Franklin Barreto, the top international prospect available for July 2, has signed with the Blue Jays. Here is Barreto’s full scouting report from the Top 20:
1. Franklin Barreto, ss/cf, Venezuela
Ht: 5-9. Wt: 175. B-T: R-R.
There are few amateurs who have ever had Barreto's extensive track record of dominance representing Venezuela during international competitions. Barreto has played in international tournaments since he was 10 in 2006. He was the MVP at the Pan American 12-and-under tournament in September 2008, then later that month led Venezuela to another title by winning the Criollitos de America title en route to being named the 2008 athlete of the year by the Corporacion Criolltos of Venezuela. He won another MVP in July 2010 at the 14-and-under Pan American championship, then last August starred at the 16-and-under World Championship, where he he .515/.568/.978 in 33 at-bats, tied for the tournament lead with three homers (including two against Team USA) and led the tournament with eight steals in eight tries.
Several teams have Barreto as the top player on their boards. A 16-year-old from Miranda, Barreto has two standout tools in his hitting and his speed. Some scouts project Barreto as a future plus hitter. He has quick hands, a short swing, recognizes pitches well and hits the ball to all fields. With his hitting acumen and plus-plus speed, he could become a potential .300 hitter. Barreto is small and is already a strong, physically mature player, so there are questions about projection, but he hits hard line drives and has shown he can hit the ball out of the park in games, with 15-20 homer potential.
Most teams don't think Barreto can stick at shortstop. He has a solid arm for the position, but his footwork and actions aren't ideal for the infield. With his speed, some teams view him as a good fit in center field, while others project him as a second baseman. High-end projections range from Rafael Furcal with less defense to a Shane Victorino type in center field. Barreto trains with Ciro Barrios, whose program last year delivered outfielders Wuilmer Becerra and Jesus Gonzalez and righthander Jesus Tinoco to the Blue Jays. Most sources believe the Blue Jays will sign Barreto, who is expected to sign for close to $2 million.
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