Projected Top 25 Scouting Reports
The players below from Latin America are ranked based on their expected signing bonuses, not their projected talent. In fact, that is important enough that it bears repeating: The rankings are not an attempt to gauge the talent, but a way to forecast the market.
The top five players appear to be pretty well set, while players in the No. 10 to 20 range are all fairly interchangeable in terms of what they are expected to receive.
|Sano is an unusual talent, as many international scouting directors say they have never seen a 16-year-old player who is built like Sano or who can hit like him. Sano, who is from San Pedro de Macoris, has an athletic, projectable body with broad shoulders and a strong lower half. He stands out at the plate with a righthanded stroke that he's able to repeat in games, showing good bat speed and the ability to hit for power to all fields. Some scouts have said he's better in batting practice than in games, while others say he's dominated against live pitching. He can get caught out front against good breaking balls, but he doesn't have a long swing and scouts have seen him drive offspeed pitches for home runs. Sano's current position is shortstop, but scouts are nearly universal that he'll end up at either third base or in right field eventually. Sano has shown above-average speed in the 60-yard dash for some teams, but his range is already questionable at shortstop and he's expected to slow down as he adds another 20 to 30 pounds to his frame. Though he doesn't have a particularly quick release, Sano's arm is a 65 or a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Scouts expect Sano to sign with a team that doesn't typically sign players for big money in Latin America, with the Pirates believed to be the leaders.
|Mateo has participated in MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program in Santo Domingo, traveling to the U.S. the past two years for the junior boys' tournament, where he also pitched. He's now set to be one of the richest prospects in Latin America on July 2. Mateo is listed at 6-foot-2, though scouts say he's about an inch or so shorter. Mateo's swing generates power to all fields, as he's hit opposite-field home runs while showing for some teams in game situations. Scouts say Mateo has a solid approach at the plate for a 16-year-old, showing a short swing from the left side. Some scouts say his swing is more geared toward line drives with occasional power, though his raw power is evident in BP. Mateo doesn't have elite athleticism and his body is already relatively mature. He's run average to solid-average times in the 60-yard dash for some teams, but his lower half is already thick and some scouts say he's a below-average runner from home to first base. He projects at best as a future 40 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, and nearly every scout contacted believes his future is in left field. His bat should carry him to the big leagues, though some scouts aren't convinced that his bat will be enough to carry him in left field. Expect the Cardinals to sign Mateo on July 2 for $3.1 million, which would be a franchise record signing bonus.
|The top catching prospect available for July 2, Sanchez flashes plus tools on offense and defense, though he still has plenty of work to do to refine those tools. Swinging from an open stance, Sanchez shows plus power and gets good extension with his swing, which leads to impressive batting practice displays. Some scouts see a disconnect between what Sanchez does in BP compared to what he does against live pitching, but he has good bat speed and power. He has plus arm strength and a quick release, which is why scouts have recorded his pop times at 1.8 seconds. Some scouts say Sanchez is a good athlete for a catcher (he's an average to solid-average runner right now, though he'll be below-average as he fills out), but some scouts have concerns about Sanchez's body and say he will have to stay on top of his conditioning. Sanchez has some of the tools to be a good defensive catcher, but at 16 he's still not a lock to stick behind the plate, as his receiving skills and footwork still need to catch up. Sanchez has long been linked to the Yankees, who are expected to sign him for approximately $3 million on July 2.
|Pimentel's situation has been one of the most unusual leading up to July 2. In March, Pimentel appeared to be headed to Seattle, but two months later, nearly every international source contacted said Pimentel would sign with the Rangers for $2 million. Now it appears that Pimentel is going to sign with the Mariners for approximately $2 million. Scouts who have seen Pimentel have generally liked what they have seen, though many teams have committed their scouting resources elsewhere given Pimentel's early ties to Seattle and then Texas. At the plate, Pimentel has a short swing, an advanced approach and plus power that some scouts say could be 70 power down the road. He'll still get fooled at times at the plate, but his pitch recognition and ability to adjust to offspeed pitches are advanced for a 16-year-old. Pimentel has showcased for teams as a center fielder, but he is expected to move to left field. He's not a great runner and projects to get slower as he fills out. His range in the field is limited and his arm is a 40 or a 45 on the 20-80 scale.
|Sano is technically the No. 1 shortstop prospect this year, but Vinicio is the top prospect who projects to stay at shortstop in pro ball. Scouts say Sano and Vinicio are two of the best athletes in Latin America, and while Vinicio lacks Sano's power stroke, he has very good bat speed and has shown the ability to drive the ball with some authority. Vinicio has a skinny, projectable frame, and scouts say the switch-hitter is better from the right side of the plate. In the field, Vinicio separates himself from his peers with good speed, range, arm strength and instincts. Vinicio is expected to sign with the Red Sox for $2 million when he turns 16 on July 10.
|Sardinas, who hails from Puerto Ordan, has a classic wiry shortstop frame. He should stay at shortstop, as scouts across the board say he has very good hands and good range, while some scouts have seen him throw better than others. Sardinas came to the United States in mid-June for the Perfect Game National Showcase at the Metrodome in Minnesota, where he ran a 6.83 in the 60-yard dash there, but some scouts say they have seen him run 6.6 and 6.7. Some scouts say Sardinas struggled with the bat earlier this year, but those who have seen him recently have said he's hit well in front of them in game situations, to the point where he's the uncommon high-profile Latin American prospect who looks better in games than he does in BP. The latest buzz from Latin America is that the Rangers are expected to land Sardinas, possibly for a seven-figure bonus.
is from the Corn Islands, a Nicaraguan territory about 45 miles east of
the coast, and is the best prospect this year from Nicaragua.
Cuthbert's bat and power are his carrying tools, as he has good bat
speed and present strength. Scouts say that Cuthbert's swing tends to
get a little long at times and is a little unorthodox. One scout said
Cuthbert has a habit of barring his arm in his swing, but he shows good power to the
opposite field. Cuthbert is a below-average runner but moves around
relatively well at third base and has a solid-average arm. The Pirates
showed interest in Cuthbert, but the Royals have long been believed to
be the leader to sign him, to the point where several teams backed off
scouting Cuthbert early on. Cuthbert is expected to sign with the
Royals, with project bonus numbers ranging from $1 million to $1.5
million. A seven-figure bonus would a record for Nicaraguan player.
|Urbina has major league bloodlines, as he's the son of former major league reliever Ugueth Urbina, who is currently serving a 14-year jail sentence that began in 2007 for a 2005 incident in which he attacked five workers on his farm with a machete and poured gasoline on them. Juan Urbina pitches like the son of a former big league pitcher, as he shows advanced feel for pitching and the ability to throw strikes frequently. Urbina's fastball sits at 88-89 mph and reaches 91 mph. With his loose arm, smooth delivery, clean followthrough and projectable, slender frame, Urbina should have at least a plus fastball in the future. His curveball is also advanced for his age and could be another future plus pitch. Urbina is expected to sign with the Mets, with projected bonus numbers rising from $700,000 to more recent estimates from scouts at $1.2 to $1.3 million.
|Sanchez impressed scouts with his velocity at a workout in Venezuela earlier in the spring, then pitched at 91-92 mph and touched 93 at the Perfect Game National Showcase in June at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. While Sanchez throws hard, scouts still have their reservations and aren't convinced he'll add much more velocity in the future. Scouts have called Sanchez's 77-80 mph breaking ball as both a curveball and a slider, with many expecting him to throw a slider as a pro. His mechanics and feel for pitching is advanced, though at times he throws with some effort in his delivery. Sanchez's brother-in-law, Freddy Torres, is Milwaukee's Venezuelan scout and married Sanchez's sister a few years ago. The Brewers are believed to have interest in Sanchez, though he appears to be out of their price range. It's unclear which teams will be competing for Sanchez, but the Yankees are among the teams that might make a play.
|Pena helped his cause at a May workout in front of a plethora of scouts by homering in a game off of Canadian lefthander Jake Eliopoulos, the Blue Jays' second-round pick last month. He has some strength and flashes good raw power for a 16-year-old at other workouts, though some scouts say he still looks raw and lacks fluidity. He has to be more consistent with the rhythm and balance in his swing, as he has a tendency to pull off the ball and has trouble against the outside pitch. Pena doesn't have the same type of athleticism as Sano, Vinicio or fellow Dominican outfielder Luis Jolly, but he's shown about average speed for some teams with a plus arm and a projectable body. Pena has drawn interest from a few teams, including the Padres.
started to gain more notice as July 2 approached by showing remarkable
arm strength for a 16-year-old lefty with a fastball that sits at 90-91
mph and has touched 93-94 mph. Ferreira has a projectable body and does
it pretty easily with a loose arm, which means he could be throwing in
the mid-90s in time. Aside from Ferreira's arm strength, scouts say
he's not particularly athletic and the rest of his game is extremely
raw. His changeup is a decent pitch, but his breaking ball is in its
nascent stages (some scouts think he'll eventually throw a slider) and
his control is below-average. The Braves have drafted and signed plenty
of lefthanders in recent years and are believed to have interest in
Ferreira, while some think the Yankees might also make a push.
|Many teams didn't get a look at Ogando until this spring, but when they did see him they watched one of the most physical pitchers in Latin America this year. Ogando has a power frame and a power arm, pumping fastballs that can get up to the low-90s. He's reportedly thrown even harder, though his velocity has been inconsistent leading up to July 2. Arm strength and a projectable body are Ogando's best attributes, as his curveball is below-average and he struggles to repeat his arm slot when throwing the pitch. Scouts say Ogando's delivery is also a little bit stiff. The Giants, Cubs and Dodgers are believed to have interest in signing Ogando.
Gary Sanchez is the top catching prospect in Latin America, but Beltre
is another catcher generating some interest for his bat. Power is
Beltre's best tool, as he already has imposing size and the ability to
hit for power to all fields. With Beltre's size and lack of looseness
and agility, many scouts think Beltre will move to first base, though
he does have some arm strength. He hasn't been playing catcher for long
after converting to the position within the last year from third base.
With the Giants missing out on Mateo, some believe they will turn their
attention to Beltre, who has also reportedly drawn interest from the
Brewers and the Cubs.
|Payano, who is from San Juan, has a projectable body at around 6-foot-4, 180 pounds. He's not among the hardest-throwing prospects in Latin America—his fastball ranges from 85-88 mph with good life—but he has a loose arm and could have a plus fastball as his frame fills out and he possibly grows another inch. Scouts differ on whether Payano throws a curveball or a slider, and while his breaking ball has some promise, it tends to get slurvy. He'll also throw a changeup, though like most 16-year-olds his bread and butter is his fastball. The Red Sox are expected to sign Payano for $900,000 on July 2.
|Profar emerged on the national scene as the 11-year-old star of the 2004 Little League World Series champion team from Curacao. Profar led Curacao to victory with six shutout innings in a 4-0 victory over Mexico in the international championship game, allowing just one hit with 12 walks and five walks. He followed that up by going 2-for-3 with a home run in Curacao's 5-2 victory against California in the LLWS championship game. The next year, Profar again led Curacao to the LLWS championship game by pitching six shutout innings with 12 strikeouts in a 2-0 victory over Japan in the international championship game, though his team lost 7-6 in the LLWS championship game. Now 16, Profar's fastball ranges from 88-92 mph with a curveball that rates as a 55 on the 20-80 scale and should be a future plus pitch, though some scouts are concerned about his durability. While most scouts think his future is on the mound, Profar reportedly strongly has a strong preference to play shortstop. The Rangers are believed to be the frontrunner to sign Profar for a bonus of around $800,000, though it's unclear whether he will begin his career as a shortstop or as a pitcher.
|Jolly was a name international scouts were mentioning last year as one of the potential top prospects for 2009, but his hitting hasn't progressed to the level of the elite prospects this year. Jolly should still pull in a considerable bonus this year thanks to his projectable body and athleticism. Jolly's best tool is his speed, as he's run the 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds. His speed is good enough for center field, though his arm strength is below-average and he doesn't have an explosive first step. It's not clear where Jolly will sign.
is one of the more advanced pitchers available, gaining
scouts' attention at a January workout in which prized Dominican
shortstop Miguel Sano also participated. His fastball sits at 88-89 mph
and has touched 91 for some teams. His mechanics and feel for pitching
are both advanced for a 16-year-old, with a loose arm and a
projectable body. Jiminian shows feel to spin a curveball and will also
mix in an occasional sinker. The Rockies and Padres are among the teams
believed to have strong interest in Jiminian, who should be looking at
a high six-figure bonus.
| The wiry Aybar is an aggressive hitter, swinging with a high leg kick to generate above-average raw power. He's a free swinger who scouts say will have to tone down his approach as he moves up the ladder. Some scouts like his aggressive approach, but his all-out swing gets him caught out front against breaking balls. Aybar is an above-average runner, with scouts timing him anywhere from 6.7 to 6.9 seconds in the 60-yard dash, though he's expected to lose speed as he adds muscle to his frame. Aybar has some athleticism, though scouts say his throwing motion is unusual and his defense is erratic, which could lead to him moving to center field, though there's a chance he could also handle third base. It's not clear with whom Aybar will sign.
|Herrera, who hails from Santo Domingo, trains at Edgar Mercedes' Born To Play Baseball Academy, along with outfielder Wagner Mateo and Victor Payano. The main draw for Herrera is his projectable power, which should continue to develop as he fills out his frame. Herrera has shown well for some teams, though some scouts aren't sure his swing will be conducive to hitting for average. Because of his size, below-average speed and throwing mechanics, Herrera will probably move to third base or more likely to right field. He throws from an unusually low arm slot for an infielder, which causes him to push the ball and costs him carry on his throws. Scouts say the Rockies and Dodgers are among the teams with interest in Herrera, whose bonus could push the high six figures.
|Perdomo has touched 91 mph with his fastball, though scouts say his velocity
has been inconsistent, ranging from 85-89 mph but with some sink. As he
fills out his monster frame, his fastball should be a
plus pitch in the future, and he'll mix in a curveball and a changeup as
well. His curveball is a work in progress, but he shows occasional feel
for the pitch. Given his long, lanky limbs, Perdomo has relatively
solid mechanics and a loose arm, working down in the zone with good
downhill plane. Perdomo is expected to sign with the Rangers, likely
for a bonus of $700,000-$800,000.
|Solano has a strong, stocky body, and his swing and power have most intrigued scouts. He handles the bat well, using his strength to put on a good show in BP. In games, Solando has a tendency to bail out against breaking balls. Scouts point to his wide hips and thick lower half and predict that he'll move to third base, where his defense could be adequate, making the routine plays with a 45 arm on the 20-80 scouting scale. The latest word out of Venezuela is that Oakland is interested in Solano, with a possible bonus of around $750,000.
|Nesi has a quick stroke and the ball jumps off his bat with impressive power. Scouts say he handles the bat well in BP and carries that swing into games as well. They have reservations about Nesi's already thick body and defense, with some predicting a move to first base. His arm is below-average to average, and his arm action is a little unorthodox. His receiving skills also need work, but his power bat is his calling card. The Blue Jays have been linked to Nesi for months for $750,000.
|Polanco is an aggressive switch-hitter, with most scouts saying he's better from the left side. His power is below-average, and he likely will max out at average power at best. Polanco stands out in the field, however. He's an average to above-average runner, and he shows the range, hands and arm to stay at shortstop. His tools are solid but not outstanding, and some scouts have said he's the type of player who looks better the more they see him. Polanco had some interest from the Yankees, but the buzz in the Dominican Republic is that the Twins will likely sign Polanco for at least $700,000 when he turns 16 on July 5.
| Kelly, who is from Santiago, isn't the toolsiest shortstop in Latin America, but he has a skill set that has attracted the interest of several scouts. The switch-hitter has a short swing, showing more power from the right side and a line-drive swing lefthanded, though scouts disagree about which is his better side. Kelly has good rhythm and balance in his swing, though he tends to bail out against breaking balls and his power is below-average. His arm as average to above-average, though his accuracy needs work. He's not a great runner and some scouts think he will get heavy in his lower half, but he has the range to make the average plays. He might end up at another position such as second base. The Mets have been tenuously linked to Kelly, who could land a mid six-figure bonus, though some think he might wait until after July 2 to sign.
|Valor's tools aren't outstanding, but scouts see him as a solid all-around player with a good feel for the game. He doesn't have great power, but he has a balanced swing with good bat control and has shown the ability to hit in games. Valor has very good hands and actions at shortstop, though he's just an average runner. Scouts disagree about his arm, though most say it's near average with above-average accuracy. The Braves were linked to Valor early in the year and the Reds have dealt frequently with his trainer, and the Tigers have also been mentioned recently as potential suitors.