Esteilon Peguero, one of the top prospects in the Dominican Republic, has agreed to terms with the Mariners for $2.9 million, the highest international amateur signing bonus of 2010.
Peguero, who turned 17 in November, was one of the most advanced hitters in Latin America this year. A righthanded hitter from Bani at around 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Peguero has good bat speed and he has shown well against live pitching. An average runner, Peguero projects to move to another position, possibly second or third base. Baseball America subscribers can read a full scouting report on Peguero here.
Peguero’s signing bonus edged the $2.8 million the Blue Jays gave Venezuelan righthander Adonis Cardona for the top international amateur free agent bonus of 2010. Peguero’s bonus ranks fourth all-time among international amateur free agents behind Athletics righthander Michael Ynoa ($4.25 million, 2008), Twins third baseman Miguel Sano ($3.15 million, 2009) and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez ($3 million 2009), all from the Dominican Republic.
With Peguero and Dominican outfielder Phillips Castillo, who signed for $2.2 million in July, the Mariners have secured two of the top hitters from this year's international signing class and two of the six Latin American players this year who signed for at least $2 million, joining Cardona, Pirates righthander Luis Heredia ($2.6 million, Mexico), Astros outfielder Ariel Ovando ($2.6 million, Dominican Republic) and Athletics third baseman Renato Nunez ($2.2 million, Venezuela).
In addition to being a franchise-record bonus for a player from Latin America, Peguero's bonus is also the fourth-highest in club history behind Dustin Ackley ($6 million, 2009), Ichiro Suzuki ($5 million, 2000) and Jeff Clement ($3.4 million, 2005).
The MVP of the inaugural season of the Dominican Prospect League, Peguero is represented by Morgan Advisory Group and trained with Enrique Soto, whose son, George, is also a Mariners farmhand. Peguero is the latest top Dominican talent signed by Mariners international scouting director Bob Engle and Domincan supervisor Patrick Guerrero, who were also responsible for signing Castillo, righthander Michael Pineda and outfielder Guillermo Pimentel. The Mariners also signed another one of Soto's top players, Jharmidy DeJesus, for $1 million in 2007.
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