The Royals have officially signed Venezuelan shortstop Humberto Arteaga for $1.1 million.
Arteaga, 16, is a 6-foot, 160-pound shortstop from Valencia who has stood out for his abilities in the field. Rene Francisco, the Royals' special assistant to the general manager in charge of international operations, said Arteaga's defense, work ethic, intelligence and feel for the game were among the qualities that caught the organization's attention.
"He's a surehanded shortstop," Francisco said. "(His range is) enough to play shortstop and make the play from the hole. His quickness, his anticipation at shortstop, how to position himself—it's really, really good for his age."
Richard Castro, a Royals scout in Venezuela, has followed Arteaga since he was 13 and scouted him in international tournaments. Castro and Orlando Estevez, the Royals' international supervisor, became close to Arteaga and his family and followed him over the years.
Arteaga began switch-hitting within the last year, though Francisco said he will likely bat exclusively righthanded as a pro. An average runner, Arteaga doesn't project to hit for a lot of power but the Royals believe he will hit.
"It's more of a contact, line-drive type bat," Francisco said. "It's a simple, compact stroke. We think he's going to make a lot of contact."
Arteaga is the sixth confirmed seven-figure bonus this summer since the international signing period opened on July 2, joining Venezuelan righthander Adonis Cardona (Blue Jays), Dominican outfielder Ariel Ovando (Astros), Venezuelan third baseman Renato Nunez (Athletics), Dominican outfielder Phillips Castillo (Mariners) and Venezuelan outfielder Danry Vasquez (Tigers).
Shortstops Esteilon Peguero (Dominican Republic) and Rougned Odor (Venezuela) and Dominican outfielders Eskarlin Vasquez, Vicmal de la Cruz and Wilmer Romero are among the other players who could also be in line for seven-figure deals but remain unsigned. Mexican righthander Luis Heredia should also sign for seven figures, though he can't sign until he turns 16 later this month.
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