The Yankees have agreed to terms with 20-year-old Dominican righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua, a source confirmed to Baseball America. Dionisio Soldevila, a reporter based in the Dominican Republic, reported that Paniagua signed for $1.1 million.
Paniagua, who had previously been suspended by Major League Baseball for one year due to age and identity fraud, is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with excellent arm speed and a power fastball that sits around 93-95 mph and touches 98. Some scouts said Paniagua has shown feel for a curveball and a changeup that could become above-average offerings in the future, though other scouts weren't quite as sold on his secondary pitches.
Paniagua would not be the first power-armed Dominican to cash in with a significant signing bonus after facing a one-year suspension from MLB. Righthander Carlos Martinez, who originally agreed to terms with the Red Sox in 2009, had that deal fall apart when MLB suspended him for a year. Martinez, 19, signed with the Cardinals last April for $1.5 million, then touched 100 mph this winter during the team's Dominican instructional league. Righthander Jose Rafael DePaula, who has already served a one-year suspension, came forward with a new name and date of birth before agreeing to terms with the Yankees in November for $500,000, though that deal is still contingent upon DePaula acquiring his visa. DePaula turns 20 in two weeks, according to his new paperwork.
Baseball America will try to update the Prospects Blog with more information on Paniagua as it becomes available.
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