse Scholtens earned a weekend promotion to high-A Lake Elsinore.

Scholtens posted a 2.45 ERA in six outings with low-A Fort Wayne, filling what manager Anthony Contreras described as an “ace role.”

The immediate expectations placed upon Bolanos might not be as lofty, although the right-hander could have superior long-term potential.

The San Diego Padres signed Bolanos out of Cuba in August. The 20-year-old was ranked by MLB.com as the 20th-best international prospect last year. In February 2016, Baseball America rated Bolanos the fourth-best Cuban pitcher available.

A converted outfielder, Bolanos played in 2014 in the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship in Mexico and also played in Cuba's Serie Nacional.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Bolanos was born in Santa Cruz del Norte and signed with the Padres for $2.25 million. TinCaps slugger Jorge Ona, a native of Havana, received a $7 million signing bonus from San Diego.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Bolanos has a fastball that averages around 94 mph and complements it with a curveball, slider and change-up. Baseball America's Ben Badler also offered an encouraging scouting report.

“Bolanos is a good athlete with long arms and a fastball that has improved since he left Cuba last year,” Badler wrote on Baseball America's website. “He has shown a late-breaking slider that flashes above average with good bite at times, though it's still an inconsistent pitch, along with a curveball with three-quarters break.”

Notes: The TinCaps announced fans with tickets to Thursday's game, which didn't begin until 9:27 p.m. because of a rain delay, may exchange those tickets for admission to any future regular-season game at Parkview Field. … Fort Wayne's Hansel Rodriguez (6.28 ERA) is scheduled to pitch tonight's game against fellow right-hander William Soto (3.60).

cgoff@jg.net