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.
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