Manolo Reyes has a 99-mph fastball and a $600,000 contract with the Yankees, though the Dominican righthander still has a few hurdles to clear before that deal is complete.
The Yankees recently agreed to sign the 22-year-old Reyes, but his contract is still contingent upon him passing MLB's investigation into his age and identity, along with his ability to secure a visa from the U.S. Consulate. Given Reyes' history, the approval process may take some time to sort out.
Reyes originally signed with the Braves on May 19, 2009 when he was 19. That summer, Reyes pitched in the Dominican Summer League on a pending contract (which is no longer allowed under current rules). Reyes made six appearances for the Braves, allowing 15 runs (11 earned) in 9 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and 13 walks. However, MLB ended up terminating Reyes' contract and suspending him for one year due to issues with his paperwork.
By the story that Reyes has presented to MLB, he is one of 14 brothers and he was declared late. His father, who is of Haitian descent, passed away in 1996, and while Reyes' original birth certificate said he was born to a midwife, an MLB investigation revealed he was born in a hospital. Reyes is still using the same identity and the same Nov. 19, 1989 date of birth that he used to sign with the Braves, and he has since provided more paperwork to MLB to support his claim that he is 22.
While he was suspended, Reyes joined Alfredo Arias and Gary Goodman of the Arias and Goodman academy, the prominent Dominican program that has also worked with players such as righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua, Mariners outfielder Phillips Castillo and Astros outfielder Ariel Ovando, among others, and Reyes' story has some parallels to Paniagua's.
During that time, Reyes' fastball climbed to the mid-90s and has touched 99 mph, along with a hard breaking ball and a hard splitter, though his control remains erratic. If Reyes can get cleared through MLB and acquire a visa, the Yankees will have added an intriguing power arm to their system without his bonus counting against their 2012-2013 international signing bonus pool, since the new rules on international spending don't begin until July 2.
They just may have to wait a while to find out.
Mississippi Braves RHP David Hale followed arguably his worst start of the season, in which he gave up six earned runs on seven walks in three and two-thirds innings, with his best on Wednesday. Hale gave the last-place Braves a 1-0 win over Huntsville by throwing seven and two-thirds scoreless innings while striking out a season-high 11 and allowing one walk.
Hale's role has been inconsistent throughout his career and this season his performance has followed suit. The Princeton product's minor league career began in 2010 with a 7.99 ERA in six starts for low Class A Rome and was moved to the bullpen and flourished. After a promotion to high Class A Lynchburg to begin 2011, Hale struggled in the bullpen and moved back to the rotation to have success in the role he struggled in a year prior.
The Braves moved Hale to Double-A Mississippi to begin 2012 and although his role has been consistent, his performance has been anything but. Hale has had three starts this season in which he allowed six or more runs. After each disastrous outing, Hale has allowed one earned run or less in his next start.
On the season, the 6-foot-2 Hale has a 4-3 record and a 4.36 ERA. Hale has struggled with his command and has walked close to five hitters per nine innings. He has struck out over six hitters per nine innings with a 92-94 mph fastball and above-average mid-80s slider.
Here we present official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the two-week period May 24-June 4.
Players listed with an asterisk (*) signed a minor league contract with the organization after being removed from the 40-man roster and clearing waivers.
Signed: RHP Bobby O'Neill (released by Marlins)
Released: LHP Jason Lane, 3B Michael Weber
Recalled: OF A.J. Pollock
Optioned to Triple-A: C Konrad Schmidt, OF A.J. Pollock
Placed on 7-day DL: LHP Jason Lane, 3B Kyle Greene
Reinstated from DL: RHP Chris Jakubauskas, RHP Anthony Meo, LHP Jason Lane
In his first crack at pitching full time, Jason Lane put up a 7.59 ERA and 1.83 WHIP over 15 relief appearances with Triple-A Reno, but the 35-year-old notched a firm strikeout rate (7.9 per nine innings) and probably could latch on with another organization as a pitcher if he so desires. (One significant mark against the lefty: he allowed lefty batters to hit .447 and slug .658 against him this season in 46 showdowns.) Or Lane could resume hitting for a living—he put up an .818 OPS for Las Vegas as a corner outfielder a season ago.
Signed: OF Collin DeLome (Bridgeport (Atlantic))
Released: RHP Gardner Adams, 1B Jakob Dalfonso
Acquired: 2B Ruben Gotay from Blue Jays for cash considerations
Recalled: OF Jose Constanza
Added to 40-man roster: C J.C. Boscan, SS Andrelton Simmons
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Kris Medlen, SS Tyler Pastornicky
Placed on 7-day DL: OF Matt Lipka
Reinstated from DL: OF David Rohm
In the midst of a career season in Double-A, slick-fielding 22-year-old shortstop Andrelton Simmons received the call to Atlanta after batting .292/.372/.421 with three homers (a career high) and a 20-to-20 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 171 at-bats for Mississippi. [...] Continue Reading »
The commissioner's office announced two drug-related suspensions this week, one to a player in extended spring training and another to a retired player.
Phillies minor league righthander Carlos Best received a 25-game suspension with no violating substance cited in the Major League Baseball press release. A converted position player, Best has not pitched this season, and he appeared in just four games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last season. The 21-year-old allowed six runs and 11 baserunners in 7 2/3 innings, striking out six. Philadelphia signed Best out of the Dominican Republic in June 2008.
Should he return to active duty, former Indians minor league righty Clayton Ehlert must serve a 50-game suspension that he earned after twice testing positive for a "drug of abuse." The 24-year-old made two relief appearances for high Class A Carolina this season prior to his voluntarily retirement. Ehlert signed with Cleveland as a nondrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in June 2010.
Stetson Allie, the Pirates' second-round pick in 2010, is being converted to a position player, former Baseball America correspondent Dejan Kovacevic reported in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today.
The move is a stunning one, as Allie was one of the most significant signings of the 2010 draft–his $2.2 million signing bonus was the ninth-highest in that draft. Now after just 27 pro innings, Allie is becoming a hitter. He was a legitimate two-way prospect coming out of high school, but he was a significantly better prospect as a pitcher. He was considered a top 100 prospect as a hitter; a first-round talent as a pitcher. [...] Continue Reading »
Opening Day for the Dominican Summer League comes with little fanfare, but for many players throughout Latin America over the last two decades, it's the league where most of them began their careers.
The DSL season started yesterday, giving us our first look at some of last year's top international signings as well as some intriguing names repeating the league, including Rockies righthander Joel Payamps, a 2010 signing out of the Dominican Republic who stood out (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO) and throws plenty of strikes with his low-90s fastball. Payamps, 18, was one of the Top 20 prospects among the Latin American summer leagues last year, but the Rockies like to keep even their best pitchers in the DSL an extra year to give them more development time (for both physical and skill reasons) before they hit the United States. Their track record is hard to argue with, and it looks like the Rockies may have another quality young Latin American arm ready to come through the system.
Manuel Margot, 17, was one of Boston's big-ticket international signings last year ($800,000 out of the Dominican Republic) and earned great reviews for his athleticism and defense in center field. Yesterday though he stole the show at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and a triple while driving in six runs. Dominican 17-year-old shortstop Raymel Flores, Boston's most expensive international signing last year, also played well (2-for-4 with a double and a walk), but many scouts think Margot has more offensive upside.
Rafael DePaula, rhp, Yankees (3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO): After a suspension, a new birth certificate and a long wait to get his visa and contract approval, DePaula finally made his pro debut yesterday for the Yankees. With his new listed age of 21, he should be dominating this level and move quickly.
Luis Acosta, ss, Cubs (3-for-5, 1 R, 3 2B, 4 RBIs, 1 SO): The Cubs paid $1.1 million to sign Acosta last year on July 2 because of his offensive potential. His days at shortstop (and probably the infield in general) will probably be short-lived, but the 17-year-old makes plenty of loud contact when he puts the barrel to the baseball.
Arjenis Fernandez, rhp, Angels (4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO): Fernandez, 18, was a bit wild (he also hit a batter) but still effective. With a big, durable body (6-foot-4, 200 pounds), a fastball that touches the mid-90s and feel for his offspeed stuff, he's one of the more exciting young Latin American arms the Angels have in their system.
Franchy Cordero, ss, Padres (3-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB): Cordero's trainer, Antonio Arias, had showcased him as a third baseman, but the Padres signed him last year for $175,000 and put him at shortstop. He did make an error in his first game, but he stands out at the plate for his lefthanded bat speed and advanced approach to hitting for a 17-year-old.
Major League Baseball has declared 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler a free agent, however teams still cannot officially enter into an agreement with him, according to major league sources.
Soler's agent, Bart Hernandez of the Praver Shapiro Sports Management group, still must produce an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or two permanent residency documents from a new country before any deal can be consummated. However, typically when MLB sends out a memo declaring a Cuban player a free agent, full clearance usually isn't far away, at least among recent notable Cuban defectors.
Once that happens, Soler will almost certainly sign before July 2, since the new $2.9 million international bonus pools kick in on that date and Soler would be subject to the new rules. However, before July 2, there are no spending restrictions on international free agents.
Many teams believe that Soler already has a deal done, which would make most of this process no more than scripted theater, although doing so would be both a violation of MLB rules and U.S. federal law.
Baseball America's full scouting report on Soler is available here for subscribers. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported Soler's free agency.
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